Weekly Eats: Sugar and Spice and a Linkup

Just as I love contrast when it comes to style, I'm also a fan of contrasting flavors. When a spicy dish is balanced with a hint of sweetness (or vice versa), I'm in flavor heaven. This week's meals all had a little bit of sweet and a little bit (or more) of spice.

Clockwise from top right: 

1. Jalapeno Popper Chicken Soup with Bacon from Cinnamon-Spice and Everything Nice. My friends, if you love yourselves, if you love the ones you cook for, I implore you, make this soup! It was divine; warm, comforting, spicy, creamy...downright indulgent. The soup base starts similarly to a chicken tortilla soup: onions, peppers (I cut back a little and only used 2 jalapenos), chicken, tomatoes, corn. However, there are a few twists: the addition of cannellini beans, which was unexpected yet delicious, sour cream (drooling yet?), and bacon and cheese for topping. I want to make this again tomorrow. 

2. Roasted Maple Glazed Pork Tenderloin from Mel's Kitchen Cafe and Spicy Roasted Squash with Feta and Herbs from How Sweet it is. The main reason I'm sharing this not-cute dinner with you is the squash. The pork had good flavor, but it was a mess to make (molasses, I'm looking at you) and it just wasn't our favorite pork tenderloin recipe ever. (And we're becoming quite the pork tenderloin connoisseurs around here!) But can I tell you about this squash? I've never had acorn squash before, but it was delightful. I loved the combination of the spicy-sweet squash (next time I'd use more chili sauce) with the cool, fresh feta cheese. Even though I left it in the oven too long and neither one of us liked the skin, Aaron and I were both pleasantly surprised by how much we liked this side dish. 

3. Korean Beef and Rice from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. Mel, you had me at "simple, 20 minute meal". This really was quick and easy, and it had great flavor--a little sweet, a little salty, a little spicy. I used ground turkey instead of ground beef, and I added some roasted broccoli (tossed in sesame seeds, sesame oil, and soy sauce) on top of mine. Yum! 

From the archives:

Leather-trim Dress, Dressed Down

I found this dress when I was out shopping with my mom when she came to visit after Christmas. I fell in love with it instantly, but I wasn't quite sure how I would wear it. The black leather trim makes it difficult to pair with other neutrals besides black, and the thick fabric makes it a challenge to layer. Last time, I kept it simple with black tights and pink heels.

This time, I wanted to give it a more casual vibe, so I added my (resurrected) denim jacket, a belt, and ankle boots. I still feel polished and professional, but a little more relaxed.

How do you make a dress feel more casual? 

Jean jacket: Gap / gray dress: Loft / leopard belt: Gap Outlet / taupe ankle boots: Crown Vintage via DSW

Linking to Thursday Favorites, What I Wore to Work, and PMT Style Challenge

What I Read: February

I read three books this month, and I'm happy to report that I loved each and every one of them. (And woohoo, I accomplished my goal!)

This month I read:

We are Called to Rise by Laura McBride. I love a story with multiple narrators when it's written well. In this case, it's done beautifully. Set in Las Vegas, the cast of characters include a young immigrant boy whose family is barely scraping by; an injured soldier struggling with memory loss, pain and depression; a middle-aged woman whose husband recently confessed his infidelity; and a CASA volunteer trying not to get too involved with the children she advocates for. Although they are worlds apart, their lives intersect on one fateful, heart-breaking day. My only complaint about this book is the ending. I felt like the writer was ready for the story to end, so she just bundled it up and tied it in a bow, and that was that. It felt abrupt and a little unrealistic, which felt like quite a departure from the rest of the story. If you read this book (which I still recommend!) I'd love to hear your thoughts on the ending.

