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Fall 2015 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

Fall 2015 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project from

One year ago I decided that I would try putting a capsule wardrobe together. For someone who bought on impulse, focused far too much on trends, and wasted money on an outfit for just a single night out it was a real adjustment in purchasing. I have managed to whittle my wardrobe down to less than half its original size and I think so very much about what I buy and question why I need it. It’s changed my life in many, many ways, but the biggest rewards have been smoother mornings and truly feeling proud of everything I wear.  It is with that kind of pride that I show you this capsule wardrobe.

It was also a year of investments, but the biggest investment was time because I decided to go almost 100% with a gently used wardrobe. I have 7 purchases that were not used and the rest and the majority of the items have been purchased this year using my thredUP credit (I get $10 and you get $10 to spend my referral) or I have owned for years. Thanks to pointing out this resource, I was able to get the majority of my gently used wardrobe for free. Be sure to visit my tips this year for purchasing your fashion capsule wardrobe second hand.  It was a prompting really through this film (watched on Netflix) that has solidified my commitment to buying used and investing wisely. Watch it and tell me if it doesn’t make you want to do better with fashion purchases!

What is a Fashion Capsule & Why Should You Do One?

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing which is designed using only interchangeable items, in order to maximize the number of outfits which can be created. The aim is to have an outfit suitable for any occasion without owning excessive items of clothing. This is usually achieved by buying what are considered to be “key” or “staple” items in coordinating colors.

The reason I think capsule wardrobes are worth exploring is that you realize when you have LESS in your closet you can do MORE with what you have. My closet used to be bursting at the seams with clothes and, what I like to call, one-trick-pony apparel. I felt put together after tearing up my room and trying to build outfits in the process, but it took me so long to get ready in the mornings and I never felt like I had a truly seamless style. Narrowing my wardrobe down to 33 items as outlined in Project 333 was just what I needed to make mornings less stressful and finding a real rhythm to getting dressed for the day. It’s been a beautiful shift in my life and I don’t think I could ever go back to the old ways of bursting closets and pointless purchases.

I tend to be a pretty colorful person so you will find color mixed in with basics in my wardrobe. Monochromatic isn’t my thing, but can be yours if you are trying to simplify your wardrobe. Many people begin their capsule experience very monochromatic and then find they are comfortable branching out into color after figuring out how to make everything work together.

Fall 2015 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project

Why My Capsule Shouldn’t Be YOUR Capsule

I show you my capsule mainly as some sort of accountability, but not necessarily for you to copy it. My style is probably not your style and that is okay. Your capsule can look nothing like my capsule.  Your body shape could be different from mine and none of these cuts of clothing or ideas will work for you.  When creating your capsule, create it around what you feel most confident in. I suggest peeking in your closet and selecting what makes you feel beautiful and start your planning around those pieces. That’s been the best place to start for me.

Fall 2015 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project

source 1/source 2/source 3/source 4/source 5

What Trends Did You Embrace for Your Fall 2015 Wardrobe?

I can’t omit trends altogether so once I have my timeless pieces in place, I try to add a few trends that I love this year. For me, I am adding lots of plaid in, a blanket cape, midi skirts, and a classic chambray shirt dress. I feel like I am seeing most of the same trends from last year that fit my style. This girl will not embrace the high waisted jeans or large bell bottom pants due to my petite pear-shaped body. I am always comfortable bowing out on trends that don’t flatter my figure!

I add daily trends to my Fashion Capsule Pinterest Board to help keep me inspired with styling and ways to use the key pieces in my wardrobe.

Do You Count Accessories As Your 33 Items?

One question I get asked is if I count accessories and shoes as my items. I do not, but feel free to do that if you like. For me a scarf, belt, or great jewelry really do add to the enjoyment and experience of my wardrobe. I am, however, more selective about the accessories I am choosing and really making sure that they are worth the space in my drawers and the money that is spent.

