October 31, 2015

Chicken Tortilla Soup

With the weather finally getting cooler we can start bringing out the cold weather foods! The Mr. doesn't care much for soups so it's very rare that I come across a recipe that he enjoys. I few years ago I came across a delicious recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup. I've been making it ever since and have tweaked it just a tad to our liking.

It's perfect for the cooler temps, Mexican night or just  a quick weeknight meal.


the original recipe can be found here

Ingredients:

2  boxes of chicken broth [64 oz total]
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 Taco seasoning packet
1 small onion-chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can diced green chiles
shredded chicken, [rotisserie]

Directions:

Combine the chicken broth, cream of chicken soup and taco seasoning in a pot over medium heat. Whisk together. 

Add onion, tomatoes, beans, corn and chiles. Stir until blended. 

Shred the rotisserie chicken and add to the soup mixture. Stir. [You can most definitely make and shred your own chicken. I prefer rotisserie because of the convenience and it gives an added flavor to the soup.]

Cook for about 20-30 minutes over medium heat while stirring often. 

And there you have it! It's a super easy and quick soup with loads of flavor! Husband and kid approved at our house! 

We typically add shredded cheese and tortilla chips to ours. If we have avocados we add that as well. 


Yum! Definitely a favorite for these cool weather nights! Let me know if you try it and what you think in the comments below. Enjoy!!!

October 29, 2015

Ladies Only Weekend!

Every now and then a girl needs some time with her girlfriends. Away from reality. Away from the little ones. Away from the Mr. Away from life. Just you and your girls...and maybe some wine.

When a close friend announced that she wanted to go to New Orleans for her bachelorette party, I was already packing my bags. This momma needed a break! So off we went...2 cars, 11 ladies and the adventures awaiting.


We left early on a Friday morning. Way before the sun went up. I was still half asleep. It was the perfect time to leave though...we beat morning traffic and that made things easier on the road. Does anyone else love road trips as much as I do? They are so much fun and you get to bond and create memories with the ones you travel with. Love it!!

What happens on the road STAYS ON THE ROAD...needless to say we had many laughs...serious thoughts...silent moments...and more laughs.

meet S.Monaaay...sing-a-longs...yes we had props.

Lucky for us we didn't have bad weather while driving. It was pretty great! The drive from Austin to NOLA is a pretty easy one. About an 8-9 hour drive. We arrived at our destination and checked into our bed and breakfast. There were two groups of us staying in different places. We stayed at Inn on Ursulines. It's a fairly small Inn with only 15 rooms. We were only a few blocks away from Bourbon but yet still far enough to not get any of the wroughty noise. Perfect location.

I loved our little room. It had a very "New Orleans" feel to it. They say the street we stayed on is haunted...although we never had any spooky encounters, we definitely had a very distinct smell in our room {that we later found out could be linked to the smell of a not so friendly presence} and we also found an image in a picture we took while in the room. SPOOKY! {we prayed and all was well :)}

We had some time to kill before we met up with the rest of the party so we decided to get a drink to-go. We went to Lafitte's since it was a couple blocks away. Most of us got the Voodoo Daiquiri...didn't seem strong...until you ended up finishing it. Just sneaks right up on ya!

how cute are our shirts?!

We played some games and drank a bit more before heading out for the night. Isn't the bride to be just gorgeous?!

We opted for some food in our belly's before hitting up the bars. We didn't want to be THAT group. Locals recommended we go to Oceana so we went there. You guys! The food was so yummy!! Favorite item? Louisiana Crabmeat Cakes. They were to die for!

the sauce was amazing

Next up...Bourbon!!! I honestly didn't know what to expect when we went. I had heard some pretty scary things...rape, violence, drugs. I don't know if it's because we have 6th Street back home BUT it was definitely not intimidating at all. It's pretty much NOLA's version of 6th Street in Austin but on crack. It's insane but in a good way! We had such a great time!!




