FOOD

The Best Fish Tacos

May 23, 2017

Everyone loves tacos. And these fish tacos with a creamy chipotle sauce are too delicious (and easy) not to try!

TACOS
tilapia  fillets (about 2 per person)
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chili powder
flour or corn tortillas
CHIPOTLE SAUCE
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
3 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon of adobo sauce from can
2 garlic cloves (minced)
Juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste
TOPPINGS
1 can corn
1 can black beans
shredded purple cabbage
avocado

Start with the sauce…Chop up the chipotle peppers, and mix together the mayonnaise, greek yogurt, minced garlic, lime juice, peppers, adobo sauce, salt and pepper. Voila! It’s ready to go and can be kept in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it.

Up next is the fish. Season the fish fillets with salt, pepper, chili powder, lime juice and drizzle with olive oil. In a saute pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the fish fillets and cook until browned on each side. Set them aside until you are ready to assemble the tacos!

Once you have the fish cooked and the sauce prepared you are ready to assemble the tacos! I always start with spreading a little (or a lot) of sauce onto the tortilla. I then break apart the fish fillets and spoon some onto the tortilla. I then top it with a little corn, beans, red cabbage and avocado. Add another dollop of sauce to top it off and enjoy!

These tacos are seriously so. freaking. good. I could eat them multiple times a week if I wanted!

LIFESTYLE

My First Month of Motherhood

May 9, 2017

We have survived one month (or almost 2 months at this point) with a newborn! It really is true what everyone says, being a mom is the hardest job you will ever do. I’m not going to sugar-coat anything, since our little girl Luna was born, it has been the most challenging time of my life, physically, mentally and emotionally.

The first two weeks (especially the first) were rough. I battled the baby blues and felt like a horrible person for feeling the way I did. I was mourning my old life when this new life had just begun. When someone asked me how I was, I did everything in my power to hold back the tears that inevitably would start flowing. My hormones were going crazy meaning my emotions were too. I wanted this baby more than anything but I couldn’t control the way I felt. I cried every time I thought about my dog (yes my dog), thinking she would feel so sad and replaced by this new baby. She had been the center of attention since coming into our lives two years ago, so in a way she was our first ‘baby’. (I’m sure this sounds ridiculous if you aren’t a dog person, but if you are maybe you can relate) She stayed at my mom’s house for the first week so my husband and I could get used to having the baby home and when we introduced Ivi to Luna, it couldn’t have gone better. Ivi loves to give Luna kisses and now doesn’t seem to be phased by this new little person in our lives. Such a relief.

Throughout those first couple weeks my husband was so amazing. Luckily he had about 3.5 weeks of paternity leave because I don’t know how I would of made it through without him. He recognized that I was feeling off and not the way I would of hoped. He sat me down to talk about it which helped so much and he did everything he could to just make the transition easier for me, even though he was going through the same transition too: no kids to having a kid. He truly is better than anyone I could of ever asked for and I feel so lucky to have him in my life.

While the first couple weeks were hard dealing with the baby blues, we entered the start of week three and it was like the cloud had lifted, my hormones were leveling out and I started feeling normal and more importantly, happy. Things have only gotten better and easier from that point on. We started developing more of a routine, started venturing out of the house more and seriously, the more you get out with a baby, the easier and less stressful it gets. And omg, thank god for the Solly wrap! The first few weeks Luna would cry in her car seat while we were out which made things stressful. But if we just popped in her Solly wrap she went to sleep immediately, and stayed asleep for our outing. Meaning we got to go out to lunch/dinner and eat (and have a margarita or two!) in peace! It was magical. Now that she is a little older (even just a couple of weeks older ha) she is much more content being in her car seat for outings or her stroller (though we always make sure to take the Solly wrap with us everywhere just in case). Another thing that has helped my overall mental state tremendously is the fact that she is a really really good sleeper at night! Once she was back above her birth weight her pediatrician gave us the go ahead to let her sleep for as long as she wanted at night. And literally ever since then, she goes down between 8:30 and 9:30 at night and sleeps anywhere from 6-8 hours before she wakes!!! Seriously getting that long stretch of sleep is so amazing, I don’t know what we would do if we had a baby that woke every hour or two. Once she does wake, usually about 4/4:30am, Mars gets up, changes her diaper, then hands her off to me to nurse her and she is back to sleep for a couple hours. I’m hoping over the next couple weeks we can get her to just sleep all the way through until about 6/6:30. That’s when we are typically getting up during the week anyways so it would be perfect:)

