Monday, October 27, 2014

my latest travel essentials

I've been traveling a lot lately... not super exciting blogging trips or vacations or anything... just mostly toting around in the car all over Texas for various things like weddings and family visits.  Now, I love traveling but at the same time I am a total OCD person that hates to be away from home!  Home is where I have all of my stuff and everything is just right, you know?

At home you have everything you need and everything you're used to and you know right where it is.  And if you run out of something, chances are you know exactly where that something is on your local store's shelf and it's a quick fix.  But what about traveling?  How do you stay comfortable and how do you fit everything you need without overpacking and taking everything you own?

In my world the answer is simple... Travel size products.  Ok, I am well aware that travel size items are extremely small amounts of product for jacked up prices... Yes, I get it.  But there's also a huge convenience factor here and to me, it's worth it.  I like to have my small products on hand, packed and ready to go for any trip.  I've linked my favorite products below from my most recent road trip! 

All of these items were purchased in the Travel Size Product sections of Target and Walmart (except the flat iron cover and the Mary Kay products).  Most of them are pretty self-explanatory as to what I used them for but a couple of things may not be.  

The baby powder and Ban Cooling Wipes are for Texas weather.  Yep, it gets hot and we sweat here... A LOT... even in October.  It's nice to have the baby powder for your body and underarms, but it's also nice to have to sprinkle on your feet before putting on heels or any shoes really.  It will help keep your feet cool and dry, and if you're anything like me, your feet determine your whole body's temperature.  

I have to say that the Ban Wipes were a very pleasant surprise and they worked really well!!  I happened to see them when I was grabbing the other travel items and thought, well I'm going to Houston, cooling wipes are probably a good investment!  And they were!  They worked really well and actually I found the best use of them to be on my recent camping trip.  There's nothing like a cool, soothing clean cloth when you've been sweating outside for a few days!  My one complaint would be that the individual cloths are pretty small, but the cooling sensation was great!

The other item you may question is the baby wipes.  No, I do not have children (just a husband & that's close enough right now! BAM hahaha JK Love you Hubby!!) but I ALWAYS have baby wipes.  They are so useful!  I use them all the time for simply wiping off my hands or giving myself a quick "bath" and reapplying deodorant.  They can also be used for removing your makeup (especially eye makeup) when you don't have any other means.  And they can be used for wiping away those pesky deodorant marks from your clothing!

What are your must-have products for traveling?  Any big travel plans coming up?  I'd love to hear about your trips and packing tips!!

Friday, October 24, 2014

couture sportswear

It's so nice to see brands I love popping up more and more in stores I frequent!  Another example... Juicy Couture at Kohls.  Pair that with the fact that sportswear is a huge trend this fall and you've got a winning combination for staying on trend at an affordable price.

If you don't already shop at Kohls, well I'm just going to say it, you're missing out.  I don't care who you are or what designer digs you're sporting, everyone loves a great deal!  And that's exactly what Kohls offers... quality items at great prices.  There are sales galore and rewards programs and Kohls Cash and coupon codes... it's pretty common to save just as much, if not more, than you're spending.

photo from
I love this "Couture" Cropped Sweatshirt so much!!  It's soft, lightweight and luxurious!  It also comes in a few other styles/colors and it's ON SALE right now!  Click below the thumbnail and you'll be linked directly!  Happy shopping!

*Use coupon code 'CANDY' for an extra 20% off purchases of $100 or more;
  Use coupon code 'CORN' for an extra 15% off purchases under $100  (expires Sunday October 26)

I'm wearing my sweatshirt today to the hubby's homecoming game for his flag football team with comfy leopard leggings and my trusty Adidas sandals. What are your weekend plans?  Are they dressy or casual?  Are you loving the chic sportswear trends this fall?  Have a great weekend y'all!

[Oh and p.s. I'm wearing a size Medium below!  I could have gone with the small, but I always like my sweatshirts a little big.  The standard fit on this sweatshirt is more fitted and cropped.  I wanted it just a tad larger so I went up a size.  I'd say it runs a little small since most other things I go between an XS and Small]

Monday, October 6, 2014

If my husband and I were an outfit

{If my husband and I were an outfit, this is what we'd be
Opposites attract, we're proof of this you see

He's a t-shirt kind of guy and comic heroes are his fave
I'm more influenced by Barbie, fake or not, she's a babe

Green Lantern, Flash and Hulk, he's teaching me a lot
And adding it to my fashion? It makes him happy, so why not?

Super heroes are all about fashion, just look at how they dress
I have an appreciation for the powers they possess

This outfit makes me feel beautiful, it's a little him and a little me
We're newly weds in love, I hope it's obvious to see}

Friday, October 3, 2014

mad for plaid + a comfy crock pot recipe

I am MAD FOR PLAID this fall season!!  I've been wearing a ton of plaid flannel shirts lately... big comfy shirts to lounge around as well as more fitted items and dressing them up!  Plaid is everywhere!

I love mixing and matching multiple plaids.  But my favorite trend right now has to be mixing plaid with animal prints!  I love any plaid with a great leopard print clutch or shoes... pumps or flats.

Whether you're a classic flannel shirt kind of girl, or you'd like to incorporate plaid in an accessory or interesting way, there's something for every girl here!
mad for plaid

{Shop these items by clicking thumbnails}

What's your favorite?? I really really love the cape and the backpacks!

