July 31, 2017

We all have a favorite season. But, I think we can all agree, regardless of our temperature preferences, that Summer brings out the shopaholic in all of us. The clothing is cheaper, the styles are hotter, and there's always something to buy.

Summer means fresh. And, even if you work a 9-5 like me, a change in your mood occurs when the temperature heats up. It's time to throw out the hibernation side of you and reveal the poolside babe! You can recall and identify most Summers by your fashion, music, foodie, and fun favorites.

Here's what I'm diggin' this Summer. My 2017 Summer look is definitely a mix of minimal and tropical with smoothies to sip and chill electric music to cruise down the road to all day.

 

Photo credit // Buy Here: ROOLEE

COLOR BLOCK CLOTHING
Maybe it's the Mod vibe, maybe it's the effortless style appeal, but my Summer shopping overhauls seem to be filling my closet with color block style tops and dresses. The clean lines and minimalism caught my fashion eye this season.  ROOLEE just restocked their Coconut Color Block Top in Mustard, which I totally did not request via their Instagram... :) Perfect work to daily life top!


 


SUNSET LOVER BY PETIT BISCUIT
Well... the entire "Dreamy Vibes" playlist on Spotify, really. The eclectic, electronic, relaxing vibes help me get in my head and out of my head at the same time. (Whoa, gettin' existential, here.) I'm a rock solid Ambivert, so while I do well and have a blast in high energy level social situations, I need silent breaks from all the people or brain overload. I listen to this song and the Dreamy Vibes playlist while driving, to focus at work, when my workout consists of longer (LISS) cardio sessions, and often while simply sitting with a cup of tea to regain my chill. It's the perfect amount of tempo and sound to add to the silence.

 

 Photo credit: Mallory Jordan (Me!)

KVJ
You can always find me in the Fiction Classics or Sci-Fi aisles of a bookstore. But, I've found my nose stuck in Kurt Vonnegut novels frequently this Summer. I finished The Sirens of Titan on the plane to Texas for my Marketing & Communications team meeting this year. Now, Player Piano sits on my bedside table. (Previously, I've read Slaughterhouse Five and Cat's Cradle for anyone wanting to make KVJ next read suggestions.) The apocalyptic space travels and philosophies on time permeate my world. 

 

Photo credit: Indianapolis Monthly Magazine

Visit Hubbard & Cravens

HUBBARD & CRAVENS HEALTHY ELEPHANT DRINK
H&C remains my work week coffee go-to. Dark roasts forever. But, my work fam recently introduced me to their chilly Healthy Elephant. They had me at peanut butter + espresso. I've mentioned my pre-wedding health kick, and this completely solves my ice cream or shake cravings! No whipped cream or sugary coma of guilt. Refreshing and delicious alternative to a Frappucino, too!

 

 Photo credit: OPI // Buy Here: Alpline Snow on Amazon


WHITE NAIL POLISH: ALPINE SNOW BY OPI

The majority of the year, I stick to my fave Essie gray. But, I always want to lighten things up in the Summer. Typical Summer colors are not my jam. Fruity pinks and neon greens don't quite go with my aesthetic. You have to be careful with white nail polish, because it could turn out too pearly, too creamy, or too sheer. OPI's Alpine Snow shows up bright, pure white and solid in merely two coats. It matches pretty much any and every outfit. I wear it on my finger and toes all Summer and I'm never going back!


 

 

November 6, 2016

Top: Before 21 Day Fix Extreme  Bottom: After 21 Day Fix Extreme progress pics
 

Shouting to the hills that I officially achieved my goal of completing the 21 Day Fix Extreme challenge! Whew, it was a doozy.


After finishing the 12-week Kayla Itsines' Bikini Body Guide (BBG) last March, I think it was, I might have let a few of my positive habits slip. Maybe threw in some Springtime binge eating. 


Needless to say, I was angry at myself and upset that I took a step back from my progress. I mean, who gets more fit in the winter and gains body fat in the summer?!? (This girl.)


My relationship with food shifted a little to the unhealthy side. I ate very little for lunch or for the entire day Monday through Wednesday, and then binge ate the rest of the week and weekend. Snacking knew no bounds. Snack portions looked more like meals. 


