5/31/17

May Update + Linkup

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Today I'm joining What's Up Wednesday for an end of the month, behind-the-blog life update. You can view the prompt questions for this post here, or just read on to find out what's been going on around here lately. And since it's Wednesday, I'm also co-hosting Style on the Daily with Amy Ann so if you have a fashion-related post I hope you'll link up with us at the end of this post.

What I'm wearing:
I didn't realize this until I was putting this post together but it turns out I am starting and ending my posts this month with the same pink peplum cami. I dressed it up a little more last time with a blazer (see it here) but wanted to be a little more comfortable and casual this time.
Top: Amazon | Sweater: Abercrombie (Current) | Jeans: Express | Shoes: Target | Bag: c/o Amazon | Short Necklace: Kendra Scott | Long Necklace: Express | Ring: Stella & Dot (Gift) | Nails: Essie Pre-Show Jitters 

Front View: 
Top: Amazon | Sweater: Abercrombie (Current) | Jeans: Express | Shoes: Target | Bag: c/o Amazon | Short Necklace: Kendra Scott | Long Necklace: Express | Ring: Stella & Dot (Gift) | Nails: Essie Pre-Show Jitters 

What I'm eating this week:
Earlier this month I shared these new Ghiradelli Caramel Baking chips that I purchased and was hoping to incorporate into some new recipes.
First I tried adding them to Laura Bush's Cowboy Cookies. (My dad always loved those cookies. although my own husband and kids aren't that into them because they have a lot of "stuff.") I reduced the amount of chocolate chips and added some of these, thinking the combination of caramel, chocolate and coconut would make them taste something like a Girl Scout Samoa, just different texture. Meh....the dough was good but I wasn't in love with the cookies and wouldn't make them again. The caramel flavor did not stand out enough for it to be worth adding to the mix.

Next I tried them in place of Peanut Butter Chips in these Peanut Butter Chip Chocolate Cookies. Once again...meh. The caramel flavor just didn't stand out enough against the chocolate (I'm sensing a pattern!). After two fails, I doubt I will buy these again. (And in case you're wondering I adjusted the batch sizes of both recipes to use just half a bag of the chips so I didn't waste them all on one potential failure!) I'll just stick to butterscotch chips for a similar but more pronounced flavor in future recipes.

After two failures I still had an itch to try a new successful recipe this month, so I tried these Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Graham Cracker Cookies:
Image and recipe via PeanutButter.com

These were a hit! I love peanut butter and chocolate, and the crushed graham crackers added a nice texture and flavor to these. This recipe is definitely going in my "Official Recipe Binder."

What I've been up to:
This month was a big one for me as I completed and passed my Black Belt test in Tae Kwon Do. I spent a lot of time reviewing and practicing for the test and it's so nice to be over that extra stress load. I shared more thoughts on that achievement and things I learned in the process here.

On the family front, we spent Memorial Day re-arranging some furniture and things in the house to give my youngest son his own room. He's been asking for this for awhile, but we kept putting it off for one reason or another. The holiday weekend gave us adequate time to tackle that project so we finally did it and the kids are very happy about it. It's a season of change around here for sure!

What I'm working on:
I'm working on a few different things in different areas of my life, so I broke this question into three categories.

1. Personal: I'm always working on keeping my social media time to a reasonable level and not letting it distract me from other things I need to be doing. My key focus right now is watching a very minimal amount of Instagram Stories (if any). I have found these end up taking a lot of time to get through because of all the talking. Even more than Snapchat since the list of people I follow on Instagram is much longer and I didn't have to actively follow them on a separate platform. I haven't figured out my exact plan for setting limits on this right now, so it's a work in progress and maybe something I'll work on figuring out for a Monday Motivation post.

2. Family: By the time you're reading this, we have seven more days of school here. I have to be at school for volunteer or parental support purposes on four of those days. I'm looking forward to each of those events, but the time commitment at school will necessitate some adjustments in Category 3!

3. Blog: Due to the family/school life schedule for the next couple of weeks I'll be running the blog on "lite content mode." In other words, mostly just simple outfit posts, not a lot of "extra" conversational stuff like this. I think I will also do my Outfit Recap on Fridays in lieu of a regular Friday post instead since that will save me some time. I had a couple of requests for an Amazon Post (specifically how I find my pieces there since it is indeed an overwhelming site), and one request for a current Nail Polish Favorites post. I am happy to oblige those requests and they are both on my agenda for later in June once school finishes up and we settle into a summer schedule!

What I'm reading:
I officially separated my book reviews into a separate post for May, so if you're interested in my thoughts on any of the books shown below, be sure to check out this post.
May Book Review 2017

What I'm doing this weekend:
This weekend is going to be busy and fun! Friday night we are going to a couples dance workshop. On Saturday morning I'm getting up early and heading to a Tae Kwon Do Tournament...where I'm competing! My coach has been pushing me to do a tournament and I told him if I passed the Black Belt Test I would do it. So here we go! Then on Saturday afternoon and evening my kids have two performances with their Parkour Team, so there goes the day. On Sunday I think I'll just want to relax!

