Friday, May 19, 2017

Lemon Bars // Yellow {A Year of Color #5}

Lemon Bars // Yellow {A Year of Color #5}
It's Year of Color time! Yellow is one of my happy colors so I have been looking forward to this. But then go time arrived and my mind was blank (I totally and vehemently blame pregnancy brain for this predicament.) Then my lovely friend Kelly had us over at her house (full disclosure, I invited myself and the girls over, it was that kind of day) and her husband graciously gave me a sack full of the prettiest and most fragrant lemons from their tree. And as the saying goes, when life hands you lemons, make lemon bars! This is one of my favorite Family recipes, Montecito Lemon Bars.
Lemon Bars // Yellow {A Year of Color #5}
This recipe is from my Gramma (and I believe she got it from a close family friend) I actually made these for my first work meeting at Gap when I was 19 years old and let me tell you, I was very popular. I am not above bribing or swaying people with food. It always works ;)

These babies are not overly tart or sweet but have a nice lemon flavor (the grated rind really adds a nice kick) and smell so good.

Crust
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup flour

Cream butter and sugar, add flour. Press into a 9 inch square pan, brown in oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Filling
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
2 Tablespoon lemon juice
grated lemon peel
2 eggs, beaten

Powdered sugar for dusting

Sift together sugar, flour and baking powder. Add lemon juice and grated peel. Add eggs. Pour over crust and bake additional 25 minutes. Cool and dust with powdered sugar. Cut into squares. Enjoy!
Lemon Bars // Yellow {A Year of Color #5}

Now it's your turn! Add your link below. Thank you for joining DesireeJustineStefanie and me for A Year of Color! Next month's color is purple 
and the link up will be on Friday, June 16th!


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Lemon Bars // Yellow {A Year of Color #5}

Monday, May 15, 2017

Tiny Letters // May

It's been a few months since I last joined Kristin for her Little Letters link up, feels good to be back! But of course I have everything ready to go on Friday and forget to publish. Sigh.
Tiny Letters // May

Dear Podcast App,
I know we just got acquainted two days ago but I can already tell this is the start of a beautiful relationship. You've added joy to my work commute and for that alone I am thankful.
Now spam me with your favorite podcasts. Please and thank you.

Currently queued:
The Parent Normal
The Popcast (thank you, Kristin!)

Dear Kinsey & Brielana,
We are thisclose to summer vacation and I can taste it! Thank you for making this year back at work not feel like a struggle, you are angels. And with that said lets make this the best summer ever! 

Dear Students,
It's not you, it's me. I'm already in summer vacation mode so forgive my vacant stare and slow responses. I promise these last two weeks together will be fun!

Dear Self,
I have to keep reminding myself to be kind and gentle on you. You are in the throes of growing a life and sustaining your own and it's marvelous, sorry for being hard on you.

Dear Baby Brother,
Only 17 more weeks until your arrival! We're all so very excited to meet you! What will you look like? Or should I say, who will you look like? Just know you are loved and that two big sisters are anxiously waiting to cuddle you.

Dear Starbucks Happy Hour,
I'm a week late but now that I know you're happening I feel like making up for lost time. Starting with the S'mores frapp. Naturally.

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Tiny Letters // May

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Stitch Fix #3 {Maternity} + $150 Mother's Day giveaway

Stitch Fix #3 {Maternity} + $150 Mother's Day giveaway
Hey hey! I've been looking forward to getting a Maternity Fix since I found out I was expecting, and let me tell you, waiting for the belly to pop was like a test of patience ;) But I'm pretty sure the wait was worth it because I got a box full of goodies and a fun giveaway (and if you're being impatient, you can totally scroll to the bottom and enter, I won't hold it against you.)

So, I requested Madison since she did such a stellar job back in February but she was unavailable and Blake subbed for her. Well now I got two stylists I can choose from so I'm sitting pretty over here!

I requested a pair of distressed boyfriend jeans, an embroidered top, something in blush and a Maxi dress. Check, check and check! Lets see what I got.

Alice Blue Jolanda Embroidered Tunic | $58 {small}

Stitch Fix #3 {Maternity} + $150 Mother's Day giveaway
I absolutely adore this top. Bonus that it is non-maternity so I can still wear it without feeling awkward after baby. I have already worn this for Cinco de Mayo and have it slated for 4th of July, ha! Kept.
Stitch Fix #3 {Maternity} + $150 Mother's Day giveaway
I wanted to love these maternity jeans because they are exactly what I asked for but the cropped hem just didn't do it for me. Looking at the pictures it looks better than it felt and you know I'm all about comfort. Plus the full panel hit mid bump and was really tight, another negative. Returned. 