My buy of the night? This $11 drink at Saints & Sinners -totally worth it! The drink was super strong and I HAD to have the cup.

too bad we didn't run into Channing...

The following day we had some touring, eating and shopping planned. I wanted to be comfy since we were going to be doing a bit of walking. {by the end of the day i wish i would have brought sandals-ah oh well-what are you gonna do}

sunglasses | watch [similar] | necklace | bracelets

The weather was a bit humid and slightly warm so I decided on shorts and a tee. The distressed shorts are from Target in their Mossimo brand. I got these last year, I think, you can find similar ones here. The camo print tee just so happens to also be from Target. {can you tell i love Target?} My bag is from H&M and shoes are Converse. I am in love with this bar necklace I am wearing. It's really dainty and gold filled which is right up my alley! For all you Austin ladies or in surrounding cities, The Dainty Doe is local and all of her pieces are so pretty!!

Before we started with anything else we had to go Cafe Du Monde. We arrived around 9am and there was already a pretty huge line down the side of the Cafe. We decided to stand in the to-go line since it was a lot smaller and take our goodies to-go.

delish!

We ate our breakfast on the way to a swamp...we were going on a  swamp tour! Exciting!! It was so interesting and we got to see some alligators!

meet Calvin

We even got to hold a baby 'gator! How cute!!


After our swamping adventure we went to the French Market District for food and shopping. I got some spices for back home and goodies for both the Mr. and M.

soft shell crab po-boy...super spicy!

A while back I started collecting mugs from places we visit and I was able to find a NOLA mug as well.

tea in the making-back of the mug has NOLA history

For dinner that evening we went to Gumbo Shop, another recommendation by locals. We absolutely LOVED the food. Their gumbo was amazing!

chicken andouille gumbo | creole combination platter | warm bread pudding

After dinner we walked around Bourbon {of course} and decided to see a show...Drag to be exact.



All I can say is....YAAAAAAAAAAS {plus 2 snaps of my fingers}. It was so much fun!!!


The ladies did such an amazing job! So glad we were able to watch this! Definitely an experience!!

The following morning we woke up to rain. So glad it held out until we left! However, that meant driving in it. That Patty sure was no joke! We had rain almost the whole way home. Thank God we arrived safe and sound.


There's nothing like home sweet home but I would not have traded the laughs and memories we made for anything. I'm hoping we make these "ladies only getaways" a yearly tradition.

Hmmm...where to next?!

October 16, 2015

8 Family Friendly Halloween Movies

Do you have your Halloween costume ready? I'm thinking of dressing as a witch for Halloween...since I have black hair now and all. Plus-I'm pretty sure I can find an all black outfit in my closet. Easy Peasy! Just gotta get that witches hat!

The morning and evenings here have finally started cooling off. We love opening the windows, letting the breeze flow in, and curling up with some warm cider {or wine-but who's pointing fingers} and movie binge. This weekend calls for Halloween spirit! Our family favorites are below...

Hocus Pocus


This is by far MY favorite Halloween movie! I remember watching this growing up and it still is just as exciting to watch now! A definite must see!!

Halloweentown


Another childhood favorite! Not gonna lie, watching it this time around {as an adult} it is pretty cheesy but M enjoyed it-that's all that matters!

Casper


A classic! M watches the cartoon Casper so this was perfect! He loved it!

The Nightmare Before Christmas


M loved this movie! He didn't find it scary at all. I know some kiddos might find this a bit frightening so be prepared for reactions.

Hotel Transylvania


This is a much newer movie that those mentioned above. Such a great movie, nonetheless! It's perfect for the entire family. Funny, sweet, "spooky". We hope to watch Hotel Transylvania 2 [now in theaters] this weekend.

Ghostbusters

Classic. We didn't know if M would like this but it was a hit! We have since gotten both part I and II!

