Saturday, January 16, 2016

My Favorite Albums of 2015

Happy 2016, friends! I hope the new year has been good to you so far! Well, even though this is a little late, I thought I would go ahead and blog about a few albums that were my favorite throughout 2015. I know it’s been pretty quiet on my blog for some time now but if there’s anything I can certainly blab on and on about, it’s music lol. So I hope you enjoy reading and maybe even discover a band or two. Also, let me know what your favorite albums and artists were in 2015 or what album you’re looking forward to 2016.

Vitals by MUTEMATH




















The only downside to being a MUTEMATH fan is waiting 4 or 5 years between albums lol… but it’s without a doubt, always worth the wait. I’m always on the edge of my seat to see what these guys are going to do next. They never fail to make innovative and creative music with their signature experimental sound. Vitals, their 4th album, released in November, and did not disappoint. It’s definitely more synth heavy and poppy than their last album, Odd Soul, which had a classic rock vibe to it. But it’s sill the MUTEMATH we all know and love… just a little dancier this time around and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Vitals will definitely keep you dancing throughout 2016.

Some of my favorites are: Best of Intentions, Monument, Used To, and Joy Rides.

Side note: My sister, the lucky duck that she is, got to see them in concert last year and said it was the best concert she’s ever been to. No surprise there, as these guys are known for their killer live shows. Hoping to finally find that out for myself in the near future. They're actually going to be at the House of Blues in Houston next month. Sadly, I have no one to go with... ahem, any takers? ;) They might be the only band I’ve been a fan of for over a decade and still have not seen live. And that simply has to change.

The Wonderlands EPs by Jon Foreman













Can I just start out by saying how beautiful this box set is? It’s all four EPs and 4 post cards in a beautiful wooden box. My sister got me this for my birthday and I was beyond thrilled! Makes a great keepsake for a crazy fan like myself.

The Wonderlands is 4 eps (Sunlight, Shadows, Darkness, & Dawn), based on the 24 hours in a day, 24 amazing producers, that all led up to Jon performing a whopping 25 shows in 24 hours. Quite the impressive project to say the least. Any Jon Foreman fan knows that these EPs had been a long time coming. The last time the Switchfoot frontman released any solo music was in 2008. It was totally worth the wait as this is without a doubt some of Jon’s most profound and heartfelt songwriting. You can just feel that he put all his blood, sweat, and tears into these songs.

He also worked with some top notch producers/artists for this project, such as: Darren King (MUTEMATH), Charlie Peacock, Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek), Ryan O’Neal (Sleeping at Last), and Andrew Wessen (Grouplove)… just to name a few.

I can’t say enough good things about these songs as they already mean so much to me. They are honest, introspective, and worshipful. They capture your heart and take you on a journey from start to finish. They make you think, feel, and consider. They remind of you beauty and truth in a world where it’s so easy to forget.

Some of my favorites are: Mercy’s War, All of God’s Children, Good For Me, and Patron Saint of Rock and Roll.

Majestic Revisited by Kari Jobe




















I started listening to this album on Spotify a few months ago and fell in love with these songs. I would listen to it in the kitchen while I was cooking and baking and just found myself worshiping God as I was stirring batters or chopping vegetables lol. I needed the worship and the presence of God that these songs ushered in.

Majestic Revisited is a remix of Kari’s original Majestic Live album, which was recorded in her hometown of Dallas, TX. One of the reasons I love it is because, since it is a remix album, the music and arrangements are a little more creative and out of the box than most worship albums. Which is always refreshing. Ranging from ethereal and ambient to a little dance pop in sound. But the most important thing is that these songs are truly anointed. I received this album for Christmas and have been having some sweet times of worship to it.

Some of my favorites are: Keeper of My Heart, Breathe on Us, I Am Not Alone, and Always Enough.