What I'm looking forward to next month + What I'm excited about:
I'm combining these questions this month because the answer is one in the same: SUMMER BREAK! I'm ready for a break from homework and volunteering. And I'm also looking forward to all of the social opportunities that come with summer. Everyone just seems more friendly and willing to get out of the house when the weather is nice and the nights are warmer.

Well that's a pretty lengthy update even without the full book reviews so I think I will stick to this format for June. Thanks for reading!


Linking up with:
grab button for On the Daily Express
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Link Up Hosts:

Join us to share your Style on the Daily by linking up your latest fashion-related posts below! If you link up, we ask that you link back to your hosts Amy Ann and Gina and follow us on the social media platform of your choice. Thank you!

CONVERSATION

16 comments:

  1. This pink top is so pretty and feminine, I agree summer always brings a lot more social engagements.

    xo
    Pinksole

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  2. Schools been out for us for a few weeks and it's nice to have a break. Those peanut butter/chocolate chip cookies sound so good! Good luck with your tournament this weekend!

    Jill
    Doused In Pink

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  3. My kids have 7 more days as well, I'm ready to shut the alarm off. :)
    Jaymie

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  4. Those cookies with graham cracker sound so good! I love anything with peanut butter. Your slightly more casual outfit with your pink peplum is lovely! I have similar items and hope I can recreate it soon!

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  5. You're a dedicated person and your ability to keep trying until you found the best cookie is no surprise. I love s'mores anything and think the chunks of graham cracker crust is one of the reasons why. Like you said, it's not just the flavor but the added texture. On Instagram stories, I've just found that I can't watch everyone. Nor do I want to because some people post a lot of long lengthy boring stuff. So I only watch a couple and ignore the rest. Instagram starts putting the people you watch at the beginning every time even if you haven't watched the other ones. It makes it easy. So spend that time with your family.

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  6. I am loving your book recommendations! I've read a few on that list. Those cookies look amazing!! You're making me want to bake today!

    Katherine | www.oneswainkycouple.com

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  7. I totally agree about Instagram stories! There ends up only being about a half a dozen people I can keep up with there. It is overwhelming. Lately I have been letting them play while I am getting ready in the morning. Multitasking! And I loooove that pink cami!
    Caryl | http://morepiecesofme.com

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  8. Wow congrats on the black belt! That's awesome. Tae kwon do is something I wish I did earlier!

    Enclothed Cognition

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  9. That pink cami is so pretty, and I hear ya on going to light mode for the blog and social media. I need to find that happy medium as well where I'm still engaging with blog friends but not wasting so much time <3
    Green Fashionista

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  10. I love this outfit so much! The colors are beautiful on your skin tone and those shoes are amazing! Target has been killing it!

    I agree quite strongly on the insta stories and must confess that I rarely watch them! They really are so much more time consuming and I don't really care to see what everyone I follow is like I'm "real" life so I stick to the small amount I follow on snap.
    And how exciting you're competing this weekend! Good luck! You'll have to tell us how it goes :)

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  11. You're doing a Tae Kwon Do tournament?! Awesome!! I would be scared. Can't wait to hear about it!

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  12. Those peanut butter cookies sound amazing! I also admire your intentionality about limiting social media. It is hard! Yay for almost summer break! Love that pink cami.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

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  13. Your peplum top is so pretty and I love your heels!

    xx, Elise
    www.sparkleandslippers.blogspot.com

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  14. Love the blush pink on you Gina. Such a pretty top and you styled it so well. Congrats on the new linkup too. I love the nane.

    I host a style linkup every Thursday and would love for you to share your latest posts. You have great style. Link is below.

    http://eleganceandmommyhood.blogspot.com/2017/06/thursday-moda-66-cold-shoulder-dresses.html

    Ada =)

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  15. Hey! A tournament!! Do tell more! Send me deets! I have never desired to wear a peplum top but you sure make them look cute!!

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  16. i love love love caramel so that's a bummer about the chips, but i can see that happening (says the person who's never baked a thing in her life), the caramel not standing out. i have like 5 people on instagram that i will actually really watch their stories, especially if they are talking. i flick through everyone elses, and i don't follow enough people that it takes a crazy long time, but if too many people post 10+ with talking, it's a time suck and i just can't be bothered wasting that time lol. oooh your amazon post sounds super interesting, i am definitely curious about that. amazon can be super overwhelming and also hit or miss depending on which seller or whatever.
    congrats on your Black Belt Test! hope the Tournament went well! so so sorry about being so behind on everything, thank you for always linking up with us :)

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