The Labyrinth

"Dance magic, dance"...y'all...this is my husbands' favorite! Not gonna lie-I had never seen it until we got married years ago. It has now become a family favorite. The costumes in the movie are beautiful and the puppets used are so fairy-tale like. A must see if you've never seen it! {definitely an 80s movie!}

Gremlins


Another classic. A silly movie with a slightly "horrorific" twist. Imagine your pet turning into a crazy furry creature! We love this movie and it's a year-round favorite at our house.

As you can see, we have a lot of oldie favorites. I feel that those are the best ones! What are your favorites? Any of the ones mentioned above?

October 13, 2015

Birthday Celebration and OOTD

Hope you all had a great Columbus Day! Didn't seem like much of a holiday on our end...the Mr. and I both worked and M went to the grandparents house since school was closed. Seemed like a typical Monday to us...minus all the crazy Austin traffic! The morning drive was glorious!!!

This weekend we celebrated my nieces' 9th birthday! She's 9 years old. 9. Maybe if I say it over and over again, it will sink in. I cannot believe she is 9! I feel like just yesterday she could barely say my name! While now, I have pre-teen conversations with her-on the phone! {sigh} She is such an amazing little {tall} girl though. We love her to pieces.

To celebrate she wanted to go eat at a Mexican restaurant in the area, Morelia's Mexican Grill. Their food is delicious and they have great drink specials too. My favorite thing to order is their Steak Enchiladas and Mexican Martini {i was so hungry i forgot to snap a picture}

such a diva with the hand on the hip!

Believe it or not in our area it is still in the mid to high 90s. I die. I'm ready for the weather to catch up to the season. Because I wanted to be as "Fall" as possible yet still be comfortable in the 97 degree weather, I went for an olive dress I got at Old Navy a couple months ago. {unfortunately that dress is no longer available-so sorry!!!} This one here and here are on my "to-buy" list! I love Old Navy dresses, they are comfortable and can be dressed up or down.

watch | purse | sandals [similar]

For my makeup I went with a subtle plum and nude on the eye lids, peachy cheeks and matte mauve lips.

pardon the dirty Beauty Blender! 

I've really been loving the new Smashbox BB Water as well. It feels like you have nothing on your face while still giving you medium coverage. It's great for everyday wear or even as a base under your normal foundation. {i wear it in the color Medium}


I did nothing crazy for the lids.  I used Wanderer all over the lid and Free Spirit on upper lid from the Tartelette Palette. I also used Factory from the Naked 3 Palette over the lid as well. I like using the Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara for lash volume. The Milani Luminoso blush is my favorite blush of all time! I love it!! 

Milani Lipstick in Matte Naked on the lips

Can't go out in this hot weather without my sunnies! These were a gift from the Mr. a couple birthdays ago. I love them! 

As much as I love the warm weather, I am so ready for the cool weather to grace us with it's presence. What's the weather like in your area?

October 6, 2015

The Fall Favorites Tag

I've seen all these Fall tags on YouTube from beauty vloggers and thought...why not bring it into the blogging world?! So here we go!

I decided on doing the tag from the gorgeous Jaclyn Hill. Be sure to follow her on YouTube. She's absolutely amazing!!

Favorite Candle: you guys. I cannot for the life of me justify paying $22 for one candle. I just can't. I see all these people post candles from Bath & Body Works and don't get me wrong, I like their products and purchase their lotions from time to time. It's ridiculous to me to spend that amount on a candle. I tend to purchase mine from Marshalls for about $6-$7. Perfect!! The one that is currently burning is from Everyday Luxe Candles in the scent Pumpkin Maple Sugar.  This one smells amazing! My house smells like a warm bakery. I'm also a big Scentsy fan and am all over the Pumpkin Roll bar for Fall. Lately I've been mixing 2 squares of Luna with one square of Pumpkin Roll...heaven!


Favorite Lip Color: I'm loving the dark nude colors this Fall. Nude Nuance from Maybelline has been my go-to this season. I'm also reaching for NYX Copenhagen. Such a gorgeous deep plum/cherry color.


