Work: Pumpkin Decorating Ideas

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Wedding Planning: Picking Bridesmaid Dresses

No one told me how hard it was going to be to decide on bridesmaid dresses. Whether you’re having 10 bridesmaids or just your maid of honor, shopping for bridesmaid dresses can be stressful! There are just so many options, fabrics, silhouettes and colors to choose from that the task can be daunting! I spent weeks putting dresses side by side, getting input from my bridesmaids and pinning so many examples on Pinterest.  Last week I finally made a decision on my four bridesmaid dresses!

I originally had sent the girls the picture below for inspiration and told them they could pick a dress similar to the ones pictured and that didn’t end up working out. The dresses were not mixing well together and the patterned dresses did not look good up against my wedding dress.

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I opted to choose champagne and blush colors off of showmeyourmumu.com and then let each of the bridesmaids pick a different style of dress that they wanted.

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I wanted to share with you my best take away tips to bridesmaid dress shopping:

  1. Color– Decide on your color palette for your wedding then decide on the color of your dresses. Since we are getting married in June I knew that I wanted to choose softer/lighter colors. I chose to go with mix and match blush and champagne for the dresses. Remember to be considerate of everyone’s skin tones, I realize that the colors I chose do not look good on everyone’s skin tone, but spray tans are always an easy fix for this!
  2. Silhouettes– Picking different silhouettes is a perfect option for the bride who wants to hold fast to the tradition of everyone in the same color, but also acknowledges the fabulousness that is diversity amongst her bridal party. Remember not every dress style is flattering for every person.
  3. Budget– There are tons of pretty and affordable options out there so just do your research!
  4. Consider the style– If you’re wearing a busy dress with lots of lace, details, and/or beading, keep the bridal party dresses on the simpler side. I had originally planned to do floral bridesmaid dresses but after picking my wedding dress I decided to go with simple bridesmaid dresses to make sure that the two fabrics won’t clash.
  5. Consider the season and the time of day– Pastels probably won’t look right for a fall wedding and long black bridesmaid dresses probably won’t look too great for an early summer wedding. Be sure to keep in mind your surroundings and the temperature.
  6. Forget about finding dresses the ladies will “wear again” the fact is that no matter how pretty the dress is, they will always feel like a bridesmaid wearing it. So choose a dress that you like and they feel good in.

Remember, that while making your bridal party happy is important, this is your wedding and what you think and love matters the most! Your friends are there to stand by your side and encourage your marriage, no matter what dress they are wearing.

Check back next week to find out how to purchase for florals and decor on a budget!

{ Wedding Planning on a Budget } { Newlywed Finances } { Unique Bridal Shower Gifts }

BBQ Chicken Salad

This healthy, flavorful salad comes together so quickly and easily!

After a weekend full of drinking and tailgate food, this BBQ chicken salad was exactly what I needed to start Monday off eating healthy.

I have posted a similar salad in the past but this salad is a southwestern twist which uses BBQ chicken, avocado, corn and black beans. This is definitely a salad that eats like a meal and given that it takes less than 30 minutes to make, it’s perfect for light easy dinners! I used my favorite sweet baby rays and hidden valley ranch but feel free to use your favorites, it will be delicious either way!

What are you waiting for? Go make it!

 Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless thin-sliced chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 3/4 cup canned corn kernels, drained
  • 3/4 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup Ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup tortilla strips

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, to taste. Add to skillet and cook, flipping once, until cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side. Let cool before dicing into bite-size pieces.
  3. To assemble the salad, place romaine lettuce in a large bowl; top with chicken, tomato, corn, beans, onion and cheeses. Pour Ranch dressing and BBQ sauce on top of the salad and gently toss to combine.
  4. Serve immediately, topped with tortilla strips.

On a related note, have you heard of the Instant Pot?  It’s seriously the greatest invention, I am obsessed. You need to put this on your Christmas list or buy one before Winter. There are tons of amazing recipes out there and it makes life so much easier check out my favorite Pulled Pork  Instant Pot Recipe!

 

As the weather gets cooler, I will definitely be using the Instant Pot for soups and chili. The fantastic thing is that you can sauté veggies or meat right in the pot before switching it to slow-cooker mode. (That is always my gripe with my crock pot: I hate dirtying an extra pan and having that additional step.) In the upcoming weeks I will be sharing with you more dishes you can make including recipes using the instant pot.. stay tuned.