It was as if I mad at my body for not being able to eat whatever I wanted anymore, so I threw my knife and fork up in the air and said, "screw it!", and ate more to prove that I didn't care. But, I do care. I want to be full, but I want to live a healthy lifestyle and treat my body well.


I realized there was still so much I didn't know about food and nutrition. I needed to plan my meals according to actual nutritious portions, not only pretty pics of healthy food on Instagram.


Obviously, 21 Day Fix attracted me because of the quickness of it compared to my last 12-week challenge. (Note for later: with faster results comes harder work.) But, what truly drew me to it was the strict, easy to follow, no questions meal plan and nutrition knowledge. I needed a crash course bad, and #21DFX was perfect for this.


And, of course, my goal is always to get stronger. Not necessarily skinnier and not buff, but stronger. Since I am familiar with circuit routines and was still fairly in shape despite my terrible eating habits, I went with the Extreme version for this reason.


If your body isn't used to working out at all, I suggest starting with the 21 Day Fix. If you are looking for more of a gradual introduction to fitness for a lifestyle change, I still recommend BBG above all else. The 21 Day Fix Extreme gave me the fastest results of any workout program I've tried. But, it worked my body and diet harder than ever. I highly recommend it for boosting your body back into fitness and achieving results before a big event... if you can commit.


I honestly do not suggest jumping into this Beachbody program head first. Secret: I started it at least 5 times before final committing all the way through.


My first tip is to cut alcohol from your diet. Get used to it so you aren't stressed out about it when you start #21DFX.


Next, I recommend playing kitchen a bit with the containers. Acclimate yourself to the nutrition, portions, and how to fit your favorite foods into the diet. If you try to whip up fancy meals every night, it will stress you out. If you stick to a completely bland chicken, rice, veggie diet, you will get bored and frustrated and wind up quitting to binge eat your favorite foods that you've been missing.


Find a middle mark of foods you like and restructure the recipe a bit around the color coded containers. Get yourself used to the diet before you press play on the workouts, because I found the eating to be the hardest part. Two words: meal plan. Planning out at least 4 days of breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner at a time helps with stress levels and commitment to the program.


When you finally decide to get your head in the game, start the workouts on a Friday. Thursday works, too. I discovered that when I started on a Monday, by Thursday or Friday I would realize I was only 4 days into the program and the weekend had arrived. It was too easy to quit and Friday night indulge. 


Starting on a Friday gets 1 of your 3 21DFX weekends out of the way, and you'll be done with week 1 before the work week even ends. Fitness is routine and commitment, yes, but it's mostly mindset. Set your mind up to succeed.


Truth: I actually started on a Monday the time I finally completed the program. But, I still modified it a bit beginning with the Arms exercise, then fitting in that first Plyo workout on Saturday, and then back to the schedule with Yoga on Sunday. I found Arms Extreme way easier to start with on a Monday morning. And then, my least favorite Extreme workout (Dirty 30 Extreme) landed on Friday morning, so I felt extra motivated to do it since the weekend had almost arrived.


Notice I kept saying "morning". I know it sucks, but I highly recommend (especially for busy career focused individuals like myself) to do these workouts in the morning before work. Did I love waking up at 6:20am instead of 7:30 to fit in weighted lunges and a shower? Not most days. A few days, it truly felt rewarding in the AM. But arriving home after work, my mood always reflected my morning accomplishments and the fact that I had my entire evening to relax, have fun, or do whatever the hell I wanted. It made this 21 day goal far more feasible physically and mentally. The weekday morning routine helped me focus on dialing in the nutrition to my dinner plan, too, because I didn't want to ruin the progress I had already made that day.


Another mindset factor is body shaming. You are getting nowhere in this or any fitness program if you hate on yourself. Do this for the right reason. It's not about lookin' bikini bod hot. (Although, the "Beachbody" branding would steer your brain to believe so.) Go into 21DFX for the sole goal of bettering your health and lifestyle, inside out.