Fall 2015 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project

This project was inspired by Project 333, but I am making a few of my own rules for my own personal challenge.

33 Piece Wardrobe- The wardrobe can have 33 pieces  in it. This wardrobe does not include pajamas, workout gear, undergarments, or camisoles (something that is a necessity for me).  The capsule is made from items I already own, some purchased to be workhorses in my wardrobe  All of the items I am not wearing and still love are being tucked in storage for the next fashion capsule.  I have created a Fashion Capsule Pinterest Board to help inspire me with the pieces I am using.

Choose 3 More for Rotating- You may choose three additional items and put them aside in your closet. You may rotate these items in during the next three months, but three other items have to be rotated out. Consider donating those items.

No Shoe Shopping- I am not including my shoes for this challenge, but I am challenging myself to not buy any more shoes and use what I already have.

One Steal Per Month- Things and events come up and I am allowing myself one steal per month from items that I already own. I may find I don’t need this, but I think it might help with the shopping bug.

No Shopping For Clothing- I will wear the clothes I have selected and not shop for three months and only shop two weeks prior to the next capsule for items for the next season if needed. This is going to require a lot of discipline for me and I am planning to unsubscribe to shopping newsletters and avoid the shops as much as possible.

Fall 2015 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project

This month’s Project 333 Wardrobe is listed below. Feel free to give me a follow on Instagram for weekly wardrobe inspiration! I piece outfits together on my floor and try not to subject you to too many of my awful selfies unless I can’t figure out how to make it work without me in it!

Fall 2015 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project

1. J. Crew Chambray Shirt (gently used, thredUP)

2. fei Chambray Shirt Dress (gently used, thredUP)

3. White House Black Market Pinstriped Shirt (gently used, thredUP)

4. Willi Smith Black Tunic (TJ Maxx)

5. J. Crew Gray Wool Sweater (gently used, thredUP)

6. YA Los Angeles Gray Knitted Vest (Flourish Boutique)

7. Anthropologie Moth Ivory Felt & Knitted Cardigan Sweater (gently used, thredUP)

8. Old Navy Vintage T-Shirt

9. Ivory Cowl Neck Sweatshirt (TJ Maxx)

10. Cynthia Rowley White T-Shirt (TJ Maxx)

11. Lou & Gray Ivory Flannel Shirt (Loft)

12. White House Black Market Polka Dotted Silk Shirt (gently used, thredUP)

13. Cynthia Rowley Black & White Striped T-Shirt (TJ Maxx)

14. Ella Moss Red & Navy Striped Tunic (gently used, thredUP)

15. Navy & Red Plaid Flannel Shirt (boutique in CO)

16. J. Crew Red & Black Buffalo Checked Tunic (gently used thredUP)

Fall 2015 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project

17. J. Crew Black Dress (gently used, thredUP)

18. Madewell Gray Jumper (gently used, thredUP)

19. J. Crew Watercolor Dress (gently used, thredUP)

Fall 2015 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project

20. Anthropologie Angels of the North Mustard Yellow Knitted Cardigan Sweater (gently used, thredUP)

21. Anthropologie Daughters of Liberation Utility Jacket (gently used, thredUP)

22. Anthropologie Peacock Design Knitted Top (gently used, thred UP)

23. Blanket Cape (TJ Maxx)

24. Anthropologie Maeve Red A-Line Skirt (Anthropologie)

25. Black Midi Skirt (Loft)

26. J. Crew Khaki Buttoned A-Line Skirt (gently used, thredUP)

27. Brooks Brothers Kelly Green Pleated Skirt (gently used, thredUP)

28. Matilda Jane Willow Tree Rider Pants (purchase from Amanda Petit, Matilda Jane Independent Trunk Keeper)

29. Black Leggings (TJ Maxx)

30. Black Pants With Faux Leather Track Stripe (Loft)

31. Dark Wash Skinny 7 Jeans (Flourish Boutique)

32. Not pictured- eShakti Denim Midi Skirt

33. Still on the hunt for a NO-IRON basic white collared shirt (any suggestions?)


Coupons That Might Help If You Are Making a Capsule Too

Current Coupons for Old Navy (I am a big fan of their jeans and basic t-shirts)

Current Coupons for Target (their wardrobe is on the smart minimalist side this season- yay!)