Venus by Joy Williams




















I’ve been following Joy’s career since her CCM days when I was only about 16 years old. It’s been really amazing to hear the evolution of her music over the years; the way her writing has changed and the way she has changed. Venus is her first solo album in quite some time and the first since the break up of her duo, The Civil Wars. Joy has been very open and honest about the turmoil she faced that inspired much of this album. Not only had The Civil Wars broken up, but her marriage was falling apart, her dad was battling Cancer, and all the while she was still adjusting to being a new mom. She turned to music to work through these emotions.

The result being a brutally honest album with lots of raw emotion. But also with a sense of hope for a new beginning that you can hear in her voice.

Some of my favorites are: Woman (Oh Mama), Not Good Enough, Until the Levee, and What a Good Woman Does.

Control by Milo Greene




















This California band captured my heart a few years ago with their folk sensibilities and beautiful harmonies. Their sophomore album, Control, marked a new chapter for the band as it was a definite departure from that sound. This move was met with quite a bit of criticism, which is unfortunate because, in my opinion, it’s a truly good album. The quality of the songwriting, the vocals, even some harmonies are still there just set to the back drop of more of an 80’s reminiscent pop sound. There’s even some rock happening here… I mean, the percussion in Parents’ House and the music and vocals in When it’s Done. Yes, Milo can rock!

Look, I love bands that take risks with their sound. Bands that don’t make music just to try and please the masses. Bands that don’t settle for making the same album twice. I really believe that both this album and this band are highly underrated. While I will always love the first album, I’m having a great time dancing along to Control.

Some favorites are: Lonely Eyes, Heartless, Not Enough, and When it’s Done.

Absentee EP by Violents





















Voilents is a project by musician/songwriter, Jeremy Larson, where in which he collaborates with different artists for each EP. For “Absentee”, the second installment in this project, he partnered with Stacy Dupree King (Eisley, Sucre). Jeremy and Stacy also have another project together called Sucre, along with Stacy’s husband, Darren King (MUTEMATH), so I had no doubt that Absentee was going to be good. Stacy is one of my favorite female vocalists, her angelic voice paired with Jeremy’s songwriting/arrangements is such a winning combo. Makes me hungry for the next Sucre album. Side note, if you haven’t yet checked out Sucre please do yourself a favor and go listen here, seriously like right now. Not to be bossy or anything…

This is a short 4 song EP and really all the songs are so good that it’s hard to pick a favorite, but here’s a couple I can’t stop listening to: Northeast, Absentee.

Honorable Mention - Hozier by Hozier




















Okay, so yes, I know that this album released in 2014 but I just couldn’t leave it off the list. This was hands down the album I listened to the most in 2015. I just fell crazy in love with this guy’s soulful, bluesy vocals and songs. It was pretty much always playing in my house throughout the year, not even joking. But that voice… I. just. can’t. even. He’s just one of the most talented artists that I’ve come across in a long time. Anyway, I will stop gushing about this dashing Irishman now before it gets any worse than it already is… I mean, it’s not like I’m fan girling or anything ;). These are some of my favorites: From Eden, Work Song, Jackie and Wilson, and In a Week.

And because I’m a little obsessed and could probably listen to this a million times and never get tired of it, here’s an amazing acoustic performance of another one of my favorites, To Be Alone -

 
 
And a fun fact for those that grew up listening to Christian music like I did and remember the talented Rachael Lampa, well she happens to be one of his backing vocalists. How awesome is that? It's been so fun to see her performing with him on The Grammys and all the late night talk shows. She still has that powerhouse voice.


Album I’m looking forward to the most in 2016 – Switchfoot’s 10th album!!! They are in the writing and recording process right now and from what I hear, planning to release it in the Summer. They are giving updates and blogging about the process over on their website: Switchfoot.com! Can’t wait to see what these are going to do next!

And before I wrap this up, a few photos of my Christmas season!























     
Our living room all decked out for Christmas!
 






