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. This book, although narrated from the worst of circumstances (the death of a father, the dissolution of a marriage), was a joy to read. Judd Foxman loses his father, whose dying request was for his entire family to sit Shiva all together, for the duration of the 7 day mourning period. This goes about as well as you can imagine for a dysfunctional family who tries to spend as little time together as possible. On top of that, Judd's wife, whom he recently discovered in the act of adultery with his boss, told him that she's pregnant. With Judd's baby. I thought this book was hilarious. I made the mistake of reading several Goodreads reviews right after I finished it, and was surprised at how many people found it terrible and misogynistic. I disagree; I thought it was well-written and funny.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. I felt like the whole Internet was telling me to read Rainbow Rowell lately. Alright already, Internet! I read Eleanor and Park in a matter of days. Maybe because it was a YA novel, but mostly because I didn't want to stop. I loved these two misfits and how they found each other in the drama-filled, judgy world that is high school. I loved Eleanor and her bravery to be herself despite her terrible home life. I loved Park and how his personality came to life as his relationship with Eleanor deepened. So Internet, thank you. I think there will be more Rainbow Rowell in my future.

I recently learned that February is Love Your Library month (thanks Bob at Webucator!). All three of these books were checked out from my local library, and I'm a frequent library user and supporter. Libraries have SO much to offer, and their resources go beyond books. I can't recommend enough taking the time to familiarize yourself with your local library and all it has to offer!

How about you, read anything good lately? 

From the archives:

Winter Capsule Roundup: Favorite February Combos

If there has to be a month that's shorter than all the others, I'm sure glad it's February. While I have nothing against the month, when it's over it means we're one step closer to spring. This month, the weather was a little bit all over the place, which is pretty typical for February in Kansas. I had a few favorite go-to combinations to get me through the roller coaster of temperatures.

{one} dressed up cords. I'm so glad I included two pairs of cords in my winter capsule. I wear both pairs constantly, and I love how perfect they are to dress up with heels or a blazer. They can easily be super casual, but I have fun snazzing them up a bit.

{ 1 / 2 }

{two} cozy layered sweaters. This is kind of a no-brainer, I mean, sweaters were made for winter, right? These two in particular though are so thick and warm and ready to be layered up. In fact, I call these are my no-space-heater-needed sweaters. 

{ 1 / 2 / 3 }

{three} add a vest. Apparently, this month it's add a vest, a polka dot chambray, and boots. I talk a lot about dressing in formulas over here, and clearly the vest + button-up + boots combo is one that I've been putting to work. 

{ 1 / 2 }

What have been your go-to looks this month? 

I'm joining the Capsule Wardrobe Showcase linkup at In Residence and Just Jacq. Check it out for lots of winter capsule inspiration! 

From the archives: 

Bringing Boot-Cut Back

I am a devoted denim-lover. I adore my jeans, and I can't imagine my wardrobe without the perfect pair (or three). I was surprised when I did a little "capsule inventory" to discover that once again, my bootcut jeans were one of my least-worn items. I wear my dark wash skinny jeans like crazy, and if they're in the wash my trusty back-up pair are my straight leg jeans. There was a time in my life when all I wore were boot-cut jeans, and I remember buying my first pair of skinnies, thinking "I don't know about this..." At the time I never imagined that they would become an irreplaceable closet staple.

In the spirit of shaking things up a little (and with inspiration from the Two Birds gals), I resurrected my boot-cuts from the back of the jeans drawer. With a leopard print blouse, gray moto jacket and boots, they're perfect for casual Friday. To make this look more date-night worthy, all I need to do is add my favorite statement necklace and a pair of heels.

What's your go-to jeans style? 

Gray moto jacket: Loft / leopard blouse: Loft / boot-cut jeans: Gap / boots: Crown Vintage via DSW

Linking to Inspiration Monday and Mix it Monday.

From the archives:

Weekly Eats: Oven Lovin'

With the exception of one meal this week (the fish taco bowls), these dinners are courtesy of a very hard-working kitchen appliance: the oven. It's nice to be able to get the dishes cleaned up and the table set while dinner is cooking away in the oven. Even better, it's nice to have a few moments to relax before the dinner-clean-up-bath-time-bedtime frenzy begins. Thanks for doing what you do, oven! I really will try to clean you more.

Clockwise from top left: 

1. Fish Taco Bowls from The Live-in Kitchen. This is a recipe that Anne recommended, and she said it was a favorite at her house. I make a lot of similar Tex-Mex style rice bowls and they're always a hit. This one, with spicy seared fish (I used tilapia), was no exception. I love how adaptable these types of recipes are; it's so easy to change-up based on what's in the fridge or what your favorite things are. We'll be making these again for sure! 