Current Coupons for Gap (blazers, chambray shirts, collared shirts, jeans- oh my!)

Get $10 for your first thredUP purchase (this is my favorite online consignment resource)

Use web code WEB25 for 25% off your purchase at Flourish Boutique

Stitch Fix can be a fun resource for shopping for smart basic wardrobe pieces if a stylist might benefit you!

eShakti $40 off your first order!- Perfect for petite or tall girls because you can customize all their clothing to your own measurements!

Don’t forget to clean out your closet! Here is a list of resources to help you make money while organizing this corner! Here are some tips for creating the perfect capsule wardrobe and feel free to browse my fall & winter capsule selections while you are gathering ideas for your own capsule! Follow me on IG for fresh outfit ideas each week! xo

*This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend what I love- promise! xo

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Amy’s Notebook 10.01.15: Better Mornings M Challenge Syllabus

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

M Challenge Focus on Better Mornings Guide

As a wrap-up of each month’s M Challenge theme, we will be using the last Notebook of the month as a sort of “Cliffs Notes” edition of the challenge – a place where you can find a list of all the articles we’ve published for the challenge, as well as more inspiration and links from the web around the challenge theme. Our hope is that this will be something that you can refer to in the future as well as catch up on in case you’ve missed anything!

September M Challenge: Focus on Better Mornings

Other Links: Better Morning Tips, Recipes & Ideas

Teach Yourself to Be a Morning Person via Man Repeller

Source: Man Repeller


How to teach yourself to be a morning person.

25 good morning habits for a great day.

10 things to do every day before 10 am- you don’t have to be a morning person to benefit from morning rituals.

21 creative ways to become a morning exerciser.

5 steps to a productive morning.

Tips to make waking up easier (especially when you’re not a morning person).

7 things to do tonight for a better tomorrow.

21 life-changing morning hacks.

De-stress school day mornings via Simplify 101

Source: Simplify 101


De-stress your morning with a new evening routine.

How to create a morning routine – a step by step guide with free printables.

30 great packed lunch ideas for kids.

Free printable: “Wake Up & Be Happy”

10 steps to better school mornings.

Overnight cinnamon baked French toast casserole. Make your kids (and you!) happy.

Tips and ideas for making cold lunches easy and cool.

5 five-minute healthy breakfasts.

I hope you enjoyed our M Challenge syllabus notebook, a collection of the Mom Advice articles and gathered links all around the month’s challenge focus. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

Pumpkin Nut Quinoa Breakfast

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Perfect for the fall and for our M Challenge Focus on Better Mornings, I’m republishing this easy breakfast of pumpkin flavored quinoa with yummy sugared pecans because it will definitely help get your day off to a great start!

Pumpkin Nut Quinoa BreakfastI can’t think of two ingredients I am loving more than pumpkin and quinoa right now. This recipe is a deliciously satisfying pairing of pumpkin and quinoa together in this Pumpkin Nut Quinoa Breakfast. The best part is the fun topping addition of sugared pecans that make this dish such a standout!

Pumpkin Nut Quinoa Breakfast

Over this past year I have showcased lots of fun recipes to try with quinoa from basic preparation to summer salads to breakfast bowls to stuffed peppers. What you might not know though is that there is another variety of quinoa that you can purchase for your baking and breakfast needs. Quinoa flakes remind me of Cream of Wheat in their texture, but they are packed with loads of protein. They can be found at natural food stores and are often available in both a boxed variety or can be purchased in the bulk section of the store.