Favorite Drink: I love love love hot spiced cider! My favorite one is from Target. It's so good! I'm also really liking the new Toasted Graham Latte from Starbucks.


Favorite Blush: I love the BECCA mineral blushes. My favorite is Songbird. It's a gorgeous peachy pink color. I think peach colored blushes are great for everyday Fall wear.

photo image via Sephora.com

 Favorite Clothing Item: over-sized sweaters! I live for sweaters in the cooler months! Knit sweaters are my favorite...I have a few in my collection but am always looking for more!


Favorite Fall Movie: none other than Hocus Pocus of course!

what's your favorite fall movie?

Favorite Fall TV Show: Scandal! #teamjake {i know everyone loves Fitz but Jake is just so much better!!}

Favorite Thanksgiving Food: this is was a hard one! I'm going to have to say green bean casserole. It's a given for our Turkey Day celebrations and I'm usually the one that makes it at our home. So yummy!

Favorite Halloween Costume: witches! I just love the classic costumes. You can dress up as a witch and there are so many options for costumes. I love it! I remember dressing up as a witch a couple of times as a kid...green face and mole! haha Maybe I've found my costume this year ;)

Here is the Fall Tag if any of you want to participate. Thank you to the beautiful Jaclyn Hill for coming up with it!

THE FALL FAVORITES TAG -
Favorite Candle
Favorite Lip Color
Favorite Drink
Favorite Blush
Favorite Clothing Item
Favorite Fall Movie
Favorite Fall TV Show
Favorite Thanksgiving Food
Favorite Halloween Costume

I tag Julie over at Miss JBT! Check out her blog for great eats around the Austin and surrounding areas!

As always, don't forget to subscribe via email above!

What are your Fall Favorites! Answer in the comments below! Happy Fall Y'all!!

October 5, 2015

Weekend Recap: New Look?!

Hello lovies! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

The weather here was gorgeous this weekend! {it was mid to high 80s-that's "cool"} I'm still waiting for the weather to fully kick into "Fall" though. Over-sized sweaters and boots are LIFE!

I had tons of stuff planned for us this weekend. The Mr. was spending the weekend at ACL so it was M and I all weekend. I love having mommy/son time with him. He's at such a great age and I love seeing his personality evolving. He's such a goof :) Anyhoo-so "had" is the keyword here. We didn't get to do half of the things I had planned for us. Regardless we had a pretty relaxing yet fun weekend.

My mom's birthday was this past week so we all went over to the parentals place for dinner and cake on Friday.

Happy Birthday!

I think the kiddos were most excited about helping blow out the candles! We sang Happy Birthday a couple times so they each got a chance to blow it out. Anything for the kids, right?!

grandma with her grandkids

As some of you already know, this coming Spring we're going on a camping trip. For a week. Y'all...I've never been camping. Like ever. It's just something my family never did. However, I am beyond excited!! I cannot wait for our family trip! Since it's about 6 months away we've already started planning what we need to purchase. Which is pretty much everything. We're members at REI and were informed they were having a garage sale, for member's only. Perfect! We got up early Saturday morning not really knowing what to expect at the sale. We arrived at REI about 30 minutes before they opened the doors. {mainly because we wanted to get breakfast tacos a couple stores down} Good thing we got there when we did! There was already a line formed!! Insane! I waited in line with M while the Mr. went for our tacos. Team Work!


We have a list of items we need for the trip but were mainly looking for a tent and cookware at the sale. We still need sleeping bags but if we didn't find those at the sale no big deal.