2. Mini Pizza Pockets from Six Sisters Stuff. You know me and my never-ending search for more ways to combine bread, cheese, and pepperoni. This recipe is a keeper, not only because it was cheap, easy, and good, but also because Jona liked it too. Cue the angel choirs. I'm thinking next time I try this one I might just have to hide some veggies in these pockets (or at the very least puree some carrots into the tomato sauce). 

3. Gluten Free Breakfast Casserole from Iowa Girl Eats. I'm always pumped to have breakfast for dinner. I love breakfast...savory, sweet, it's all good. This casserole, which combines hash brown potatoes, sausage, eggs and cheese was so simple to make. It was a plate-full of some of my favorite breakfast fixings, all rolled into one. 

4. Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs in Tomato Cream Sauce from Annie's Eats. In my opinion, nothing says "I love you" like meatballs. I don't know what it is, but to me meatballs have become one of the ultimate comfort foods. These, which I made with ground turkey, were moist, flavorful, and just about melted in my mouth. Oh, and then they're covered in delicious melted mozzarella and nestled in tomato cream sauce. Swoon. 

What are you having for dinner tonight? 

Have you made anything yummy lately? I'm going to do another Weekly Eats linkup on Friday, February 27. I'd love it if you shared your kitchen creations!  

From the archives:

Pinterest-Inspired Budget Scrapbooking

After I failed miserably at keeping a baby book up to date during Jona's first year, one of my goals for this year is to make a Jona-scrapbook and update it every month. In January I went to a craft store to get started. I picked up a Project Life notebook and wandered the scrapbooking aisles feeling overwhelmed and wondering why everything scrapbook-related is so dang expensive. I left the store with only the notebook and filler sheets, but decided that was all I needed.

I remembered that Megan at Ginger Snaps wrote a great post on scrapbooking on a budget, and her tips were so helpful in getting started. I used PicMonkey to size my photos to fit the sleeves, and I used paper and supplies that I already had at home. While there are a few things I'd like to buy to make my album even better, like letter stamps and some more printed paper, I think I'm off to a pretty good start. The most important part is that I'm actually printing these pictures and putting them together, rather than just leaving them to sit on my phone or computer forever.

3 Budget Scrapbook Tips: 

1. Use PicMonkey to edit, resize, and print your photos (for free!). 

2. Use a mix of inexpensive supplies and items you already have. The printed paper and stickers I used were both things I already had left over from other crafts. 

3. Keep it simple. Remember this is mostly about the photos, so don't feel the need to add too many other things to your pages. 

Do you like to make scrapbooks? Do you have any tips? 

I'm linking up to In Residence for Pin to Present. Be sure to check it out to see what other bloggers have been pinning and making lately! 

Currently: Jona at 18 Months Edition

Hi, Shea Lennon readers, Jona here. My mom is always doing these "Currently" posts, and I told her that it was about time for me to write one. You know, since my life is pretty dang exciting. So anyway, I'm practically grown up and college-bound now that I'm 18 months old. Here's what I'm currently doing.

Reading: The Little Blue Truck. That book is my jam. Sometimes my mom tries to read me other books, like Chicka Chicka Boom Boom or Mr. Brown Can Moo. Occasionally I'll indulge her, but if I don't get to read about that blue truck at least 5 times a day, the world may as well be ending. Beep beep!

Eating: predictable foods in predictable shapes. My mom is driving me crazy with these dinner games she's been playing. The other day she tried to give me what she said was a quesadilla, but it was rolled up and all funny-looking. I heard her and daddy say they were taquitos. Well you know what's NOT the same as a quesadilla? A taquito. You're fooling no one, mom.

Singing: all the songs. Singing is the best; I try to sing as much as possible. My favorite songs to sing are Baa Baa Black Sheep, Skin-a-marinky-dinky-dink, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and the A B Cs. I also like to turn on all my toys that play songs and sing along. It's even better when I turn on multiple singing toys at once, they all make beautiful music together!

Wearing: button-ups, jeans, and sneakers like a boss. Style bloggers, you better watch out because I've got style for days.