My dad’s White Chocolate Raspberry Cake, it’s not Christmas to me without this cake! Our table set for Christmas dinner, a cozy corner in our living room, and ornaments on our tree!













Our New Years Eve spread, Gouda Cheese Fondue with herb crostini's, tamales (not pictured), sparkling grape juice, and some Chocolate Espresso Pots De Crème for dessert!

Wishing y’all grace and peace in this new year!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Current Favorites and a Playlist

Hey lovelies! So this is a post I actually started writing back in August and since I’ve become the worst blogger ever, I forgot to post it lol. But I decided what the hey, might as well post it a couple months late lol. Yep, this is what blogging has come to for me… half finished posts that rarely ever see the light of day. ;) Hope you enjoy reading anyway!

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Watching: Once Upon A Time!  I know I mentioned a couple months ago that I had started watching it on Netflix after my sister recommend it to me. Oh my goodness, I never expected to get this addicted to that show!! Seriously, it’s getting ridiculous, I have been watching like 2 episodes almost every night lol. I have just a few episodes left before I’m all caught up and ready for the premiere of season 5 on September 27th! Eek!!

Listening To: my Summer playlist on Spotify! Yes, I know it’s almost fall, which I’m so looking forward to, but I’m still loving these songs and summery vibe they give!

And this album, always:

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Ah, what can I say? I just can’t deny it, I’m in love with this man… (cough) did I say this man? I meant this album. Yep, I’m all about the music, I swear! ;) No, but really, there is not a bad song on this album, just so so good! And that voice, boy can sang! I mean, anyone who can belt out a song like that has got my full attention. No, I don’t agree with everything he sings about or stands for but I do very much enjoy the art he makes.

I’ve had a love affair with basically every track on this album, where it’s the only song I want to hear for days at a time lol. Currently obsessed with this one:

I can’t explain it, it’s just so… morbid lol but so pretty all at the same time. It feels like a very Irish thing to do, putting devastating lyrics to a very pretty melody. He’s really such a good story teller that you can’t help but find yourself getting caught up in the story. Then suddenly you find yourself crying and thinking, “Why am I listening to this? This is devastating!”… Ahem, not that I would know or anything. Anyway, just listen to it and you’ll know what I mean!

Eating: these yummy grilled peaches with homemade whipped cream and cinnamon!

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I got the idea from one of my favorite vloggers, Rachel Talbot from her  Summer Treats video. This has become one of my favorite mostly healthy treats!

And pretty much always eating these Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans from HEB lol. Chocolate + coffee = my favorite treat in the whole world! Not even kidding! They’re so much better than chocolate covered espresso beans, in my opinion. They have a nice crunch to them but not quite as hard as choc. covered espresso beans. Try them but beware they are somewhat addicting.

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Making: French Macarons!! Yes, finally, after years of Macaron fails and down right disasters, I have now baked my first ever successful batch!!! They even have feet!!! Finally victory is mine (insert evil laugh here)!!!

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These lovelies, which are filled with Strawberry Raspberry Mascarpone Buttercream, were made using the Italian Meringue method. This method may be slightly more involved but yields beautiful consistent results. Let me tell you, I will never go back to the French method, it just never worked for me. The Italian meringue method is way less fussy and delicate. I will definitely be blogging more about this in the future!

For now, I’m really excited to start trying out different flavors and colors! The possibilities are endless!

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Also have been making lots of this cold brewed coffee! It’s my favorite way to drink coffee in the summertime. I love having a couple jars full of coffee concentrate in the fridge for those sweltering summer afternoons when I need a cold drink.

Loving: My workouts! Maybe this should fall into a love/hate category lol. No, on most days I actually do enjoy working out. It’s taken me a long time to get to that place, trust me. But I really love how strong, energetic, and healthy it makes me feel.  I try to workout out 5 to 6 six days a week and change up my routine so I don’t get bored with anything. Mostly I do videos on YouTube and then 3 days a week my cousin Pam and I workout together on Skype! Which has been so fun and motivating! I love that we can still workout together and push each other even when we live a couple hours away!