More healthy chicken recipes you may have missed:

Chicken Kabobs | Buffalo Chicken | Balsamic Chicken |

 

 

 

Friend Date Ideas other than dinner

Throughout the week I love spending time catching up with friends but it seems that every time we plan to get together the only activity that we can think of to do is meet up for dinner and drinks. I have been on the hunt to find different activities to do together. Don’t get me wrong grabbing dinner and trying a new restaurant is always a good time too but here are a few others ideas that I am excited to try for my next girl date:

  1. Browse a boutique or store. Browse the aisles, pick up trinkets and books, read each other lines, and recommend your favorites. Shopping is always enjoyable!
  2. Take a walk around the neighborhood. We like to call these “mom walks”,  power walking around the neighborhood while chatting goes by super quick.
  3. Bake together. My friend Kalyn and I once tried making an apple pie together and that didn’t turn out so well. Maybe next time we will bake brownies out of a box so we can’t mess them up.
  4. Head to Ulta or Sephora and give each other a makeover!
  5. Run errands together. This kind of thing always feels surprisingly intimate and entertaining, who doesn’t love doing a Target run with your bestie?
  6. See a comedy show.
  7. Start a two-person book club.
  8. Get moving. Take an exercise class together, ride bikes, makeup your own workout or have a dance party.
  9. Host a sleepover. Read magazines, order pizza and stay up late talking.
  10. Take a day trip, like going apple picking or to the beach
  11. Pick a TV and watch together every week. If you’re not in the same place, watch separately and text throughout!

Best Savings Account: CapitalOne360

Savings accounts really matter because they’re where you save for mid-term and long-term goals: your wedding, house/car down payment, vacations, emergencies, etc. To get started you need to determine your monthly expenses. The first step you want to do in your financial plan is have an emergency savings account with 6 months of expenses available in case of job loss, medical emergency, car repairs, etc. This account should not be touched unless it’s an EXTREME emergency. So if you spend let’s say $3000/month, your emergency fund should have $18,000.

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Next, set up sub savings accounts for your various short term savings needs. Some needs that come to mind are:

-House Down Payment -Wedding -Vacation

Capital One will allow you to set up an automatic deposit from your checking account into each of the sub savings accounts monthly, weekly, daily, whichever you choose to do. Think about this: If your friends call you up and say “Hey, let’s go on a trip this weekend,” you’re not going to be like, “Hang on girls…let me transfer money from my “wedding fund sub-savings account.” Having the sub accounts is key because you are way less likely to transfer or spend the money in your account than if all of your money is setting together in a checking or savings account.

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I use monthly automatic transfers to funnel money into each of my sub-accounts. Currently, I only have three accounts set up with Capital360. I have an emergency fund, wedding fund & a house project fund. Now that these accounts are in place, I’m getting closer to each of my goals automatically, month after month, without having to remember to set money aside. I have already saved for 6 months of emergencies, had completed my house down payment savings fund and am now working towards being able to help pay for our wedding.

When you don’t see the money and it’s automatically transferred into these sub accounts you will never miss it. However, a few months later, you’ll be amazed at how fast you’re accomplishing your goals. I have only had my account for a three years now and cannot believe how much more money I am able to save than I was previously.

Other benefits of the Capital One savings account

  • No fees, no minimums
  • Good interest rate (see below)
  • You can do everything online in an ultra-simple interface
  • No annoying upsells sent via postal mail = paper cuts
  • Links to your checking account via electronic transfer

NEXT STEPS: Open a savings account

To open up a Capital One 360 savings account today, click here & get a $25 bonus!!!

Links I Love

Happy Friday friends!! This week has been a quick one. I don’t know about you but thankfully this week flew by so quickly! Last night I literally thought it was tuesday. I’m super thankful it flew by though because this weekend I’m heading to South Bend to tailgate with my family for the Notre Dame football game!

Here is a list of my top ten favorite things from around the web this week. Thanks for stopping by! I am so grateful for each and every one of you who stops by my blog even if it’s just for a second to see what I’m up to. YOU ARE AWESOME! I hope you know that. Anyways I hope everyone has a fun filled weekend.

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1) 10 online certifications to boost your resume

2) How to get more protein in your diet

3) Bride surprises Grandma by wearing her wedding dress, awww!

4) Here is what everyone is going to be for Halloween this year

5) This Colourpop palette looks AMAZING, might be adding this to my wish list

6) What to do if you’re bored at work

7) Next up on my reading list

8)  8 addictive fun games that will challenge you, in a good way

9) Happiest cities in the US

10) How to use your leftover Halloween candy

 

Spotify Morning Jams

Ah I don’t know about you but mornings are so tough for me lately. It’s so hard getting out of bed especially now that the weather has started to get chilly and the mornings are so dark. I wouldn’t call myself a morning person at all,  I typically snooze my alarm 2-3 times each morning until I eventually peel myself out of bed. However, once I am up and out of bed I would consider myself pretty productive in the mornings.