In the meantime, don't punish yourself either. Most workout guides or plans offer you a rest day and a cheat meal, like BBG. Since this is a 21 day program, not a drawn out lifestyle change, (which I  recommend you treat the diet plan as, however) there are zero rest days and zero cheat meals. Believe me, 21 days is a long time to not have even one itty bitty cheat.


To avoid giving up or punishing yourself for having a slice of sweet treats or a bad salty snack, take a taste. Someone brought chips to the office? Have a couple. Not a handful! But, a couple. Do you crave pastries like I do? Take a bite of a friend's cookie or take that street side sample of a cherry danish. It won't hurt your diet and it will curb your cravings. Quitting cold turkey on every food indulgence usually fails and leads to quitting and even food binging.

There's always an event or excuse to eat poorly. Birthdays, date night dinner, Friday. If you're waiting for 21 days where you'll have zero temptation to fail, you'll be waiting to start forever. You have to learn to apply this program to your life in a way that still feels fulfilling, such as taking one bite of birthday cake or finding the best time for a workout in your day, if you want to succeed. This program helped me truly understand nutrition and pick healthier menu options without skimping on the delicious. Ease yourself into this program nutritionally and physically so you don't burn yourself out.


Stretching a little extra before and after these workouts worked well for me, too. Your muscles will work hard, especially in the Extreme program. And, while form is everything and will protect you from injury, stretching remains 100% necessary to keep your body going for a full 21 days in a row with zero rest days.


If you stick to the morning workout routine during the work week, I highly recommend putting 1 yellow carb (Plan 1 or Plan 5 below) in your breakfast since you worked off a lot and so you have energy for the rest of your day. (Don't fall asleep at your work desk, please.) Plan 3 with a good fat for breakfast usually keeps energy levels high as well.


While the diet was difficult to stick to for me and I had to find ways to not stress it, measuring your food intake by portion size based on food groups is genius. (Way to go, Autumn.) It eliminates stress of counting calories and makes life so much easier. And overall, I did it! Keep in mind, I landed in the least caloric intake level on the #21DFX chart.



#Werk Week Meal Plan Ideas:


Plan 1

Breakfast: 1 red of eggs, 1 yellow of toasted whole grain bread, 1 purple fruit

Lunch: 1 red of shredded chicken, 1 green of broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, green bean mix sautéed in green Thai curry paste

Snack: 1 red Greek yogurt, 1 tsp Bare Naked granola, 1/2 purple fruit

Dinner:  1 yellow sweet potato, 1 red chicken, 1/2 purple raisins or dried cranberries, 1 green broccoli, 1/2 green onion , chopped garlic, 1 blue chopped walnuts, 1 tsp olive oil, Italian seasoning sautéed


Plan 2

Breakfast: 1/4 C almond milk with 2 T Chia Seeds set overnight, add 1/2 purple of fruit in morning

Lunch: 1 red of shredded chicken, 1 blue of Guac, 1 yellow of black beans and cilantro lime brown rice

Snack: 1 apple or 1 purple fruit

Snack 2: Homemade Granola Bar for 1 orange seeds, 1/2 purple fruit, and 1 tsp oils

Dinner:  2 red and 2-3 green Ground Turkey stuffed bell peppers with jalapeños, Mexican spices, tomato, and onion or 1-2 green of spaghetti squash, 1 green of mushroom, tomato, broccoli, 2 red chicken, 1 tsp pesto pasta


Plan 3

Breakfast: 1 red of eggs and 1 blue of avocado

Lunch: 1-2 red bun-less Turkey or chicken Burger with 1 green of red onion, tomato, spinach and 1 orange of condiment or dressing or 1 red chicken, 1 red hard boiled egg, and 1 green cucumber, tomato, spinach salad

Snack: 1-2 purple fruit

Dinner: 2 green Stir fry with carrots, broccoli, snap peas, mushrooms, green beans and 2 yellow whole grain rice and 2 red diced chicken or 2 yellow whole grain pasta, 2 red shrimp, 1 tsp pesto, and 2 green tomato, broccoli, zucchini mixed pasta