Liverpool Maternity Kona Distressed crop Boyfriend jeans | $78 {size 6}
Stitch Fix #3 {Maternity} + $150 Mother's Day giveaway
This top was such a beautiful color! And the tassels were adorable. But I don't wear tank tops and on the top was short and the buttons were starting to gap. Kinsey really liked this top but it just didn't make the cut. Returned. 

Daniel Rainn Maternity Ruffle detail blouse | $64 {small}
Stitch Fix #3 {Maternity} + $150 Mother's Day giveaway
Stitch Fix #3 {Maternity} + $150 Mother's Day giveaway
These TOMS booties were the surprise item in this box. I love the TOMS brand but lets be real, these do not go with my mommy/preschool teacher lifestyle. They were however very comfortable for a stacked heel and oh so soft. Returned.
Stitch Fix #3 {Maternity} + $150 Mother's Day giveaway
TOMS Majorca perforated peep toe booties | $98 {size 8}
Stitch Fix #3 {Maternity} + $150 Mother's Day giveaway
Gilli Ryland 2fer Maxi Dress | $78 {small}
Stitch Fix #3 {Maternity} + $150 Mother's Day giveaway
Stitch Fix #3 {Maternity} + $150 Mother's Day giveaway
And this gorgeous maxi dress. Look familiar? Haha. This is how I know Blake is a keeper, she picked out something for me that I basically already own. So needless to say, I didn't keep it but bonus for being nursing friendly. Returned.
Stitch Fix #3 {Maternity} + $150 Mother's Day giveaway

And now you're in for a treat! I've teamed up with some fabulous ladies to give one reader a $150 Stitch Fix gift card! Use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Giveaway runs from Tuesday, May 9th through Monday, May 15th and ends at 12AM PST. Winner will be announced that day via email. All entries will be confirmed. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This Mother's Day giveaway is hosted by:
Courtney // A + Life
Desiree // Macke Monologues
Elizabeth // Chasin' Mason
Emily // Emily Enchanted
Kerry // XO Kerry
Kristin // Taz & Belly
Whitney // Work it Mommy
So go check out what these ladies received in their Fixes! I know I've pinned a few goodies myself :)
Stitch Fix #3 {Maternity} + $150 Mother's Day giveaway

And just in case you need a quick rundown on the Stitch Fix service; you set up a free style profile which is quick and fun and decide how often you want a Fix to arrive at your door. There is a $20 styling fee that you can use towards any item you decide to keep from the box of 5 items. If you decide to keep everything you get an additional 25% off. If you want to use my referral code you would give me a little credit, thank you! 

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

What We're Reading #5

This month has been another productive reading month! I guess when you have good titles you just breeze through the pages.
What We're Reading #5
Non Fiction Reads
Seabiscuit by Laura Hildenbrand

Goodread Synopsis:
Seabiscuit was one of the most electrifying and popular attractions in sports history and the single biggest newsmaker in the world in 1938, receiving more coverage than FDR, Hitler, or Mussolini. But his success was a surprise to the racing establishment, which had written off the crooked-legged racehorse with the sad tail. Three men changed Seabiscuit’s fortunes:

Charles Howard was a onetime bicycle repairman who introduced the automobile to the western United States and became an overnight millionaire. When he needed a trainer for his new racehorses, he hired Tom Smith, a mysterious mustang breaker from the Colorado plains. Smith urged Howard to buy Seabiscuit for a bargain-basement price, then hired as his jockey Red Pollard, a failed boxer who was blind in one eye, half-crippled, and prone to quoting passages from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Over four years, these unlikely partners survived a phenomenal run of bad fortune, conspiracy, and severe injury to transform Seabiscuit from a neurotic, pathologically indolent also-ran into an American sports icon. 

Author Laura Hillenbrand brilliantly re-creates a universal underdog story, one that proves life is a horse race.

Thoughts:
I'm not a big non fiction reader, I tend to get bored of the "dryness" that is a real account of a real event but Laura Hillenbrand sure made this an exciting read. Im also not an equestrian of any kind so I was relieved of Hillenbrand's layman's terms and explanations of the technical aspects of horse racing. And because I always read the book first Im now looking forward to seeing the movie (fun fact- a co-worker of mine was an extra on the set!)

Characters:
There were four major players and one was Seabiscuit himself. The human's were his owner, his trainer and his jockey. Each had a fascinating story and when they all came together, pure gold.