Thinking About: How much I miss this pink haired girl! A couple photos of my sister Cecily and I when she visited in July! We had so much fun hanging out, talking, baking, watching movies, and taking a trip to Austin! My parents and I are headed over to GA to visit her in December and I can’t wait.

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Wishing: I could’ve gone to the Jon Foreman concert this past Sunday in Houston at Warehouse Live. Can’t even tell you how much it broke my heart to miss that. He recently released two of four EPs from his “Wonderlands” project and they’re amazing!! This song from the “Sunlight” EP has been my favorite: All Of God’s Children. Would love to see these songs performed live at some point! Jon is one of my very favorite songwriters, whether it be with Switchfoot, his solo music, or in Fiction Family. Plus, he’s been a huge role model and inspiration to me. Anyways, I will probably be pouting about this one for a while. :(

Looking forward to: Fall!! I’m so ready for pumpkin spice lattes, fall décor, making glitter pumpkins, watching Coraline while eating pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (for some odd reason it’s become a seasonal tradition for me), leaves falling, Halloween and Thanksgiving, and of course what everyone in TX is dying for right now… cooler weather! Can I get amen? Plus, my birthday is in the fall! Just my favorite season!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Christian Mingle… The True Life Story!

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So I said I would never blog about this. Yet, here I am. I guess as the old adage goes, never say never. Actually that saying also applies to dating sites in general. Yes, I was one of those people that always said I would never join a dating site, never! To me that was something you did if you were like 50 and totally desperate. Rather judgey, I know. But it’s okay, because in the end, I had to eat crow.

I joined a dating site for the first time back in 2009, before I ever found out about Christian Mingle. It all started with that flyer… that darn flyer.

In April of 2009 my parents, my sister Cecily, my cousin Pam, and I took a trip to Dallas to attend a concert called The Rock & Worship Roadshow. It was a huge concert with a bunch of different bands held at the American Airlines Center. As we were waiting in line before the show someone came around passing out flyers for a new Christian dating site called, JC Match. Yes, as in Jesus Christ Match, hence the “JC”. (Which gives me a total 90’s Christian kid flashback, by the way… ya know, “who’s in the house?, JC!”. Anyone?? Okay, obscure reference to Carmen thrown in there for no extra charge. Anyway, moving on.)

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(Yep, I saved this! I just had to! It doesn’t say it on the flyer but their tagline was “Let His heart lead yours”. Yep, that’s exactly what we were doing. ;))

They handed one to each of us three girls and as soon as they walked away, we laughed about it, threw it in our purses, and didn’t give it another thought. Until later that night, that is.

Back at the hotel after the show, me and my cousin are the only ones still awake, so she grabs my lap top computer… and the flyer! I was in disbelief that she would even consider signing up for a dating site let alone a dating site called “JC Match”. But alas, it didn’t take long before we were both totally engrossed in going from profile to profile. It was like a man menu! And some of these profiles must have been pretty funny because all I remember is us both laughing so hard as we scrolled through for like an hour. If nothing else it was sure entertaining!

She signed up that same night, I believe. And after some prodding from her, I soon followed suit. Then I took the liberty of signing my very reluctant sister up against her will soon after that. While nothing ever came of it for me and my cousin (who by the way, is now married to a really good guy that she did not meet on a dating site), it sure did for my sister. Believe it or not she met a guy who was actually at that very same concert and got the very same flyer!

Soon we had a complete stranger coming to our house to meet her face to face. Which honestly was a strange mix of weird and exciting all at the same time. I mean he ended up being a nice person and thankfully was not a psycho, but I seriously do not think my dad slept that whole night lol. He was on guard just in case this dude tried anything! While things between them didn’t work out… little did we know this was only beginning of her dating site journey.