Plan 4

Breakfast: 1 red Greek yogurt, 1 tsp Bare Naked granola, 1/2 purple fruit

Lunch: 1 yellow half sandwich with 1 green of spinach, tomato, and onion, 1 blue of mashed avocado, and 1 tsp mustard with 1 green side steamed broccoli or green beans or 1 blue of hummus and 1 green of veggies (carrots, bell pepper, cucumber)

Snack: 1 red 2 hard boiled eggs

Snack 2: 1 purple fruit

Dinner: 1 yellow black beans and quinoa mix, 1/2 purple mango, 1 red chicken, 1 green bell pepper and jalapeño mix


Plan 5

Breakfast: 1 yellow of steel cut or old fashioned oatmeal and 1/2 purple fruit or 1 yellow English muffin with 1 tsp almond/peanut butter and 1/2 purple smashed raspberries

Lunch: 1 red of chicken, 1 red of Greek yogurt, 1 purple grapes and apple, 1 green of celery, lemon juice

Snack: Homemade Granola Bar for 1 orange seeds, 1/2 purple fruit, and 1 tsp oils

Dinner: 2 red chicken, 1 yellow sweet potato and black bean mix, garlic/cumin/chili powder spices, 1 blue avocado with 1 green side of broccoli or green beans or 1 yellow whole grain pasta, 2 red chicken breast, 1 blue shredded mozzarella cheese, 1 tsp pesto, 1 green diced or sliced tomato for Chicken Caprese pasta (can add spinach to pasta also)



Overall, I am EXTREMEly pleased with the results. My body looked and felt way less bloated (and I was even TMI on my period!) after the first week. After the second week, I noticed my body fat began slowly decreasing. They do say it takes up to 4 weeks to see results, so seeing even the smallest progress after 2 weeks is huge.

I noticed the most change in my hips as far as weight loss. If you look at my progress pics, even, the hip area right above the elastic of my shorts has visibly changed. I also noticed significant toning and muscle building changes in my arms and legs.

Again, I didn't see as drastic of results as I did with Kayla Itsines's BBG program, but that's to be expected. A 21 day program versus a 12 week program shouldn't give you the same results. But, I have to say, sticking to #21DFX definitely gave me faster results. My guess to the reasoning behind this is the nutrition. While Kayla offers a "HELP" guide for meal planning, it is more of a guideline. It's not nearly as focused, detailed or specific. 

The hardest habit for me to break was snacking after dinner. When 8/8:30 rolls around, I almost always crave a giant spoonful of peanut butter or salty popcorn. Saying "no" was hard, but it's a good habit I'm sticking to at least 6 out of the 7 days of my week from now on.

Right now, you might be thinking, "But, Mallory, you were already skinny, why did you do this? You didn't need to." And my response is, yes, I did. Especially for my poor nutritional habits before they spun out of control. And also, it frustrates me when people say this, because how do you think I am so fit? It's not magic. It's consistent hard work and commitment. 

Working out and eating healthy shouldn't be about how "skinny" you are. Many individuals even gain weight because they build muscle mass, which weighs more than fat. That's why you see people taking progress pics on their fitness journey instead of measuring their weight on a scale. It's about being fit, not skinny.

Working out and focusing on health in your diet should be a lifestyle goal for everyone. It keeps your body active. I know when I fill my body with nutritious foods and commit to a form of physical activity after sitting all day at work, I am genuinely happier. These positive habits literally change the chemicals in your body. My depression lessens (Sugar causes inflammation, which increases depression... look it up.) and my overall mood becomes noticeably improved. I am more motivated, less tired, and more likely to be active in other areas of my life. Lifestyle change.

One major thought that motivated me to finally complete the #21DFX challenge was time. Time passes. Whether you like it or not, in the blink of an eye 3 weeks will go by. In those three weeks, are you going to continue your bad habits and be frustrated with yourself, stuck in a rut? Or, are you going to challenge yourself and make yourself super proud? Those three weeks will pass... where will you be in your fitness journey?


While I am going to switch back to the BBG guides and also decrease the frequency of my workouts, I am taking the nutritional knowledge from 21 Day Fix Extreme and continuing it on it my daily life. It taught me so much in so little time. They say fitness is 80% nutrition and that abs are made in the kitchen, so let's keep that kitchen clean!