Perfecting: the art of the grab-and-run. My parents think they're putting things out of my reach when they put them on top of tables and counter-tops, but newsflash, I'm a growing boy. My favorite things to grab are remote controls, glasses, phones, and anything in a pile (of course I grab the bottom-most thing). Sometimes I like to grab books of the shelf, plunk myself down on the floor, and just read. Even when the light is off. You gotta do what you gotta do.

Okay, gotta run. My mom just turned on Caillou! Peace out, dudes. 

From the archives: 

Polka Dots, Layers, and Red (Oh My!)

Generally speaking, I'm drawn to looks that are simple, understated, and that maybe have one loud color or bold accent. Today's look, however, has multiple layers, patterns, textures AND a bold color. Wow, things just got a little crazy around here. Initially, I thought it may be too much going on, but I think it all comes together for a bold, yet cohesive, look.

Would you describe your style as understated, or are you a "more is more" kind of gal? Or maybe a little bit of both?

Polka dot chambray: J.Crew Factory / navy puffer vest: Land's End / graphic tee: J.Crew Factory / red skirt: J.Crew / brown riding boots: Mia

Linking to "Polka Dotted" at the Creative Closet and All About You at Elegance and Mommyhood.

From the archives:

Winter Capsule Favorite: Desert Booties

Shoes are one of my favorite ways to inject a little fun into my wardrobe; a funky pair of shoes can change up an entire look. However, in the winter I feel like my shoe-game really plummets. The weather dictates my choices, and as a result I'm usually beyond sick of boots by the end of March. I relish in those days I can pull out the flats and mix things up (like on these days) but for the most part I live in boots and warm socks from November to April.

When I found these cute desert booties in December, I felt like I'd hit the holy grail of winter shoes. They're technically boots, so I can keep my cozy socks on, but they're as versatile as a pair of cute flats. (They also seem to have an affinity for plaid.)

Here's how I styled them for both work and the weekend. 

Gray cardigan: Loft / plaid dress: Gap / necklace: Etsy / desert booties: Crown Vintage via DSW

Plaid shirt: J.Crew / navy stripe top: Ann Taylor Factory / dark skinny jeans: Gap / necklace: Bauble Bar / desert booties: Crown Vintage via DSW

I've noticed that on a few of the food blogs I love, they'll add what they made on the same day 1 year ago, 2 years ago, or more. I love seeing that! So in the spirit of that, I thought I'd also add this to the bottom of my blog posts when I can. I've been blogging for going on 5 years now (!), and it's fun to look back at some of my old (and sometimes questionable/entertaining/poorly photographed) looks! 

Weekly Eats: Pretzel Heart Treats

Because it's Valentine's Day tomorrow, I thought I'd stray from my usual dinner recipes and share these heart-shaped pretzels I made for my boys. It has nothing to do with the fact that this week's meals were mediocre and the photos would make a food blogger cry. Nothing. 

I found the recipe at Say Yes, although I didn't use any red or pink salt. I just used regular sea salt on half of the pretzels. I left the other half unsalted, and have some butter, cinnamon, and sugar plans for them. Although the salted hearts would have been excellent with some warm cheese dip, they were also good on their own. I took a plate full to Jona's daycare so he could share with his friends.

In addition to sharing baked goods with the ones I love, I think Valentine's Day is also a great time to share with the community around you. One way I like to share is by participating in food drives and collections that my church puts together to give to those in need here in Kansas City. Another organization that's close to my heart is the Great Plains SPCA, a local no-kill animal shelter. As an adopted-dog mom, I can't say enough about how much I love my rescue-pup, Ellie. The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation is giving away a $250 Giving Card to be redeemed at any charity, and I'd love to win and share that money with the Great Plains SPCA. (Want to enter? Just go here and share the love to enter by tomorrow, February 14th.)

Have you made anything yummy lately? I'm going to do another Weekly Eats linkup on Friday, February 27. I'd love it if you shared your kitchen creations!  

Dressed for a Spring-Teaser

February is a dangerous time to already have spring thoughts. It's hard not to get confused though, meteorologically (don't try to shame me red squiggly line, I'll make up words when I want), when it goes from a cold, snowy 7 degrees one day, to a sunny 60 the next. But on those nice days, it's impossible not to start thinking about spring.