When Mars went back to work after 3ish weeks I was really nervous. Not because I didn’t think I could handle taking care of the baby alone, but because I enjoyed the company of having another adult around. Someone to talk to that could actually talk back. But after the first day, and then the first week went by it wasn’t so bad. I mean, I’m not going to lie, I still count down the hours until he gets home every day. But I feel totally confident in my abilities to survive the day without him. The one thing I was most nervous about was going on my first outing alone with the baby. I had pretty severe anxiety pre-baby so I was pretty nervous about this. But I talked myself into going to Target (of course) for my first outing. She slept in the car and I plopped her in the Solly wrap when we got there. She slept the whole time and then slept on the car ride home too. I felt like I had accomplished something huge, when it was really something so simple. Every week I have gone on more and more outings with Luna and none (knock on wood) have turned into a melt down situation! Before our first trip and honestly, still before every trip out, I get a flash vision of Luna screaming her head off while I have a shopping car full and me just totally panicking, dropping all my shit and booking it to the nearest exit. Thank god that hasn’t happened…yet. But seriously, the more you get out and do it, the easier it gets.

Overall, this first month, or almost 2 now, of motherhood have been hard, trying, overwhelming, exhausting but so. damn. amazing. This little baby girl has given a whole new purpose to our lives. She just started smiling a couple weeks ago and holy shit, it melts your heart every. damn. time. Now, can someone tell me how to get her to nap for more than 45 minutes at a time during the day? That would be really great 🙂

FOOD

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies

January 21, 2017

These are literally the BEST chocolate chip cookies! This is the first recipe I have ever made that didn’t turn out flat, pathetic, and unappetizing. Instead, these are SO thick, a little crunchy when they first come out of the oven and if you have enough self control to not eat the whole batch in one night, the next day they are chewy deliciousness!!!

I adjusted the recipe to make it more to my taste…more chocolate chips and cinnamon! You can never go wrong with a chocolate/cinnamon combo. I feel like the difference between this recipe and others I have made is the fact that you are using melted butter rather than just softened. That is literally the only thing I can think of that could be the difference between the flat cookies of the past and these delicious thick ones. Hope you give them a try because they are seriously too good not to!

What you’ll need…

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (melted)
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 12oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions…

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt
  • Mix together the sugars, melted butter, egg and vanilla
  • Stir together the wet and dry ingredients just until incorporated
  • Stir in the chocolate chips
  • Spoon mixture into tablespoon sized balls and place on cookie sheet
  • Bake for 13-15 minutes (depending on your oven so check them around 11 minutes just to be safe!)
  • Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and enjoy! Even better tasting the next day!
DECOR

Kitchen Renovation

January 12, 2017

Our kitchen remodel is finally done! We started the first weekend of December. My husband decided to take a few days off of work and try to get as much done in a 5 day stretch as possible. While he did get quite a bit done in that time, there was still so much more to do! Hence why it is just now finished….a month later.

One of the biggest time consumers was the cabinets. We went back and forth whether or not we wanted to rip the old ones out and start fresh, or keep the original set and repaint. While new cabinets would of been nice, we ultimately decided to keep the originals and sand them down and repaint. The biggest factor behind this decision was the fact that because the kitchen is so small we didn’t really have the option to change the layout at all so it just made more sense to keep the original cabinets, especially since they were real wood and were still in really good condition (other than the multiple layer of thick gross-colored paint…) Since we were keeping the cabinets we wanted to make the new paint look as nice as possible, so we sent all the cabinet doors to a local company to be completely stripped down to the bare wood so we had a nice fresh surface to paint over. This took a couple weeks, so we lived with an almost complete kitchen without cabinet doors for a bit. Not only did the stripping take some time, the actual painting was lengthy as well. We ended up using Valspar Cabinet Enamel and had it tinted to with a couple Valspar colors. For the top cabinets we went with Valspar Cool Grey and for the bottom cabinets we went with Valspar Autumn Fog. I know some people take a ton of time deciding on paint colors, but my husband and I walked into Lowes, and picked these out literally in 5 minutes. I knew what I was looking for so I suppose that helped.