We lucked out with some great deals! We ended up with a tent {one of the ones we had our eye on}, a cooking set and one sleeping bag. I'm mainly excited about the cooking set. Because the items in the sale are either returned, damaged and/or display items they mark them down pretty low. We were told that some items would be marked to 50-60% off! We got the cooking set for $50! {original $130} It was marked damaged because the handle was missing...I ordered it as soon as we got home from Amazon for $12. SOLD! The set wasn't even used because of the handle missing. The tent we got was used once but it wasn't large enough for the people that bought it originally. Used once. Again a great deal at half off! The sleeping bag was used once but the original owners claimed it was too hot {20 degree temp bag}...well it's perfect for what we need it for and we scored it for half off as well!

our REI Garage Sale finds!

All in all we had great finds! We were told they have 4 sales throughout the year, with their next one after the new year. I highly recommend becoming a lifetime member and enjoying some of REI's member perks!

Since we were in no hurry to go home just yet M and I ran some errands and stopped by the pet store to get Lola some goodies. M loves looking at the birds and fish everytime we go. 


I've been wanting to introduce M to my all time favorite Fall movie...none other than Hocus Pocus. We decided on pizza and a movie :) Do y'all have a Fall favorite movie? I'm all about Hocus Pocus! I need to find Halloween Town for M to watch also! 

he loved it by the way! and we watched it again Sunday morning during breakfast :)

We ended the night at our neighbors decorating pumpkins.


Our Sunday was super relaxing...as Sunday's should be. Besides M having a soccer game we did absolutely nothing but watch movies, play games and read.

our team won the game 4-3! GO BARBADOS!!!

OH! and I had a change of...hair color! I decided to go dark-not necessarily for Fall but because I've been wanting a change in color. This is the darkest I've ever taken my hair. My natural color is a dark brown but this is black. It's something to get used to seeing because of how bold it is. I'm still torn with how I feel about it.


I think this was my first relaxing weekend in several weeks. It was so nice to have nothing set in stone. Especially since the next few weekends will be jam packed with weddings and festivities. What did you do this weekend? Did you get to relax or were you a busy bee?

October 1, 2015

Family Favorites: September

Is anyone else amazed at how quick the year has gone? I mean we're in October! We haven't even gotten to the end of the month and I'm already thinking of what I'm going to make for Thanksgiving...plus I'm super behind on gift buying for Christmas. Geez! Where does the time go?!

We have so much going on these next few weeks. I cannot wait! All is great though! Weddings, soccer, parties, trips-I love it all!!




Stephanie:
I absolutely love my planner! It took me weeks to decide on which one to get. I didn't just want your average planner either. I wanted something personalized and with both calendar and weekly views. Very high expectations I have with planners. Taking everything I wanted and pricing into considerations I chose the Plum Paper Planner. I have to say that I am completely in love with this! I don't know what I would do without it!




Mine is personalized with my name{in mint, so pretty!} and my name. I love the gold chevron pattern! There are so many options to choose from!! I have the weekly spread layout and the length of my planner is 12-month. What really sold me on this planner was that I could start it at any month{mine is from June-May}. I like to personalize my weekly view with stickers and washi tape. Makes it just so much cuter and personal.

stickers were purchased on Etsy





I would seriously be lost without my planner! Do you use anything to keep your days and weeks organized?

Ray:
We don't have cable so we watch a lot of movies and live on Netflix. The Mr. likes a lot of the Netflix Original movies and shows. He was recently hooked on their Original show: Narcos.


It's a crime drama based on the life of king drugpin Pablo Escobar. The Mr. loves "based on true story" shows and movies so this was definitely up his alley. He finished the complete first season, which you can find on Netflix!

Michael:
Earlier this month we took M to a Lego brick store where they had playtime and pretty much free reign to the store. He absolutely loved it! Didn't want to leave. He's always loved Legos but this, I think, sent it overboard. He's been building and designing all these different vehicles and houses.

I love that he loves Legos! It's great for his imagination and creativity. Definitely prefer this over TV watching. 

do you see his vehicles off to the side lol 

We had such a busy month and cannot wait for all the fun events and memories ahead! 

What are you loving recently? Any family favorites?