On those spring-teaser days, this is exactly the kind of outfit I wear. Happily I slip my feet into flats without socks and don a lightweight blazer as my only outerwear. It's nice to ditch the boots and heavy coat every once in a while. Chances are the break will be short-lived, and we'll be back to gray skies and below freezing temps tomorrow.

What do you wear for a surprise warm day? 

Camel blazer: Target / graphic tee: J.Crew Factory / blue cords: Gap / necklace: Bauble Bar / leopard flats: Dr. Scholl's

Linking to What I Wore to Work and Thursday Favorites

Blogging and Twitter: Love it or Leave it?

In a quest to better organize my social media presence, I've been having an internal debate about the merits of Twitter. I love Instagram, and you can find me pinning and perusing on Pinterest fairly often. However, Twitter seems to come and go in phases for me; I'll use it for a few days, then not again for months. Lately, I've considered getting rid of it all together.

Rather than continuing this "To tweet or not to tweet" conversation in my head, I thought I'd do a little crowd-sourcing to see your thoughts on the little blue bird of few words. Here's my current list of Twitter pros and cons.

To tweet: 

  1. Instant gratification. Often when you tweet a person or a brand, they respond back right away. To ask a simple question or to give a shoutout to someone who has done something notable, Twitter is the quickest, easiest way to go.
  2. Communication.  Although it's possible to have real-time conversations through blog comments and Instagram, Twitter takes the crown for best real-time conversation platform. I believe that's why there are Twitter Chats and not Instagram- or Pinterest- chats. 
  3. Sharing. Twitter may not be the only way to share a blog post, article, or video that you love, but I think it's by far the easiest and quickest. 

Not to tweet: 

  1. It's overwhelming. I can't scroll through Twitter like Instagram or Facebook. As soon as I read the newest tweet there are 3 more that have just posted. The constant need to refresh makes me crazy. Can't. Keep. Up. 
  2. It seems meaningless. This may sound a little harsh, but I feel like tweeting seems pretty pointless in the grand scheme of things. When I share a blog post or a photo on Instagram, I'm sharing a bit of myself, of my family, or even just my day, and it's there on display, at least for a little while. With twitter, I share something and if you don't catch it in one to three minutes it's as if I didn't share anything at all. Twitter = one big black hole. 
  3. It's not my go-to. When I first got into blogging, there was this sense of "must use all the social media!" that has turned into "just use a few, but be consistent". I like this direction, and it's pretty much been my excuse to not tweet ever. When I want to share something or connect with someone, Twitter just isn't the place I first go to. 
  4. 140 Character limit. You can see where I'd have problems with that.

What do you think; would you add to or elaborate on this list? Are you a Twitter user? How/when do you use it? 

Valentine's Day Inspired Red and Pink

I know there's been no talk of this on the internet whatsoever (har), but Valentine's Day is Saturday. Yes, it's a totally commercial holiday invented by card companies and yada yada yada, but I like Valentine's Day. (Also, I live in Kansas City, home of Hallmark, so there's that too.) I've always liked Valentine's Day, even during my single days. No, it's not like Christmas for me, and I don't need expensive gifts, flowers, and jewelry for the occasion. However, I do like the hearts, the chocolate, the pink, and the excuse to have a date night, or do something special for your significant other (or yourself! no shame there).

In honor of the occasion, I'm breaking out the red with the pink. I love that these two once-clashing colors can now be worn together without scorn. At least in the blog world. I may get some live scorners, but they'll likely be scorning silently. Meanwhile, I'll be here in my red and pink, eating some early Valentine's Day chocolate.

Do you like Valentine's Day? What are your plans this year? 

Gray t-shirt: Target / red cords: Gap / purple print scarf: Loft / pink heels: Nine West

Linking up to "Will You Be My Valentine?" at the Creative Closet and PMT Style Challenge

Double Denim: The Same, yet Different

Double denim is nothing new. It's not even old-then-new-again anymore. I think this trend has resurfaced for long enough that it's no longer even considered a trend; it's just another option for wearing denim. I've doubled up my denim enough times that I hesitated to even blog this look today. However, although the key pieces (chambray shirt and dark wash jeans) remain the same, they're so versatile that they continue to look fresh even in their repetition.