Overall we did quite a bit of work in the kitchen. We stripped and painted the cabinets, installed a new checkerboard black and white floor, white subway tile backsplash, butcher block counters, a new farmhouse sink and faucet, painted the walls, put in new baseboards, and got all new appliances. While it was a lot of work (thanks to my husband!) we are so happy with how it turned out. My vision for a modern farmhouse style truly came to life and I couldn’t be happier!

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DECOR

Nursery Inspiration

November 22, 2016

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I have been so excited to start the nursery, especially since we found out we were expecting a little girl! To be honest, I have had a vision in mind of what I wanted the nursery to be like since before I was even pregnant. Since its a space that my husband and I will obviously spend a lot of time in, I wanted it to feel comfortable to both of us and baby. I also didn’t want it to be too baby-ish. I wanted pieces that would grow with baby girl and not be things we would end up getting rid of as soon as we were out of the baby stage. Overall I wanted the room to be light and bright with all the furniture being white with natural wood accents, modern, and not too girly. I’ve ridden horses since I could walk so I was obviously going to incorporate horses/unicorns into the room. And that is really the theme I have run with, although, not too over-the-top 🙂

These are some of the pieces we have either already purchased or plan to purchase. Now we just need to clear out the room so we can actually start putting everything together!

  1. Babyletto Lolly Crib
  2. BabyJives Moon & Star Cloud Mobile
  3. Round Brass Mirror
  4. Side Table
  5. Pillow
  6. Rocking Chair
  7. Book Shelf & Baskets
  8. Ride-on Unicorn
  9. Artwork

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LIFESTYLE

Maternity Must Haves

November 11, 2016

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I’m 6 months into my pregnancy and these have been a few things that I have been loving.

  1. Mustela Stretch Mark Prevention Cream – I have been loving this stuff! I slather it all over my belly every night before bed. I had tried a couple other creams before this one but they left a thick greasy residue that I hated. The Mustela cream is basically like a location that absorbs into the skin really quickly, and a little goes a long way. Bonus, it smells amazing and so far no stretch marks 🙂
  2. Blanqi Maternity Support Leggings – I looked online at a lot of different leggings and reviews and finally settled on these ones. They are sooo comfortable, not see through at all, and they have built in support for the ever-expanding belly. Right now I have told myself and that I’m only allowed to wear them one week day per week and then on the weekends. If I didn’t set that limit I think I would end up wearing them every day. For now, I’m in jeans 4-5 days a week but I’m sure as I near the end of this pregnancy they will become more frequent in my rotation.
  3. VitaFusion PreNatal Gummy vitamins – These things are delicious and have everything in them to help your little one get the best start possible. I started taking these about 5 months before I got pregnant, knowing that we wanted to start trying in the summer. I had read that if you take them before you’re actually pregnant (ones that contain a high enough amount of folic acid and these do) it helps to greatly reduce the risk of neural-tube defects. Also, after I got pregnant (first month of trying) I read that if you take prenatals for several months prior to getting pregnant it can help to reduce morning sickness symptoms. Not sure if this is actually true but overall I only experienced 3 weeks of morning sickness, it got pretty bad for a bit but I know it could of been a lot worse.
  4. Maternity Tank – I got this one from Target and literally wear it almost every day. It is super comfortable and I love that is shows off the bump. I still have plenty of room to as the bump really starts to pop over these last few months and I got my regular shirt size, small.
  5. No.7 Day Cream – My skin had been really great throughout the pregnancy until about week 19. I started getting some breakouts and more oily skin throughout my t-zone. I started using this cream and it has helped to really reduce the oil without drying out my skin. I also got the night cream version as well. I’ll definitely continue to use both post-pregnancy.
  6. Comfortable (and stylish) shoes – I saw these and instantly became obsessed. I had my husband get them for me immediately because luckily, he works for Adidas so I got them for 50% off. I love that they are not only super comfortable sneakers, but they can totally be dressed up or down. I wear a lot of black, like 80% of my wardrobe is black, so they fit in perfectly. And as I’ve always said, shoes make the outfit 🙂

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FOOD

Baked Vanilla Cinnamon Donuts with Chocolate Cinnamon Ganche!