Stars:
5 out of 5. Yeah. Another great one.
Buy the book here/ movie here
What We're Reading #5
Fiction Reads
The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak

Goodreads Synopsis:
A dazzling debut novel—at once a charming romance and a moving coming-of-age story—about what happens when a fourteen-year old boy pretends to seduce a girl to steal a copy of Playboy but then discovers she is his computer-loving soulmate.

Billy Marvin’s first love was a computer. Then he met Mary Zelinsky.

Do you remember your first love?

The Impossible Fortress begins with a magazine…The year is 1987 and Playboy has just published scandalous photographs of Vanna White, from the popular TV game show Wheel of Fortune. For three teenage boys—Billy, Alf, and Clark—who are desperately uneducated in the ways of women, the magazine is somewhat of a Holy Grail: priceless beyond measure and impossible to attain. So, they hatch a plan to steal it.

The heist will be fraught with peril: a locked building, intrepid police officers, rusty fire escapes, leaps across rooftops, electronic alarm systems, and a hyperactive Shih Tzu named Arnold Schwarzenegger. Failed attempt after failed attempt leads them to a genius master plan—they’ll swipe the security code to Zelinsky’s convenience store by seducing the owner’s daughter, Mary Zelinsky. It becomes Billy’s mission to befriend her and get the information by any means necessary. But Mary isn’t your average teenage girl. She’s a computer loving, expert coder, already strides ahead of Billy in ability, with a wry sense of humor and a hidden, big heart. But what starts as a game to win Mary’s affection leaves Billy with a gut-wrenching choice: deceive the girl who may well be his first love or break a promise to his best friends.
 


Thoughts:
I'm an 80's baby so I loved the time period and all the references to the "good old days" ;) This is a coming of age story in the vein of a John Hughes brat pack movie (yes I compared a book to an unrelated movie but they're both set in the same era and it feels right.) And ironically, my little brother is a computer programmer, ha! This was also my first Book of the Month selection and it made me like the service even more. If you're interested in trying BOTM use my referral code and get in on the fun. 

Characters: 
Billy is the narrator and I really liked his awkwardness. I was totally an outsider in high school so it was easy to relate to him. His two best friends had just as many quirks so it was an entertaining trio. My heart just breaks for Mary, Billy's crush and fellow game programmer, and her dad. But for being a broken family, they are awesome.

Stars:
4 out of 5. Hoping John keeps on writing more 80's fiction for my enjoyment. Did I mention I finished this in a day?!
Buy here 

A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton

Goodreads Synopsis:
One unremarkable June morning, Alice Goodwin is, as usual, trying to keep in check both her temper and her tendency to blame herself for her family's shortcomings. When the Goodwin's took over the last dairy farm in the small Midwestern town of Prairie Center, they envisioned their home a self-made paradise. But these days, as Alice is all too aware, her elder daughter Emma is prone to inexplicable fits of rage, her husband Howard distrusts her maternal competence, and Prairie Center's tight-knit suburban community shows no signs of warming to "those hippies who think they can run a farm." 

A loner by nature, Alice is torn between a yearning for solitude coupled with a deep need to be at the center of a perfect family. On this particular day, Emma has started the morning with a violent tantrum, her little sister Claire is eating pennies, and it is Alice's turn to watch her neighbor's two small girls as well as her own. She absentmindedly steals a minute alone that quickly becomes ten: time enough for a devastating accident to occur. Her neighbor's daughter Lizzy drowns in the farm's pond, and Alice - whose own volatility and unmasked directness keep her on the outskirts of acceptance - becomes the perfect scapegoat. At the same time, a seemingly trivial incident from Alice's past resurfaces and takes on gigantic proportions, leading the Goodwins far from Lizzy's death into a maze of guilt and doubt culminating in a harrowing court trial and the family's shattering downfall.


Thoughts: This book came highly recommended from Desiree so I was anxious to begin. Let me say it starts off with $h!t getting real and never lets up. It is so beautifully detailed it is almost poetic. Jane Hamilton is my kind of writer. I'm only halfway through because it is super deep and emotionally charged that I have to take mini breaks between sessions. 

Characters:
This book centers on the Goodwin family; Howard a dairy farmer, Alice a part time school nurse, parents  to daughters Ella and Claire. One summer of their life is our time frame and all they experience within those few, harrowing months. It's both heartbreaking and surreal but all too real.

Stars:
I'm not sure yet but because of Hamilton's writing style alone I'm hovering at 4 out of 5 stars.
Buy here
What We're Reading #5
Now it's your turn! Add your book-related link below. Thanks for joining StephanieKeriWhitneyJustineCrystalJohannahHeather and me for What We're Reading Wednesday on the first Wednesday of every month! This will be my last month hosting this link up but I will continue with the book reviews! 


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What We're Reading #5

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