So fast forward to 2011, when she signs herself up for Christian Mingle. Then in a stroke of evil genius, she turned the tables on me and signed me up against my will. Which of course I think brought her a sick sense of satisfaction. And while nothing came of it for me… once again, it sure did for her lol. And this time in a big way.

Soon we had yet another guy coming to our house to meet her face to face lol. And as it turns out the second time was a charm for her! The two met face to face at the end of May 2011 and before we knew it… about 6 months later, she was married.  So yes, my sister has a Christian Mingle success story. Proof that these stories do exist and that these things can happen. And that they aren’t totally lying to us in those super cheesy commercials with their rather questionable advice, such as the cringe worthy tagline - "Sometimes we wait for God to make the next move, when God is saying, ‘It’s your time to act'. The next move is yours. Find God’s match for you at ChristianMingle.com.”

So even though thus far, nothing has even remotely come of it for me, I am still on Christian Mingle. While I’m not a paying subscriber at the moment, I’m on there! Though in all honesty, sometimes I have no idea why lol.  Boredom? Maybe. The small hope that something could eventually come of it? Maybe… probably. However, my time on there has led me to some very, shall we say, interesting observations that I thought I would share with you guys!

I should preface by saying that these are not meant to offend anyone. But c’mon, you have to admit, if you are on one of these dating sites for any amount of time there are certain things you just can’t help but notice. Things that just make you scratch your head in bewilderment. Things that simply frighten you.

My Top 5 Christian Mingle Observations - 

1. Let’s start this off with what I’m going to call the “Hunter & Gatherer Phenomenon”. This one’s for the guys that obviously love to fish and hunt. I’m totally not the fishing & hunting kinda girl but if that’s what you’re into, cool. But maybe, just maybe the picture of you holding up the bloody dead fish is not the best Christian Mingle profile picture. Just putting that out there. It’s kinda like when your cat puts a dead mouse on your door step. No really, go with me here. Your cat brings you the mouse to show that they are big strong hunters and they want you to be proud… but really you’re just disgusted. I recently came across a guy holding up two dead ducks by the neck… didn’t know whether to cry or puke.

2. Okay, now to address the guys who take shirtless photos of themselves lying in bed. There is seriously no point in doing this unless you look like friggin’ Ryan Gossling. And even then a picture like that just makes you look conceited. And no girl wants to date a guy who thinks he’s prettier than she is.

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(Yes, if you’re paying attention this is the second blog in a row with a Ryan Gossling “Hey Girl”meme. Don’t judge me.)

Plus, there’s the whole we’re on Christian Mingle and you’re like trying to seduce me thing (ahem, especially if you’re not even doing a good job at it) that just seems kinda wrong.

3. The grandpa’s and the men old enough to be my father… le sigh. I’m sorry but I ain’t no gold digger, gramps and I do not have daddy issues. Just no.

4. The guys who are in their late 20’s or early 30’s and are looking for girls that are 18 and 19. Simple, I don’t trust you. I just don’t. Sorry… not sorry. I see this so often and it just really baffles me as the thought of dating a guy who is 18 or 19 weirds me out! C’mon, do you want to date or babysit? Just sayin’. Someone please explain this phenomenon to me because I really don’t get it.

5. Lastly, the guys who make goofy or slightly scary faces on their profile picture. I admit it, I’ve clicked on you, just because I was like “What the what??” So if the idea was to get attention then… mission accomplished? lol Actually, oddly enough, a couple of you even turned out to be cute… in your normal pictures that is. But I just wonder if maybe there’s a slightly less disturbing way to get us girls to click onto your profile.

Edit: So I had a hunch there would be more to add to the list. Ahem, #6. Trying to pass off pictures of celebrities as yourself. Um, hello, I know that's Paul Walker!  You're not fooling anyone!!

So those are my top 5 observations! I’m sure as time goes on, there will be lots more to add to the list. If you are or have ever been a Christian Mingler or an E-Hamonizer, or any of the other many dating sites out there, I want to hear from you! Your funny observations, stories, the good, the bad, the ugly! If ya got ‘em, share ‘em!