Last winter I became addicted to these quinoa flakes for a hot breakfast bowl. I dressed mine up simply with a little stevia, maple syrup, and almond milk, but I wanted to try another spin with this ingredient for the Fall.

Pumpkin Nut Quinoa BreakfastThis recipe for Pumpkin Quinoa can be modified to your own dietary needs. I prepared mine with almond milk, but you can use regular milk too. The nuts are tossed in cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg and a little egg white. They remind me a lot of these Sugar & Spice Nuts that I love to share around the holidays.

If you are vegan, try substituting the egg white with 2-3 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of flax, mixed well, to coat the nuts. For those living gluten-free, no modifications need to be made! It is one of those recipes that is easy to modify for your family!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. I reheat my leftovers in the microwave and add a little milk to thin them out again. This is a great one to tuck in your fridge for a hot breakfast all week long!

Pumpkin Nut Quinoa Breakfast

Pumpkin Nut Quinoa Breakfast
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
A deliciously gluten-free dish that can be enjoyed on Fall mornings. This pumpkin quinoa is packed with protein and has added flavor & texture from the amazing sugared pecans that adorn it.
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Pinch of Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg white (see above for vegan substitution)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1¾ cup water
  • 1¾ cup milk (or milk substitute)
  • 1⅓ cups quinoa flakes
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • ¼ cup half-and-half (or additional milk substitute)
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, salt, ground cloves, and ground nutmeg in a plastic bag, seal the bag, and shake to mix.
  3. Pu tthe egg white and vanilla in a bowl, and beat until slightly foamy. Add the pecans and stir to coat them well. Using a slotted spoon, lift the pecans out the bowl and transfer them to the bag of sugar and spices. Shake, making sure the pecans are well coated with the seasoning. Spread the pecans out on the prepared baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet.
  4. Meanwhile, place the water and milk in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa flakes and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until the liquid has decreased by half and the mixture is thick.
  5. Combine the pumpkin and the half-and-half (or milk substitute) in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Swirl the pumpkin into the quinoa and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Divide among four bowls, sprinkle with nuts, and serve immediately.

Source: Deliciously G-Free (affliliate)

Looking for more things to do with the rest of the can of pumpkin? Be sure to check out these 11 pumpkin recipe ideas for your Fall cooking!


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M Challenge Mornings Morphosis: Set An Alarm or Not?

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

As part of our M Challenge Focus on Better Mornings, I asked Mandi Ehman of Life Your Way to share how she is tackling her mornings – and I think her answer will surprise you!

Move towards better mornings with an alarm clock - or without

Confession: I am a firm believer in the value of getting up early, getting your day started before your kids wake up, and taking control of your day. So it might surprise you to hear that I no longer set an alarm 99% of the time.

The reason is simple: While I highly value and need those morning hours to myself, I also know that I need enough sleep or I’m grumpy, impatient and unproductive.

I also know that there’s nothing worse than getting woken up in the wrong part of your sleep cycle.

When I set an alarm, I inevitably get woken up right in the middle of my REM cycle, and my alarm has no idea whether the baby was up 17 times, I suffered with insomnia, or my body just happens to need more rest on any given morning. (And changing the alarm in the middle of the night involves turning on my iPhone screen—since we don’t use a regular alarm clock in our room—which inevitably gives me insomnia because of the bright, artificial light!)

Letting myself wake up naturally means I wake up during the best part of my sleep cycle—usually as soon as it starts to get light out these days—and I’m less groggy. Sometimes it means I sleep a couple extra hours in the morning, but I’m willing to trust that my body knows best on those days!

Obviously this approach isn’t for everyone, and if you’re a natural night owl, have early morning commitments or school buses to catch, an alarm is probably a safe bet.

I’m considering an alarm like ZenAwake or Progressive Alarm Clock that wakes you up with gentle, progressively louder sounds so that your body isn’t jarred out of sleep like with a traditional alarm for those fall and winter mornings when the sun isn’t there to help me get up.