In my opinion, the key to making double denim look more polished is by tucking in my shirt and adding a belt. Since it's winter and I'm constantly cold, I'm adding my cozy gray cardigan for warmth, plus I think it adds interest to the look. To me, double denim is a great blank canvas, perfect for adding fun accessories and layers.

What's your favorite "trend" that's been around for a while? 

Gray cardigan: Loft / chambray shirt: Madewell / dark skinny jeans: Gap / leopard belt: Gap Outlet / taupe ankle boots: Crown Vintage via DSW

Here are a few other ways I've doubled-up my denim:

{ 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 }

Linking to Mix it Mondays and Inspiration Monday

Weekly Eats: In a Bowl or by the Slice

This was a week of easy, comforting meals. From a spicy, cheesy soup to homemade pizza, the dinners we ate this week were perfect for busy, cold winter nights.

Clockwise from top right: 

1. Cheesy Turkey Taco Chili Mac from Skinnytaste. This is a one-pot, chili meets pasta meets taco dish. It had great flavor, and the "chili" part was thickened with refried beans, which I thought was interesting. Aaron isn't a big bean-lover but even he liked it. 

2. Homemade pizza. Pizza is one of the few things Jona loves right now (big shocker, right?) so we have a lot of pizza nights around here. I rarely take the time to make my own dough, but there was a recipe in my Pioneer Woman cookbook that I wanted to try. (I used the same dough she uses for this recipe.) It was so simple, and so much cheaper than buying refrigerated dough or flatbread. Aaron and Jona both had pepperoni, but I topped mine with pesto, pork, grape tomatoes, and mozzarella. 

3. White Queso Chicken and Rice Soup from Iowa Girl Eats. I mentioned earlier this week that I've been on a soup kick lately, and here's another example. This soup was delicious; it was a little spicy, hearty from the chicken and rice, and a little indulgent with the melted cheese. Topped with some crunchy tortilla chips it was salsa and cheese dip all rolled into one. I used red bell pepper instead of green (I just like them better) and salsa instead of Rotel (that's what I already had) and it was fantastic. 

What's for dinner for you tonight? 

Navy Puffer Vest: Warmer-upper and Finishing Touch

This navy blue puffer vest was the last thing I added to my winter capsule. I hesitated because not only was it full price, I also had to pay shipping, and I have a hard time doing both of those things. The bargain shopper in me always wants a deal. However, I'm finding that the better I am about planning my wardrobe, the more use I get out of my clothes. This vest is no exception; it's the perfect layer to add a finishing touch to an outfit and also keep me toasty warm.

Anne recently did a great round-up of looks featuring a vest, and that's where I got my inspiration for this look. If you need more vest outfit ideas be sure to check it out!

What's the last thing you splurged on? 

Polka dot chambray: J.Crew Factory / navy puffer vest: Land's End / dark skinny jeans: Gap / necklace: Bauble Bar / brown riding boots: Mia

Linking to What I Wore to Work and Thursday Favorites

Currently: February

Does anyone else feel like January dragged on and on? Most of the time months seem to fly by, but that wasn't the case for January. The month of after-Christmas, of going back to work, of making lists and goals, of eating less... it's just not one that passes in the blink of an eye, at least I don't think so. So I'm feeling ready for February in all its short-month glory. At the very least, we're one month closer to spring.

Here's what I'm currently up to :

Hearting: My local blogging community. I feel very lucky that I live in an area with such an awesome group of bloggers. The KC Blogger Meetup group just put on an event last week at Roots and Branches Salon in Kansas City, and I had a great time reconnecting with bloggers I'd met before and meeting new friends as well.

Reading: This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. It's the story of Judd, whose father passes away and his dying wish is for his family to sit Shiva after his death. So Judd and his entire dysfunctional family are forced to spend seven days together in one house. That's bad enough, but Judd is newly single after catching his wife in bed with his boss, and on the day he learns of his father's death he also learns that she is pregnant. Good day for Judd. (I promise I'm not ruining anything here, I just started this book and learned all this at the beginning.) Despite the depressing circumstances, this book has made me laugh out loud several times; the writing is fantastic.