October 31, 2016

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Over the weekend I got a very pregnant craving for donuts. So I whipped up these with a few of my own touches 🙂 They are SO delicious! Probably why there are only 3 (soon to only be 2) left out of the full dozen batch…oops.

Here is the recipe along with the few changes I made to make the recipe my own.

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2/3 cups plain greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping I went with a chocolate cinnamon combination. I LOVE chocolate and cinnamon together, especially this time of year.

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • whatever topping you like: sprinkles, nuts, ect.

Basically you just want to mix all the dry ingredients together first. I usually sift them together to get a little fluffier doughnut, and then add all the wet ingredients in and mix everything together. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes in a doughnut pan like this one I got from Target. The dough will be thick so I use two spoons to kind of spread it around each doughnut slot in the pan.

For the topping you just want to pour the chocolate chips, milk and cinnamon in a small pot and heat it up slowly over the stove until smooth and not too thick. You can add a little more milk if you think the mixture is not thin enough. Once the doughnuts have cooled enough to handle turn them upside down into the chocolate mixture and just spin them around a few times to ensure they are covered. Sprinkle with whatever topping you like and enjoy!

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DECOR

Kitchen Reno Inspiration

October 26, 2016

the-lovelee-life-modern-farmhouse-kitchen-inspiration-board

We are getting ready to start our kitchen renovation and I am SO EXCITED!!! The goal is to have it done before Christmas…we’ll see if that happens. Just like our bathroom, my husband will be doing all the work himself, especially since I’m pregnant and can’t really participate in most of the projects. Above is the inspiration for the style we are going for, modern-farmhouse.

On the to-do list.

Paint Cabinets – our cabinets are really in pretty good condition they just have several (ugly) layers of paint on them currently, so that will be the biggest chunk of work I think. The top cabinets are going to be painted white, while the bottom cabinets will be painted a blue-gray. Then we will be replacing all the hardware to an oil-rubbed bronze.

Convert electric stove top to gas – this might be one of the things I’m looking forward to most. I absolutely hate cooking on electric stoves…gas is so much better! Luckily we already have gas in our house so we just need to get a contractor out to the house to run the line to the stove. (this is the one thing my husband won’t be doing)

Counter tops  – currently we have some really attractive laminate counters that literally have a pink floral pattern on them if you look close enough. So cute. We are ripping these suckers out and putting in Oak butcher block counters. I can’t wait. I love the love of butcher block counters, especially will all the other elements I have picked out for the kitchen. The perfect combination of modern and farmhouse.

Backsplash – The current backsplash is the same as the counter tops. This will be gone and replaced with classic white subway tile, just like we did in our bathroom reno. We’ll again be going with the pewter grout. I love the look of a darker grout so you can actually see the tiles themselves but also because it will stay way cleaner looking than if we went with white.

Sink – Right now we just have a regular old two bucket metal sink. We are replacing it will a ceramic white farmhouse (apron front) sink! This is going to be such a beautiful touch and truly bring in that farmhouse feel.

Floors – Currently we have a ‘white’ and looks black but is actually dark green, checkered floor. We actually really like the look of the checkers but we want a true white and black. So we will be going with classic snap-n-lock white/black laminate flooring.

Other than that is will be painting the walls, possibly adding some bead board around the eat-in kitchen area and a few other farmhouse touches. We have already replaced the refrigerator, oven and dishwasher from ugly white to stainless steel over the past year, so the only appliance left to replace is the stove top!

I can’t wait to get this project started, and even more so to get this project finished! It is the last big project we have on the list for the interior of our home and then it will truly feel like our style.

 

 

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BEAUTY

October Beauty Favorites

October 24, 2016

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L’Oréal® Paris Pure-Clay Mask Detox & Brighten

I’ve heard a lot of good things about charcoal masks so I had been on the hunt for one to try. I found several but most of the them were upwards of $30 for a tiny amount and I had no idea if I would actually like it so why spend $30 on something that may end up in the garbage? Walking the aisles at Target (like I frequently do) I found this one for $10 and knew I had to try it out and I am SO glad I did! After the first time using it my skin felt so soft and it greatly reduced some redness I had going on. For $10 you really can’t beat this mask. It has quickly become my favorite. L’Oréal has a a couple other masks in this line, like the Red Clay mask that I can’t wait to try!