These days, getting enough sleep is a high priority for me even when the to-do list is full, and an alarm clock just isn’t smart enough to know when I really need to get up and when I need to sleep, so—for now—I’m skipping it.

Are you an early bird or a night owl? Do you wake up to an alarm?

Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake from

*This post is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

If you are anything like me, you are already on the hunt for easy Halloween ideas!  Today’s easy food craft is for a festive Halloween cake that you can whip up quickly to celebrate with your kids, fellow trick-or-treaters or to add to your Halloween party spread.

This can be made for under $20 and NO COOKING is required!

Can I get an AMEN?


Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake from

Supplies Needed (available at Walmart)

1 prepared cake

1 container of powdered sugar doughnut holes (I had enough in an assortment pack)

Roll of white tulle (over by the party/wedding favor supplies)

Black Decorating Icing (over by the cake decorating supplies/crafts)

Cookie Sticks (over by the cake decorating supplies/crafts)

White Twine


Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake from


1. On a rimmed cookie sheet, insert the cookie stick into your doughnut hole.

2. Cut out two squares of tulle, approximately the same size, and angle them slightly. Fold them over your doughnut hole. Secure with a little white twine, making sure to bring the tulle down snugly over the top of the doughnut hole to make a level surface for your piping.

3. Pipe two eyes and a mouth on your doughnut hole. I found that getting the icing a little warm helped make the piping easier so keep that in mind!

4. Stick your ghosts on top of your cake.


How easy is that?

Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake from

Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake from

Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake from

This cake was such a hit and I loved that it adds a homemade touch to a store-bought treat!

As you know, I’m pretty darn frugal, so I want to share a tip that might help you at your store. Be sure to check the rear of your store (over by the dairy section usually) to see if there are any reduced to sell bakery items on a rolling cart. It is there where I often spy prepared cakes and doughnuts that are perfect for sharing with guests or for rounding out a meal together with friends. If you check there first, it is possible you might be able to score these treats for a fraction of the price that I paid.

I promise to not be jealous.

I look forward to sharing more fun Halloween ideas with you in the upcoming month and hope you love this festive (and easy) treat idea!



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3 Ways to Take the Hassle Out of Packing School Lunches {& Free Printable!}

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

This is a post from our diy/craft contributor, MJ.

Mom Advice lunch time printable- free download!

For the first time ever, I’m packing lunches for three kids – which means three drinks, three sandwiches, three treats, and three sets of complaints! Like any parent, I strive to pack healthy and tasty meals that the kids can enjoy in the middle of their days, but oftentimes my best attempts fall short of their hopeful stomachs.

So now that our trial and error efforts have failed, and I’ve talked it over with my children, we’re proud to recommend these three ideas that have helped turn our lunchtime fails into lunches that leave only the crumbs behind.

1. Ask your children what they want and give them the tools to make good decisions.

Before we head upstairs for bedtime, I ask each child what they’d like for lunch. Sometimes we have what they want, sometimes they ask for food they shouldn’t have, and sometimes they have NO ideas. To avoid the headache, I created this Lunchbox Helper!


Lunch box helper printable

Food choices are separated (roughly) by food groups, and my children are able to make smart choices for themselves (eg: see that fruits and vegetables should be a part of every meal!). It’s also come in very handy for grocery prep. My children can add their own ideas to the sheet and mark off what they’d like to pack for lunches and snacks, and we can know in advance what we need to have in our pantry!

3 Ways to Take the Hassle our of School Lunches

2. Organize ingredients in a place they can pack for themselves!

Lunchbox Helper lets your children see and select what they want to eat, but let’s take it to the next level and have them pack their own meals. In our home, we have all the good stuff on the lower shelves where small hands can reach exactly what they need. In the pantry and in the refrigerator, all the fruits, veggies, grains and goodies are at child height.