Pinning: decadent desserts. After all the baking and eating I did over the holidays, I didn't do quite as much indulging in January. But I feel as though my sweet tooth has had enough of a break, so I've been in the mood to do a little baking once again.

Eating: Soup. The weather has been a little all over the place, but even on the milder days I've craved soup lately. Some good ones that we've tried are sausage and potato soup, tomato basil soup with tortellini, and butternut squash soup with chickpeas. One soup that's on my to-make list is this slow cooker thai chicken soup from Foodie Crush.

Anticipating: Valentine's Day date night. This year Aaron and I decided that we need to make it a priority to have date night once a month. Life gets busy and we get into our routines, and it's not always easy to get out, you know? But once a month is definitely doable, and we really need that quality time with each other. Now I'm not one to make a big fuss of Valentine's Day, but I do like doing something special, even if it's just going out for dessert. I'm not sure yet what we'll do, but we already have the babysitters (aka grandpa and grandma) lined up.

What are you currently up to? 

Linking to Currently at In Residence and Dearest Love

Goals for February (and January Goal Review)

To hold myself accountable for my monthly goals, I'm going to start sharing them monthly here on the blog. I'll review the previous month's goals and what I accomplished, then share my list of current goals for the month. 

January Goals: 


1. Clear out file box. Our household files (bills, important paperwork, etc.) are located in our basement, so instead of filing everything right away, we put our papers in a box and then file every week month year. It was a big job (since we waited so long) but we got it done! 

2. Get 3-4 more plastic storage bins for basement. We had clothes that Jona had outgrown, toys that he had either outgrown or that we're rotating out, and baby feeding supplies (bottles, etc.) that needed to be packed up and put away. 

3. Buy and hang shelf in dining room. This one didn't get done simply because it got kicked out of the budget. We're working hard to save money this year, and this wasn't at the top of the list this month. I'm hoping to make it to Ikea next month and find an inexpensive option, so I can cross this off the list. 


1. Update blog pages. I've needed to do this for some time now; my About Me page and Daily Reads page were both very much in need of an update. 

2. Create a schedule/routine for Social Media. This seems simple enough, but I'm so erratic when it comes to posting and sharing on Instagram and Pinterest, and pretty much nonexistent when it comes to Twitter. 


1. Buy red lipstick. Done, as seen here. I've only worn it once, but I think I'll get braver and pull it out more often. I'd like it to become just another accessory option. 

2. Buy photo album and print monthly photos. I purchased a small Project Life notebook and just finished printing January's photos. The next step is put the photos IN the notebook. Post on that to come...

I think I did pretty good for my first month!

February Goals:


1. Buy and hang shelf (I like this one) for dining room.

2. Organize and clear out cabinet under kitchen sink. Total disaster area....


1. Order new blog business cards. My cards still have my old name (Bon Chic Bon Gastronomique) and url. These from Minted are cute.

2. Create a schedule/routine for social media.

Fun / Family: 

1. Fill album with January pictures and details, and print February's pictures at the end of the month.

2. Try a new recipe for Jona. I just checked out Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld and I'm hoping I can find a couple more sneaky veggie snacks to try.

3. Read more than two books. I mentioned last month that I didn't spend as much time reading as I'd like, so I hope to do more of that this month.

What are your goals for February? 

Cold-weather Layers: Sweater + Chambray

Goodbye fake-spring of January, it's been real! February's here with a reminder that it is indeed still winter. Friends in the Northeast, I know you didn't get a chance to forget that; I hope you've all stayed safe and warm!

Although I would happily take more non-winter days, I'm not upset about pulling out this thick, warm sweater again. I was glad to find this sweater at Gap; I knew I wanted one that would be nice and cozy, and with a little texture too. My favorite thing about it is the color: rich burgundy with a hint of plum. It's one of my favorite toppers for my current winter uniform of sweater + chambray + skinny pants/jeans.

Have you been piling on the layers lately too? 

Burgundy sweater: Gap / chambray shirt: Madewell / black pants: Old Navy / leopard flats: Dr. Scholl's

Here's proof of my addiction to the sweater/sweatshirt + chambray uniform:

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Linking to Mix it Mondays.