October 31, 2016

I'm not hating on Christmas, but Halloween is my favorite time of year! (With Christmas and Hanukkah in close second, okay?!) The crisp air, apples, pumpkins, scarves, orange, scent of trees, bright leaves, dark makeup and cozy sweaters fill my heart with eerie happy.
 

I grew up putting together makeshift costumes most years. (My parents were modest spenders who didn't buy into $40-$60 kids costumes. Plus, I was a tiny kid and most bagged costumes didn't fit me.) This acquired skill helped me a lot in college when looking cute was mandatory, but dollar bills were scarce. Now, coming up with a kick-ass costume customized for me, by me is what I look forward to each Halloween.
 

Hunting for costume pieces is part of the Halloween yearly experience. And, I think when you put a costume together yourself, it tends to look more authentic. And if you simply have to buy a costume (like my Venom jumpsuit), adding the final touch of a stand-out makeup will make that costume your own.

If you are scrambling for a quick costume for tonight's All Hallows Eve festivities, but don't want to drop a ton of cash on a packaged look, I've got options for you. In the spirit of Halloween, here are three different DIY looks I've created and transformed!



Mummified Couple

Supplies:
- 10 packs of cheese cloth from Hobby Lobby (for two)
- Pack of safety pins
- White clothing you don't mind getting pinned (long sleeved shirts and leggings or pants)
- Black or grey face paint, or makeup as desired

Directions:
1. Pin top of cheesecloth to the top of one of your white shirt's shoulders
2. Wrap cloth around torso
3. Pin at the bottom where it ends, and add pins to middle sections that seem to sag
4. Repeat for arms, legs, and hips as needed
5. Zach went full mummy, wrapping some cheesecloth around his head and tying it to fasten, with black face paint smudged around his eyes
6. I went Egyptian princess style with a party store head chain, jewelry, black hair spray paint, black cherry lipstick, blue eye shadow, lots of eyeliner in Cleopatra style and fake eyelashes

 


Venom Morph
 

















Supplies:
- Black face paint
- White face paint
- Black face paint crayon
- White face paint crayon
- Red face paint crayon
- Black eyeliner pencil or Sharpee
- Deep red lipstick- Liquid eyeliner and mascara
- Venom picture inspiration (there are a lot of versions)

Directions:
1. Start with white face paint on one eye and making it the perfect shape you want (don't forget painting your eyelid, too!
2. Outline eye shape with the white crayon, and fill in/perfect the white eye paint so it's solid
3. Use red paint crayon to outline where your half venom mouth will go, making the gum line as well
4. Take the black crayon and trace the white eye outline so you don't mess it up
5. Fill in the rest of that half of your face with black face paint until solid color
6. Take the white paint crayon and make the triangular teeth inside the mouth under the red gum line
7. Take the black crayon and fill in the rest of the mouth around the teeth and gums
8. Take black eyeliner pencil or sharpee (what I did) and outline the gums and teeth
9. Touch up gums and teeth as needed
10. Apply your black eyeliner and mascara as desired to your regular (not white) eye
11. Take black face paint and crayon to make the squiggles coming from the black half of your face, taking over the other side
12. Apply your lipstick
13. Touch up anything not solid and go!



And for this year's costume... (drum roll, please.)



Coraline!
 

Supplies:
- Black eyeliner for freckles
- Yellow rain boots (Amazon.com for the win)
- Orange and pink or lighter orange striped shirt (mine is from Aeropostale)
- Blue bob wig with bangs pinned back
- Dragonfly pink & blue hair clip
- Jeans
- Blue and orange striped socks
- Optional: Button Skeleton Key and Triangle Seeing Stone accessories (Etsy, baby!)



Wishing you all lots of treats, no tricks, and a safe Halloween pretending to be whatever character you mutate into for the night!



 












 

October 20, 2016

The days are cooling down and the nights are even colder. Autumn rain continues to drizzle down on the window panes this week, leaving most Hoosiers with an overwhelming feeling to light a candle, grab a blanket, and turn to those cozy comfort foods.