All of this is not to say or sound like I have it figured out and that I don’t sound like a total dork on my profile. Because I’m pretty sure that I do lol. It’s weird talking about yourself, posting pictures… basically putting yourself on display like cattle at the county fair. Ack! It’s awkward.

I confess that I act like I don’t care but yet I’ve written and rewritten my profile… and I still cringe when I read it. And I confess that sometimes, in admitted shallowness, I click on a guys photos first. I have a weird habit of sizing someone up based on their music taste (It says a lot about someone, okay?)… I know it’s silly but I can’t help it! I have the hardest time forcing myself, even if I’m really interested in a guy, to send one of those super cheesy “smiles” or greetings. And I confess that I’ve thought hundreds of times about just deleting my account.

Ah, the world of online dating is a weird one, for sure. But obviously, for some people, it does work. So whether you’re letting His heart lead yours or you’ve stopped waiting on God and made the first move… I wish you luck. God speed, my friend.

Yep, in case you haven’t heard, there’s a movie. Now, I haven’t watched it but I believe my sister and her hubs watched it on their anniversary last year. Because you know, how could they not, right? Seeing as how Christian Mingle brought them together I guess they owed them that much.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Currently…

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(Scripture verse that’s been on my mind lately as I’ve been getting back into health & fitness.)

Haven’t done one of these “Currently” posts in ages! Always had fun with these! Danielle over at the lovely blog, Sometimes Sweet, just posted one the other day and I felt inspired to jump back in and post one of my own!

Doing: Testing out a new cookie recipe to take to the bookstore! Actually if they turn out right we’re also going to pass them out to all of the moms at church on Mothers Day! They are sugar cookies with frosting rosettes piped on top. Since I learned how to do the frosting rosettes (which are so easy, btw) I’ve been a little obsessed! I want to put them on everything!

Watching: I know I’m a little tardy to the party but I just started watching Once Upon A Time on Netflix! My sister has been telling me to watch it for a while now but for some reason I just never did. There’s 66 episodes on Netflix and I’m on episode 4 lol, so a lot to catch up on. Really liking it so far! Also have been watching Dancing with the Stars! I know it’s lame but I love it! Don’t judge me lol. My favorites are Rumer Willis (she’s amazing!!) and Riker Lynch.

Planning: To sell my baked goods at market days soon! I’ve been wanting to try a market days for a while now so I’m hoping to finally do it in June or July! A little nervous… as an introvert these kinds of things tend to freak me out a little lol. But I’m excited and having fun planning it all out!

Thinking About: Health and fitness a lot lately. I’ve been really trying to eat healthy and workout. Learning how to better take care of my body. Realizing that if my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit that I need to honor God by taking care of it. I’m blessed to have a body that can move, walk, run, jump and dance. I want to take joy in that. That maybe my workouts can be a form of worship to the Lord. I guess trying to connect fitness to something deeper than just vanity. I want to be healthy - mind, body, soul, and spirit. I want to have the health and energy that I need to live the life God wants me to live. Okay, rambling, sorry about that lol. Just a lot of random thoughts on the subject!

Looking Forward To: My sister visiting in July! Really missing that girl and can’t wait to get to spend some time with her! We’re planning a day trip to Austin to hang out, eat too much delicious food, do too much shopping on SoCo, and maybe get coffee and a French Macaron or two.

Loving: Eating healthy & working out again! My cousin Pam, who I’m really close to, is on a health and fitness journey of her own. She actually started getting me to go to Zumba class with her when I visit her in Corpus. Now, I really can’t dance worth two cents lol but I think I do an okay job of keeping up! It’s just so much fun and you get such an awesome workout!  I love it!

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(Had to post this picture because, at least for me, this feels so true lol! Can’t quite shake it like some of the other gals… yet. But as long as I’m not in front of the mirror and I force myself to forget about all the other people dancing next to me, I’m fine!)