I love how Amy organized her space so that an entire lunch can be gathered up from the space of a few drawers. No confusion means less work and less hassle for everyone!

School Lunch Ideas

3. No matter how the food tastes, send them off with your love notes.

When my oldest started in full-day Kindergarten, I sent her off with a note in her lunchbox. As she mentioned that she sometimes didn’t know what to talk about at the lunch table, I started adding a joke to those notes. Over the years, these evolved into illustrated notes with the drawing sometimes being much funnier than the corny joke!

Through a wonderful partnership with The Land of Nod, my illustrated jokes are now reaching hundreds of lunchboxes! Just a few months ago, my Lunchtime LOL Notes went on sale as a full pack of 180 jokes for every day of the school year. It’s been such a treat to hear how parents and children alike are enjoying these notes and turning any menu into a time for giggles.


I’d love to hear your ideas! What works for packing lunches in your family? Any great foods to suggest?


6 Festive Halloween Decorating Ideas

Monday, September 28th, 2015

6 Festive Halloween Decorating Ideas from

Halloween is just around the corner and with that season comes all of the fun decorating and costume ideas for your home and family. Halloween is always a busy season for Goodwill since it is considered a top source for materials and costumes for most families. Don’t forget while putting together your award-winning attire, that our store offers a lot of great materials for crafting a festive & spooky home too!

Gathered here are a few of my favorite ideas for decorating for Halloween that I think you will find both fun AND affordable!

Head on over to the Goodwill Tips blog and snag 6 Festive Halloween Decorating Ideas today!

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The MomAdvice Make-Ahead (Week 3)

Monday, September 28th, 2015

The MomAdvice Make-Ahead (Week 3)

When grocery day used to come, it would be the day of trashing perfectly good food that would have been perfectly delicious if I ever would have gotten around to cooking it. This week we threw away a little celery and some hard boiled eggs for the entire week of wasted food. If I questioned if making the food ahead was worth the effort, this helped me understand LOUD AND CLEAR that this family needs this to save money and waste less.

We also did not eat out this week (other than a work engagement my husband had) so that is two weeks in a row that I have felt more in control of our family finances.

That is NOT to say that I did not drag my feet this week. This takes a ton of effort and I started this incredible book and it pained me every minute I was away from it. The reward though is that I will have loads more time to read this week with ZERO guilt because I am ahead of the game this week.

I’d love to hear if you tried anything from our make-ahead ideas or what your favorite make-ahead dish is. I am sure I am going to be needing some new recipes soon!

Approximate Time for Preparation- 4 hours plus clean-up! 

The MomAdvice Make-Ahead

Homemade Pizza Sauce (double batched- popped one in the freezer)

Pizza Dough (I bagged the dry ingredients for my homemade pizza)

Roasted Chicken (NEW TUTORIAL!! for salads & wraps)

Blueberries & Strawberries

Brown Rice (four cups)

Slow Cooker Stuffed Green Pepper Soup


Baked Hard Boiled Eggs

Chicken Enchiladas (stored sauce in a separate container)

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches

Brussels Sprouts (trimmed)- to be made into Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Sliced Mushrooms & Green Beans (trimmed & stored in separate bags)- planning to roast them like this

Broccoli- to make into Microwave Lemony Broccoli

Slow Cooker Chicken Italiano

Chopped Carrots & Celery (I store these in water)

Green Smoothie Packets (I use this recipe and froze the strawberries, bananas, and spinach in packets for the morning. This week I added some blueberries that were on sale!)