So while I have mixed feelings about the mornings, especially weekday mornings, I try to have some sort of noise going while I’m getting ready. I love Spotify and there is nothing better than an energetic playlist to keep me pumped up in the mornings and keep me bopping along while I’m getting ready. I put together a list of some of my favorite songs and hit play as soon as my feet touch the floor. Have you checked out these playlists on Spotify?

Mood Booster

HIIT-POP Workout

Songs to Sing in the Shower

What are your favorite songs right now?

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Some cute music accessories from around the web:

Pink Shower Bluetooth Speaker  | Rose Gold Headphones | Portable Turntable |

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Fall Boots

Brrrr! The season of sweater weather, scarves and boots is finally here in Indianapolis.

With 70 degree weather up until last week I am excited it is finally starting to feel like fall. Whether you’re excited to start creating your Halloween costume or to end your days next to the fireplace, it comes as no surprise that fall is a favorite season for many of us including me!

One of my favorite things about the crisp weather is wearing comfy outfits and being able to rock a pair of boots. From riding boots to combat boots to statement ankle boots, the choices are as endless as my obsession with them. It’s probably a universal rule that your outfit can only be as good as your shoes are, so if you’re unsure of what your next go-to fall boots will be, don’t worry, I have rounded up my favorite affordable Fall boots for this season! Take a look and let me know which is your favorite!

  1. Anthro Animal Print Booties
  2. Closed Toe Zipper Tassel
  3. Ankle Bootie with zipper
  4. Brown Riding Boots
  5. Closed Toe Black Ankle Booties ah how cute is that burgundy pair?

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More fall trends that you don’t want to miss:

Off the shoulder

Fall Color Trends

Elbow Patches

Combat Boots 

Flannel

Amazon Registry

I know I’ve expressed my undying Amazon addiction about as many times as I’ve mentioned pumpkin flavored desserts and cocktails around here, but I’m so excited that over the weekend Jake and I decided to use Amazon for our wedding registry!

In case you’re not familiar with how it works, you can register for just about anything anywhere on the internet in a single Amazon Registry list. We love the ease of online shopping and tend to have an Amazon package waiting for us at our door once or twice a week. We figured our guests would like the convenience of picking a gift from Amazon without the hassle of dealing with busy stores and traffic. I wanted to share with you my 10 favorite times on our registry so far:

  1. Cordless Vacuum ah, a cordless vacuum, I need this for our stairs!
  2. Dutch Oven cooking just got a lot more fun with this colorful dutch oven
  3. Farmhouse Kitchen Towels will never go out of style
  4. Pyrex Storage we love tupperware and planning our lunches for the week, these glass containers are great!
  5. The prettiest KitchenAid Hand Mixer
  6. 3 piece spinner luggage honeymoon must have
  7. Colorful and bright Mixing Bowls
  8. Tea Cups & Coffee for your next girls night or brunch with friends
  9. Throw Blanket cozy up this winter by the fireplace with this farmhouse throw
  10. Pantry Organizer

                      

Seriously how cute are these Amazon finds for Farmhouse Décor

Pumpkin Bread

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Happy Monday lovies! I hope everyone had a great weekend, we sure did! Friday we went to dinner with my cousin and her husband at 317 Burger. We had a delicious grilled cheese and pumpkin ale beer!

Saturday I spent the day organizing my closet, I boxed up all of my summer clothes and got out my fall and winter, bring on the sweaters and boots! Then I did some baking and stumbled across this delicious pumpkin bread recipe! It’s a must try!

BREAD

1 15-ounce can (1 3/4 cups) pumpkin puree
1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable or another neutral cooking oil or melted butter (115 grams)
3 large eggs
1 2/3 (330 grams) cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Heaped 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
Heaped 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Two pinches of ground cloves
2 1/4 cups (295 grams) all-purpose flour

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 6-cup loaf pan or coat it with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs and sugar until smooth. Sprinkle baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinanmon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves over batter and whisk until well-combined. Add flour and stir with a spoon, just until mixed. Scrape into prepared pan and smooth the top. In a small dish, or empty measuring cup, stir sugar and cinnamon together. Sprinkle over top of batter.

Bake bread for 65 to 75 minutes until a tester poked into all parts of cake (both the top and center will want to hide pockets of uncooked batter) come out batter-free, turning the cake once during the baking time for even coloring.

You can cool it in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove it, or cool it completely in there.

More of my favorite fall recipes you may have missed:

| Pumpkin Muffins |Pumpkin Cheese ball |Pumpkin Desserts |