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(And because yes, I’m a fan of the Ryan Gosling “Hey Girl” memes, I had to post this one!)

Also cooking and eating healthy, whole foods is something I’m really loving! I love to cook so learning to cook healthy has been fun! Oh and if you’re looking for some fun Zumba videos on YouTube these girls rock it: RefitRev.

What are you currently into or up to lately? Feel free to post in the comment section or let me know if you do one on your blog, would love to read it!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Introducing Sugar Town Sweets & Eats!

Hey friends! So if you know me or have followed my blog then you know all about my love and passion for baking. As evidenced of course by the plethora of recipes I’ve shared here over the years lol. Well I’ve been selling my baked goods at a local bookstore/coffee shop in my town for over a year now. And from that, I have been getting really amazing feedback and also lots of orders! This has been so much fun for me and such a huge blessing in my life! My biggest order so far being 100 brownies & 100 cookies for an event called Hope Spoken in Dallas. Okay, so I may have gotten myself in a little over my head with that one lol, but it all turned out great, thankfully! And I’m so grateful for every opportunity that comes my way.

All this to say that I finally decided to create a Facebook to sell my baked goods and to help get my name out there! And after going over countless name ideas and with the help of my family, I finally settled on Sugar Town Sweets & Eats! Naming it after a song by Nancy Sinatra that my sister and I have loved for years called, “Sugar Town”! The song is so happy and cute, it just made sense. Plus, music being my second love affair after baking, I’m always happy when the two can intersect in some way.

On the Sugar Town Sweets & Eats Facebook you can take a gander at the yummy treats I sell and message me if you would like to order! Right now I’m selling a variety of cupcakes/cakes, cookies, brownies, muffins and other pastries. I can also ship certain treats such as cookies, brownies, and muffins, if you’re interested! For a complete run down and price list, click on the “About” page on the Facebook!

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(My first ever business cards! I ordered these from an Etsy shop called Seed To Sprout Design. Lovely designs and great service! I definitely recommend them!)

I believe in things that are homemade, handmade, and from scratch. And I believe that the best quality ingredients make for the best quality product. There's nothing that I love more than being in my kitchen, listening to good music, and baking my heart out. It's what truly makes me the happiest!

So please check out and “like” my page… and if you feel so inclined, place an order! I would be happy to bake for you!

www.facebook.com/sugartownsweetsandeats

Some photos of the baked goods I offer:

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Follow Your Arrow – DIY Arrow Ornaments

 

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Follow Your Arrow by 2014 Golden Cove on Grooveshark

I’m a firm believer in handmade gifts. There’s something so special about receiving something that was made just for you by the hands of someone you love. Likewise, it feels really rewarding to make something for someone that they will not only love but that will also have a special meaning to them.

That was the idea behind the gift I made for my sister Cecily this past Christmas. In all honesty, I had been planning this gift for months…. but being the world class procrastinator that I am (le sigh) I didn’t finish it till after Christmas. I know, major Christmas gift fail. But I swear Christmas comes faster every year and we all know just how very slyly it sneaks up on us. But I did finally finish it (yay me!) … and thanks to me, my sister got to open one more Christmas gift in January lol.

These cute little arrow ornaments were actually a last minute addition to her gift. I came across this tutorial by the lovely Jess Gatlyn of Boho Baby Bump and knew I had to make one for my sister. One of her favorite songs lately is “Follow Your Arrow” by country singer, Kacey Musgraves. I hadn’t heard the song until she put it on a mix cd for me some months ago. I’m not a huge fan (and that might an understatement lol) of country music but this one isn’t too bad, I guess (in other words, it’s listenable). Because of the message of the song she had mentioned that an arrow had kind of become a special symbol to her. So naturally I thought of her when I saw this craft.