Meal Plan

Breakfasts- Green Smoothies or Hard Boiled Eggs & Fresh Fruit

Lunches- Leftovers or Hard Boiled Eggs, Veggies, & Fresh Fruit, or Stuffed Green Pepper Soup with Salads


Monday- Roasted Chicken Wraps With Broccoli or Salads (Topped With Berries, Balsamic Dressing, Slivered Almonds, & Chicken)

Tuesday- Chicken Enchiladas, Brown Rice, & Tortilla Chips with Salsa

Wednesday- Italian Beef Sandwiches on Hoagie Rolls with Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Fresh Fruit

Thursday- Chicken Italiano served over Brown Rice Pasta with Balsamic Roasted Green Beans & Mushrooms & Fresh Fruit

Friday- Homemade Pizza Night

Saturday- SAYSFN (Seek and Ye Shall Find Night)

Sunday- SAYSFN (Seek and Ye Shall Find Night)


No more cooking for this girl ALL WEEK- YAY!! Happy Monday, friends!! xo






Make-Ahead Tutorial: Roast Chicken In Bulk For Your Week

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Make-Ahead Tutorial: Roast Chicken In Bulk For Your Week from

If I had to point a finger at where I began to realize the beauty in make-ahead meals, I would point it to my bag of chicken I cook each week for our family.  This small kitchen tip truly takes just a few moments of effort to have a container full of prepared meat for sandwiches, wraps, or to be eaten on it’s own with veggies and fruit to round out the meal. The best part is that with my easy technique, you can prepare chicken in bulk for your week right from it’s frozen state.

For our family of four, I prepare three pounds of chicken each week (one frozen bag of chicken breasts from ALDI, to be exact!) and we usually plow through these three pounds by Wednesday or Thursday of the week. I never have any leftover because it is my go-to for making wraps for my husband to take for his lunch and it is the go-to for my kid’s busy activity nights. I started making a habit of taking the chicken out first when I brought in my groceries and getting it roasting as I put the rest of the food away. For five minutes of prep work, it has saved us at least a hundred bucks a month if I had went with my impulse to just run out and grab something at Panera instead of preparing a meal at home.

Make-Ahead Tutorial: Roast Chicken In Bulk For Your Week from

My secret ingredient (and this is no endorsement- just a HUGE fan!) is this Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil Garlic seasoning mix. The picture is a bit blurry, but you get the idea. I found it in the spice aisle and it makes such a fantastic dry rub on the chicken that it tastes as good as anything you would get in a restaurant. Since it is salt-free, I layer on the salt just the way I like and this helps to enhance the flavor of the chicken.

Now that you know the secret, I encourage you to try this technique as your first baby step towards the make-ahead meal life.

Make-Ahead Tutorial: Roast Chicken In Bulk For Your Week from Make-Ahead Tutorial: Roast Chicken In Bulk For Your Week

Make-Ahead Tutorial: Roast Chicken In Bulk For Your Week
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
An easy way to prepare frozen chicken in bulk for salads, wraps, and as the main attraction for your family's week.
  • 3 pounds frozen chicken breasts
  • Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil Seasoning
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper
  1. Preheat the oven for 375 degrees and spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Spread the frozen chicken breasts out over one or two cookie sheets.
  3. Drizzle a little olive oil over the chicken breasts and then sprinkle liberally with the seasoning mix, kosher salt and fresh black pepper.
  4. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  5. Allow the chicken to rest ten to fifteen minutes (to allow the juices to redistribute within the meat). Dice or shred for your recipes for the week.


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Sundays With Writers: The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

Sundays With Writers

This will be my first Sundays With Writers featuring a writing duo today in our weekly interview feature. Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke have been best friends for over 25 years and write books together about friendships that are fun and a perfect addition to a beach bag or a much-needed escape. I actually selected The Status of All Things for my local book club selection as we kicked off our next year of reading now that our kids are back to school.

Although the premise of the book is light, it still speaks a lot of truth about how we use social media and the image that we put out there for the world to see. So many times what is really happy and what we are sharing are so different and this lead to a good discussion on how we use social media in our own lives and how we filter those images and updates for the public.