So now that you've got some comfy outfits planned out, I also wanted to share a quick and easy, super yummy recipe!  This is great because it can be cooked relatively fast on the stove, or you can let it simmer all day in the crock pot!  I'm all about the crock pot in autumn!!  There's something so great about chopping fresh ingredients early in the day and smelling everything simmer slowly throughout the day!  Similarly, if you work outside the home during the day, especially in a cold climate, there's nothing like coming home to a meal that's already cooking and ready, that greets your nose at the door.

I really like making soups.  I've never been a big soup person, but then I got a crock pot and realized how much I loved just throwing a bunch of veggies in the pot and making an easy soup with whatever I have laying around!  It's the perfect item to pair with a salad or a grilled cheese or a baked potato, depending on how hungry you are.  And there's nothing easier to have leftover than soup because it's super easy to store, transport, and reheat.

One of my favorite soups to eat, but something I've never made, is Chicken Tortilla Soup.  My usual routine, when it comes to cooking, is looking up multiple recipes for the same thing, checking my home to see what ingredients I have, and then mixing and matching elements of the recipes into my own creation!

I am not a very experienced cook, but I do have to say that I've done a good job of catching on to seasoning by taste instead of measuring.  Usually people like baking OR cooking, but not always both.  This is mostly because they are two drastically different approaches... measuring everything precisely, or throwing things together sporadically.  I actually like both.  I love baking, always have... and now I'm loving cooking.  And cooking is a different kind of fun; it's an experimenting fun.

So, I basically found a recipe online with great reviews and pretty much followed it, but did just a couple of things differently.  I want to be clear that this is not my recipe, so please refer to the ORIGINAL RECIPE HERE from and see below for my adaptation!

please note: The recipe I followed says 8 servings... I copied many of the measurements for ingredients, and used less chicken broth than the recipe called for.  I chopped and added all ingredients into my crock pot and then topped it off with broth, so I honestly didn't measure.  I have a very small crock pot (2 person) and this ended up making about 3-4 servings total
chicken tortilla soup recipe
Like I said above, this adaptation was for me and my husband, in a small crock pot.  You may want to experiment with measurements and continually taste as you are going.  We ended up with a very flavorful, thicker soup and it was delicious!  Also, the original recipe calls for cooking this soup quickly in a pot on the stove.  I prefer cooking in the crock pot so that the vegetables really have a chance to soften and all the flavors are incorporated thoroughly.  My steps below are for my crock pot version, please follow the original recipe above for the quicker stovetop version.  

1. Sautee onions, garlic and celery in olive oil, season with salt & pepper.  Cook until everything is tender and add all ingredients into the crock pot.  I left out the carrots from the original recipe because I honestly don't remember ever having a chicken tortilla soup with carrots in it... am I wrong?  I don't know... but it just goes to show that you can use whatever you have and feel free to leave out anything you don't like.  I also used olive oil instead of corn oil because, well, I don't have corn oil and I really like to cook all of my vegetables in olive oil. You could really use whatever you have.

2. Add 1 can diced tomatoes and 1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chiles to the crock pot

3. Cook chicken thoroughly however you like.  I recommend cooking the chicken in the same pan you just cooked your veggies in.  This way you are picking up all of those flavors left on the bottom of the pan.  (I opted to use my leftover chicken breast from a restaurant because I wanted to use it up.  Another great option is using a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from your favorite deli), chop into strips or cubes, and add to the crock pot

4. Note: I had planned to chop and add some jalapeno but I forgot to buy one at the store.  This was divine intervention because after tasting this recipe, it definitely didn't need it.  The green chiles really add enough kick.  If you are making a larger batch of soup, you could consider adding some diced jalapeno if you like your soup extra spicy

5. Add taco seasoning and top off with chicken broth.  I honestly couldn't tell you the exact measurement of broth; I filled the crock pot to about 1/2 inch from the top)

6. Stir all ingredients together and put lid on crock pot.  Cook in low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

7. Immediately before serving, cut tortilla into small strips and add into the soup.  I had flour tortillas on hand so that's what I used.  I would, however, recommend using corn tortillas since they are a little thicker and harder.  The flour tortillas immediately soak up the liquid, so use them sparingly.  They do get mushy which usually I don't like, but actually I really liked some soggy tortilla in this soup!  If you want crunchier pieces, definitely use corn tortillas, or simply use tortilla chips.

8. Top each serving with shredded cheese (and a slice of avocado if you like) and serve!

*Another note: I intended to add the sour cream from the original recipe and I forgot it when I was cooking!  So I expect that the soup would have tasted even better with it and probably would have been a little on the creamier side!  I am going to make sure to not forget it next time!

I was surprised at how good this soup turned out!  Chris and I both really enjoyed it.  We ate some leftover tortilla chips on the side (also takeout from a restaurant... seriously y'all, take everything you can in your to-go boxes!! It's food you PAY for so don't leave it behind!) and some store-bought salsa.  It was such an easy meal and I enjoyed the leftovers for lunch the next day.  

This is a perfect meal for fall, so I hope you'll try to out and let me know what you think!!  Hooray for comfy clothes and comfort food!!! Do you love Fall as much as me?