I was going to use it as an accent on top of the wrapped gift in place of a bow but that didn’t end up working out. So instead I just tucked it into the case of the mix cd I made for her (we recently started sending each other mix cds in the mail).

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They were so easy and fun to make that I made about 5 of them for myself. I posted the video of Jess making them below and I’ll also link to her blog. But basically all you do is paint wooden skewers, cut the arrowheads out of scrapbook paper & hot glue them on, glue on feathers and a string to hang it and cover that with a strip of washi tape, and voilà! There was something really relaxing about painting the skewers in different colors and patterns. Just a really fun & cute craft!

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Now this baby, this butterfly dream catcher/wall hang was the real gift… the one that took me a while to start and to finish lol. 

She and I had found this cute & hippy looking butterfly doily when we took a day trip to Austin last summer. We went shopping on South Congress for the first time ever and saw it lying on a shelf in what became one of our favorite shops, New Bohemia. I believe she said “If I buy this will you make it into a dream catcher for me?”. That was in July… so needless to say, she wasn’t expecting it lol. I had been making myself dream catchers out of doilies for a while just as a fun and decorative diy to hang in my bedroom.  This one was a lot of fun to make and I was really happy that she loved it!

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This was how I used my arrow ornaments, to decorate a Valentines tree! I’ve been seeing cute little Valentines trees all over Pinterest and wanted to try it! Loved the way it looked with the arrows! It made for some cute and quirky Valentines décor, I think!

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Some more Valentines décor in the kitchen, just because I believe in being festive! :)

Hope you guys spend an afternoon making a few of these lovelies for yourself or someone you love!

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For Jess’s written tutorial , click here.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

My Phrase for 2015… His Plan is Better

I know, I know, we’re already a couple months into 2015 but I’m somewhat behind on blogging here, so bear with me as I race to catch up.

It’s a pretty common practice among us bloggers to choose a word for the New Year. A word that will set the tone so to speak and inspire the direction we hope our year takes. If you’ve been a part of the blogosphere as a writer or even just as a reader then I’m sure you know this. I’ve done this for the past few years now and I love the idea of it. It always made me feel hopeful for the new year, for a new start when maybe I was having a hard time doing that. But I have to be honest, this year… I could not even go there. I just couldn’t. I was totally and completely over it. Every pretty, inspiring, fluffy word felt fake and phony to me.

You see, the thing is, I was really dreading the clock striking 12 and the year changing into 2015. All that it meant to me was a list, a long list of all the things I didn’t accomplish in 2014. All the things I hoped and dreamed for it to be that it just wasn’t. It meant so much of what I planned that just didn’t happen. It meant that I had to face all the ways I didn’t change and didn’t grow. It was swallowing some hard truths… and it hurt. And I was a mere minute from falling apart at the thought of midnight on New Years Eve. And I hate that because I love celebrating that holiday with my family. But that’s where my heart was.

Somehow I made it through New Years Eve without any tears… this I believe is due in part to the yummy cheese fondue that we ate that night lol. But a few nights later, I was thinking about my plans that didn’t happen last year as I was scrolling through pictures of people who were doing that very thing. Needless to say, that sort of broke me. In tears at that point I started praying and asking God why weren’t these things happening for me? Why does it seem impossible for me to get to where I’ve been trying to go for what feels like forever?

Now, trust me, I’m not one to over spiritualize things and I try to be very very careful about saying the words “God told me” or “God spoke to me”… but at that moment I really did feel Him place these words into my heart: My plan is better.

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That was it. No bells or whistles. Just four words… a reminder that His plan is better.  Was it God? I hope so. I think so. All I know is that it was a huge comfort to me and it’s something I’ve been repeating to myself since then. His plan is better. Everytime I start to worry, stress, or get antsy… His plan is better. Everytime I start to look back in regret and frustration or look forward in fear and confusion…. His plan is better. Everytime I get tempted to ignore His voice and go my own way… His plan is better.

So this year, I don’t have a word… I have a whole phrase. His plan is better.