The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton & LIsa Steinke

Kate is a thirty-five-year-old woman who is obsessed with social media. So when her fiancé, Max, breaks things off at their rehearsal dinner—to be with Kate’s close friend and coworker, no less—she goes straight to Facebook to share it with the world. But something’s changed. Suddenly, Kate’s real life starts to mirror whatever she writes in her Facebook status. With all the power at her fingertips, and heartbroken and confused over why Max left her, Kate goes back in time to rewrite their history.

Kate’s two best friends, Jules and Liam, are the only ones who know the truth. In order to convince them she’s really time traveled, Kate offers to use her Facebook status to help improve their lives. But her attempts to help them don’t go exactly as planned, and every effort to get Max back seems to only backfire, causing Kate to wonder if it’s really possible to change her fate.

I love books with a magical realism theme and the idea that you can rewrite your own history through your Facebook status was such a good one. It also makes you think about how we present ourselves online and how our reality are often so different!

Grab your coffee & let’s settle in with our FIRST writing duo on Sundays With Writers!

Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

 You have been best friends for over 25 years and now co-author books together. Did you ever dream that your friendship would merge with your work life like this?

When we were in high school and college, we would talk about writing a book together “someday,” but I’m not sure either of us actually thought it was going to happen!

This is my first time asking questions to a dynamic duo instead of just one author. In my head one of you starts the story and then goes … and the next one picks up. Clearly, I know nothing about writing in tandem. What does your writing process look like when writing together?

Writing in tandem is the only way we know. Often authors will say to us, “I don’t know how you write with another person!” and we will respond, “We don’t know how you write alone!” Our system is pretty simple. One of us writes a chapter, the other edits, then we go back and forth until we are settled on that chapter. Then the other person writes the next chapter and so on.

 Your book really centers on our many demons that we all deal with when it comes to social media, particularly the life that we put out there and the real lives we are leading. Are your struggles with social media similar to Kate’s?

Absolutely! Our own struggles are what gave us the idea for the book. We each have what we call a Facebook nemesis—that person we love to hate online. That person we are jealous of, even though we are fully aware their pictures are filtered and their status updates are edited. Sometimes it’s hard not to compare yourself and your kids to what others are doing—even if you know that you are only seeing a very small snapshot of someone else’s life. It’s important to understand it’s all just a game, and to not judge your own life by that yardstick.

The concept for you to change your future by changing the status of your Facebook update to match what you want to happen was such a fun one. If that could happen, tell me one status update you would post right now!

Lisa: I drank a bottle of wine and didn’t have a hangover. In fact, I still woke up at 6am and worked out! (She types as she takes a sip of her Meomi Pinot Noir.)

Liz: I developed a pill that lets you eat all the carbs you want without gaining weight! It’s a miracle!

Your book has made it on almost every beach read list created this summer! If any of us can escape the drudgery of our busy lives to head to the beach, what books would you recommend we pack for our vacation?

Come Away With Me by Karma Brown. The completely unexpected twist at the end will make you want to re-read the entire book!

He’s Gone by Deb Caletti.  The story of a husband who goes missing and the wife who pieces the mystery together. We’ve never read anything like it.

I understand that you are already working on your next book project! Can you give us a little info on what you are planning to publish next?


We are really excited about The Year We Turned Forty, which comes out April 26th, 2016. It’s about three best friends who get the chance to travel back ten years to the year they turned forty, a year in which they all made choices that changed the course of their lives.

If you could tell anyone to read one book (other than your own) what would that book be (we list it with all the recommendations over the year HERE)?

Lisa: Wild by Cheryl Strayed. She’s a phenomenal writer and this is a memoir you will think about for years after reading it.

Liz: After I Do By Taylor Jenkins Reid. It’s an incredibly insightful and refreshing narrative on the challenges of marriage.

You can connect with Lisa & Liz  on Facebook or through their website! I’m always thankful for these moments with writers and I hope you will pick up this amazing book! You can always connect with me on GoodReads,through our books section of our site, and you can read our entire Sundays With Writers series for more author profiles. Happy reading, friends!

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