Pixi Glow Tonic To-Go

I’m sure you have heard of Pixi Glow tonic. It’s amazing. But the Glow Tonic To-Go is even more amazing! It literally just combines the regular glow tonic on pre-soaked pads that make it a no-brainer choice. This stuff truly does what it says its going to do: tones, brightens and exfoliates. My skin loves this and I hated the day I realized I was out and had to wait a few days to get more. This is a holy-grail product that will forever stay in rotation of my skin care routine.

It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream

I have heard a lot about this cc cream and had been wanting to find something a little lighter than a full foundation for everyday wear. I bought the ‘light’ shade of this (I think is the lightest shade it comes in) and it works pretty well for my skin tone. In the summer I’ll probably need to get the next darkest shade and maybe mix it will the light. This cc cream claims to be full coverage, however I think you would have to put quite a few layers on for it to be full coverage. With that said, it is definitely buildable. I usually use 2 pumps and apply it with a damp beauty blender.  It lasts all day, doesn’t settle into fine lines, and gives your skin a dewy finish without looking too glowy and still looks like your skin. I think the best part though is it contains 50SPF. I hate putting actual sun screen on my face so I always go for face products that contain SPF. I’m excited to give this product a try next summer and see how it holds up in the heat.

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush

This is a pretty great brush. It is great for applying cream and liquid products. I typically use it to apply my concealer and the soft bristles really help to make it go on flawlessly. The brush is fairly cheap at $9 and I’m glad I’ve added it to my expanding collection of Real Techniques brushes.

Bed Head Dumb Blonde Toning Shampoo

I literally could not say enough good things about this product. I have been using it for about a year now and it has made all the different in keeping my hair from going yellow. About year ago I got my hair colored a really icy/grey-ish blonde but I knew a few weeks later it would start yellowing, that’s just what my hair does. But after one use of this shampoo my icy blonde was back and I’ve been hooked every since! I typically wash my hair 3 times a week and I use it every time. You can leave it on your hair for up to 10 minutes depending on the look you are going for and you don’t have to worry about it turning your hair purple. I LOVE this shampoo so much, I will never use anything else again.

NYX Baked Blush

I love baked blushes and had been looking for a cheaper one. When I stumbled upon this one at Ulta I knew I needed to try it out. NYX is actually a super reasonably priced brand that doesn’t compromise quality. This blush contains an illuminator so you can that dewy quality without looking too shiny. I picked this up in the color ‘Journey’. It is a really pretty light pink with subtle peach tones and gold shimmer. I think its the perfect color all year-round. The best thing about this product is it truly does last all day and is fairly pigmented with out being too much so that your brush touches it and is doused in color. It’s pretty perfect 🙂

Rimmel London Lasting Finish Lipstick

I tend to be drawn to more nude lip colors. I had heard Rimmel lipsticks were pretty high quality so when I saw this one in the color Airy Fairy I knew I needed it. This lipstick is super moisturizing so it doesn’t dry out your lips and it has just a touch of sheen to it, so it’s neither matte or glossy. The color online looks a little more peachy than it is in person. It’s actually just the perfect combo of pink and peach with a really subtle gold shimmer. Putting it on its really close to my natural lip color, just boosted up a bit. I’ve been wearing it everyday since its easy to apply on the fly.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer

I used to use a concealer from MAC but I got annoyed when I would run out and have to make a special trip to the MAC store or order it online. So I was looking for a concealer I could pick up at Ulta since I frequent them quite often (and it’s right next to my local Target which I’m at pretty much every weekend) This concealer is definitely my new favorite! It feels totally weightless on, doesn’t crease in those pesky under eye lines and really helps brighten up my face. And, it truly does cover everything without looking cakey. I usually set it with a light setting powder and I’m good to go.

Essie Gel Couture

This is by far the best ‘Gel’ polish I have ever tried, and I have tried A LOT. Two thin coats of the polish color followed by one coat of the Gel Couture Top Coat and just a few minutes later its done and dry, no light needed! It really does last for a full week without chipping at all and looks like the gel nail manicure you would get at the salon. Each color is a little spendy at almost $12 a bottle but in comparison to making bi-weekly visits to the nail salon, you’re saving a ton of money. This product is super fast drying, leaves your nails with that gel shine we all love, and doesn’t require a light. Pretty perfect in my opinion 🙂

 

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