Soups, chili, and casseroles were too much of an easy go-to for me this week. I wanted to whip up a new dish to satisfy my savory tooth. A recipe with the Fall flavors I've been craving.

Zach bought me my cast iron skillet for Christmas last year, and even though I don't use it as often as I should, I adore it. I pulled it out of the cabinet and stared at it for a moment. Aha! Sweet potatoes! Better yet, sweet potato fries!

Sweet potatoes are all the Fall rage. Something in the sweetness and how filling the starch is, especially fried or roasted, hits all the Autumn flavor check boxes. Plus, fitness freaks like myself know sweet potatoes are a fabulous healthy carb choice.

Your kitchen is about to smell delicious. No need for a pumpkin or apple candle to cover up the dinner prep stank tonight. And, look how lovely those colors are when the ingredients are all cooked. It matches the stunning leaves of the season. I also think this meal pairs quite well with a classic horror film, but that's merely my own opinion :)


 

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:
- 1 large sweet potato

- 2 C kale

- 1/2 C black beans

- 1/3 C cooked chicken

- 1 avocado
- 1/4 C feta

- 1/4 C shredded mozzarella cheese
- Olive oil

- 1 T lime juice

Spices

- 1 T cumin

- 1 T chili powder

- 1 T garlic powder
- 1 T curry powder
- 1/2 T onion powder

- 1/2 cilantro

- 1/2 T salt and/or pepper

Directions:

1. Layer 1/4 inch of olive oil in skillet on stove

2. Slice sweet potato lengthwise & place in skillet

3. Add lime juice, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, curry powder and stir

4. Add onion powder, cilantro, salt/pepper and stir

5. Cook on stove high setting for 8-10 min, flipping sweet potatoes periodically

6. Turn down stove to medium heat

7. Add kale, black beans, cooked (diced or shredded) chicken and avocado

8. Stir & let sit a couple minutes

9. Turn down stove to low

10. Add feta & shredded mozzarella cheese

11. Mix & serve warm

October 13, 2016

To do list:

  • Clean house

  • Read new book

  • Pick up gift for friend

  • Grocery

  • Make cake and salad ahead of time

  • Lunch date 11:30am

  • Drop off dish at Mom’s

  • Call restaurant for date night tomorrow

  • Paint nails

  • Set table

  • Start dinner at 4:30
     

Lists are papery tools inked in magic or technological bullet typed miracle workers. But, I know my lists are getting too meticulous when I start jotting my down time activities. A tool that’s supposed to keep me organized becomes out. of. control.
 

We go through life doing what we think we are expected to, and what we truly enjoy doing becomes not good enough or too immature or crammed between the lists of more important to-dos.
 

I grew up a little too fast emotionally as a defense mechanism and partially by my own fault. I was raised seeing my own female relatives hosting parties and dinners and socializing to their heart’s content. I assumed being able to balance work and love and throwing killer events on top of that was what it meant to be an adult. And, I wanted that successful lifestyle.
 

Then, I wore myself out.
 

In-between falling asleep at 10:30 on a Friday and the last 3-course dinner I put on, I freaked out. I’m only 24 (almost 25) and I felt like I was living a 35-40 year old’s life because of all these lifestyle expectations. The kicker was, that the lists of things to-do weighing down my shoulders were all created by me, myself, and I. No one else expected me to check off these “adult” practices and routines.


I over complicated 99% of my life. I forgot what actually made me happy in life while I planned and scheduled activities I thought I should be doing. And then I thought, “Who says?”
 

I live in a generation with probably the least amount of lifestyle expectations and formulas that you are required to follow than my older relatives. Your life is your own. We have a long way to go as humans, but personal decisions and ways of life are slowly becoming more and more accepted.
 

So why am I sitting here stressing over the next time I should host a formal dinner or if I should wear that crop top or if I should go grab one drink on a Thursday night instead of getting to bed at 10pm?! No one cares but me! No one is making me “old” except me!
 

And, since when did needing overly planned evenings or scheduling time to do basic activities like read ever make me happy?
 

I don’t need an elaborate dinner that stresses me out to see friends or family. I don’t need to schedule time to relax or take a walk with my mom or invite my friends over for a drink. My calendar does not need to be filled with my every waking move. That does not make me happy. That makes me miserably organized.
 

The little moments like hugs or handwritten letters matter the most to me. Grabbing a coffee & taking a stroll outside or visiting a local art gallery soothes my soul. Spontaneous hang-outs with friends keeps sane… and acting my appropriate age. All I need is a crockpot, drinks, & a couple of close friends sitting on my floor, goofing off.
 

It astounds me how when we get older and the responsibilities add up, that we genuinely forget what we actually enjoy doing and what makes us truly happy as we jot down more notes on our to-do list.

I have landed in the career I want. I have a cozy, lovely home. I have a supportive and caring fiancé (and furbaby) and friends. The only checkbox I’m missing on my to-do list is taking care of me by doing what I love to do in life.
 

I’m relearning how to enjoy the little things in my life that really make me happy. Turns out, most of the little pieces of life I love the most don’t cost much money either. Success and happiness are not monetary goals. Funny how that works.
 

This weekend, I’m going to probably grab a Starbucks and walk around my city, finish “The Haunting of Hill House”, invite my ladies over for a glass (or two) of wine, wear a crop top with a skater skirt and knee highs, and kiss my fiancé endlessly. Or, I might do none of these things (beside the last point.) Who knows… I’m not planning anything. :) 



 

October 3, 2016

Fall parties, bonfires, and cookouts are lacking without this mini dessert. Every time I've made them, guests are stumped by the secret to these cute morsels. 

These surprisingly simple acorn bites are one of my top items to bring to an Autumn pitch-in for taste and presentation. Plus, kids can't get enough of them either!

The grocery list and prep take so little time, it's impossible not to be impressed. No need to fuss over baking or refrigerating desserts overnight. Set-up a miniature assembly line and these guys will be ready in no time.

I recently made Jewish Apple Cake for my family's Rosh Hashana dinner. (Apple lovers, check it out on my Pinterest!) While delicious, it does not compare to the adorableness or easiness of the acorn mini dessert. A taste of Fall for all your guests who love the season, but may not love the regular pumpkin or apple flavors!

Serves: 20-25
 

Ingredients:

- 1, 15oz package of donut holes 

- Container of chocolate icing

- Large container of chocolate sprinkles (so you can dip donuts holes in it)

- Thin pretzel sticks
 

Directions:

1. Use a knife to spread chocolate icing on the top 1/3 of the donut hole

2. Dip the icing top of the donut hole in the sprinkles

3. Finish with a thin pretzel stick in the top for the stem

September 27, 2016

Dress: H&M

Scarf: H&M

Jacket: Target

Shoes: Payless

If you don't love stripes, I don't understand you. I have to forcibly prevent myself from buying more striped clothing all the time. They are easy to dress up, down, or make yourself feel like a carousel goth queen.

In an everyday outfit, I think stripes look amazing with a pop of color. Whether it's a scarf, lipstick, hat, or tights, the color adds more of your style to the stripe and accentuates the pattern.

Stripes are sleek. They are timeless. While I equally love its sister, polka dot, there's something about stripes that seem more chic. Like the cute girl next door who will also beat your ass in a game of wits.

IT'S OFFICIALLY FALL & even a little chilly outside in Indy, so best believe I've got my stripes & black tights on.



 

September 9, 2016

Picked up my first PSL of the season today before work. This magical event of Autumn bliss can only mean one thing... Time for all the Pumpkin related recipes! 

Kickin' the celebration off with a classic. Save some money this Fall. (Sorry, Starbucks). I perfected this recipe in college, and it never serves me wrong when I'm craving that #basicbitch seasonal fave.
 

You can store the mix in the fridge if you don't use it all on the first round. Not all taste preferences adore THAT much pumpkin, but want a little taste.

For those "Autumn is for apples, too!" people, I promise I won't forget about the sweet, versatile orchard fruit amid all my pumpkin posts. Oh heavenly Fall, why can't you last forever?


Serves: 2

Ingredients:
- 1 pot of coffee (or two Keurig cups at the Tumbler size setting)
- 1/2 C milk
- 1/2 C almond milk (regular milk works, too)
- 2 T canned pure pumpkin
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- Can also add pinch of favorite spices like nutmeg and cinnamon (my favorite) to taste.

Directions:
1. Brew one pot of strong coffee
2. Mix all of the other ingredients together in a separate bowl
3. Split mixed ingredients from bowl between 2 mugs
4. Add coffee and sugar to taste and mix

September 4, 2016

Zach and I headed out for the long weekend to camp at Clifty Falls. Time to turn off the cell phones, lose ourselves (figuratively) in the woods hiking, and cozy up in our tent under the stars.

I thought I would share a cuddle-worthy DIY post so you can start getting cozy this weekend, too! If you are a blanket person like me who loves to snuggle under knit cotton or wool, you need a place to store all of your fluffy treasures.

When we first moved into our new home together, we originally wanted an antique trunk coffee table. The movie style U-shaped couch we bought didn't leave quite enough room for one. But, I still wanted the look of an antique trunk in our living room.
 

I was lucky enough to have a friend give me this authentic trunk for a great price. The top is rounded, and therefore not capable of being a coffee table. (Unless you want all of your drinks to fall and spill on the floor.) But, I like useful pieces in a home, so I needed to find a way to utilize this piece that takes up a decent sized corner space.
 

In my childhood home, we had a custom wood built-in made in one corner of our living room for blankets and our Barbie and Toy Story sleeping bags. I thought the trunk would be perfect storage for my large collection of thick blankets, which had no where to go.
 

Since the trunk is an antique, it has splinter spots and smelled a little musty. I needed to make sure the blankets would not get wood chips stuck in them to stab us while cozying up, and that they wouldn't smell like they'd been in a moldy attic for decades either.
 

Stapling in some new fabric was the best solution. And it only took me about an hour or so! I also stuck in some dryer sheets underneath the fabric to improve the smell of the old, beautiful trunk when it was shut, so my blankets would stay fresh. It's the perfect home for our blankets, which we can grab at a moments notice for popcorn and movie nights-in.

Supplies:
- Antique trunk
- Appropriate length of fabric (measure)
- Staple gun
- Staples

Directions:
1. Make sure to measure for fabric, as I ended up using two separate pieces
2. Place one length of fabric across the back of the bottom half

3. Fold the top of the fabric over about 1 inch so the top edge will look clean

4. If you want to be fancy, you can staple underneath the fold so you can't see them at all, but i lazily stapled on top of the fabric fold

5. Start stapling at a top corner to secure it
6. Staple along all the top edges about 1 cm apart
7. Fold the fabric that hits the corners of the trunk in for a clean edge and staple down the sides of them
8. Repeat Step 3-7 on the bottom edges
9. Repeat Steps 2-8 with other fabric starting at the inside front of the trunk until inside is fully lined

10. If you used two pieces of fabric, make sure the middle where they meet at bottom of trunk is stapled and secure.


 

August 24, 2016

Oatmeal; what can't it do? I love these little guys because once they are made, you can freeze them in a plastic baggy. Then, whenever you are grabbing breakfast on-the-go, you can heat this up in the microwave and run! 


Muffins are one of my breakfast weaknesses. These Oatmeal Cups put the health in and the guess work out of your "bakery" morning indulgences. Enjoy one with fruit for a snack, and it will satisfy that sweet tooth as well.

The wind feels a little more brisk these days, and my heart is reaching for Fall. The vanilla and cinnamon touch to these makes for a delicious food transition to Autumn pumpkin and apple delicacies.

Keep a look out for the Fall Pumpkin version of this recipe within the coming months!


Serves: 12

Ingredients:
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 C applesauce
- 1 banana, mashed
- 1/4C honey
- 2 1/2C, Old Fashioned rolled oats
- 1T ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4C milk

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix eggs, vanilla, applesauce, banana and honey in bowl.
3. Add in oats, cinnamon, baking powder, salt.
4. Add milk slowly
5. Pour 1/4 C of the mixture in each of the greased muffin cups (liners are okay)
6. Bake 30 min
7. Add toppings, such as raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries

 

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