In Love With The Palm Tree

It may be evident by now that I don't like spending gobs of money on clothes. Well, hopefully it isn't THAT evident, ha! I love finding clothes that look nice but that have prices that won't break the bank. You may be familiar already with The Palm Tree Boutique, especially after they sponsored two of the giveaways from our Five on Friday fall giveaway recently. I'm in love with this store and wanted to show you some of their cute pieces for fall.

Additionally, they offer free shipping if your purchase total is $50 or more, and you can now use the code ALIZ10% to earn 10% off your purchase, but only for the next month!

The Palm Tree Boutique

My new favorite shirt is the PIKO Top in Orchid (also available in black, olive, wine). This top is way comfy -- soft and super-stretchy -- and has a wide scoop neck, so you can let it blouse loosely around the neck or let it fall naturally down one of your shoulders. 

Baby drool on the shirt not included.

Today I am wearing this exact outfit. This is the Easy Breezy Tunic in Taupe (also available in black, olive, and red) and I've paired it with brown skinny cords, and oldie-but-goodie JCrew pearl necklace, and Kate Spade flats.

I'm really excited for our next date nite when I can wear my Love Is In The Air Dress in Hot Pink. I love the crochet hem. I got the idea of wearing it with boots from their website, and I also love how that model is wearing it with a scarf around the neck.

They receive new shipments weekly, so the products refresh all the time. I am also loving these new store items:

Shadow Of Love Sequin Tunic - Grey

Just Chill Palazzo Pants

A Day In The City Houndstooth Jacket

Thank you to The Palm Tree Boutique for helping a gal dress well without overspending.

Remember, use code ALIZ10% for 10% off your order, but only for the next month. Happy shopping!


Current Baby Loves -- 5 Months

It seems like a daily comment around here. "This baby is changing SO much every single day!"

This past Sunday, I was getting her dressed on her changing table, and she started pulling her torso up, like she was doing a sit-up. Now that just opens a new can of worms.

With all of this growth and change, I'm always on the hunt for new items to keep her amused and learning. Here are some of our current baby favorites from Amazon -- my favorite way to shop these days (i.e., fast, easy, and does not require lugging that heavy carseat in and out of my car).

Carters Sing and Dance Plush Toy, Pink Elephant
I received this elephant at my work baby shower from a fellow mom. I personally thought it was a little obnoxious but I'll be darned if she doesn't LOVE it. So now, I obviously love it too. When you press the hand, the elephant sings "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and moves its hands and legs. Plus, there are crinkly ears and lots of different-textured fabrics. She really seems to like it when I sing along with the elephant ... or maybe she is just amazed at how bad a singing voice can be. Regardless, I'm adding this to my arsenal of good baby shower gifts to give friends.

Baby Faces Book
Between the really low price-point, free shipping with Prime, and wonderful reviews on Amazon, I snatched this book right up. Camille loves looking at the different baby faces on each page, and I personally think she has a crush on a few of them with the way she stares at certain pages.

Fisher Price Kick and Play Piano Gym
I kept reading awesome reviews of this gym, and one day it showed up on our doorstep ... a surprise gift from some of our friends. What I like about this is that it has three "stages" to grow along with baby. A long-lasting toy in the baby world, which I'm figuring out can be hard to find. Great for tummy time, too.

Johnny Jump Up, Frogs
This doorframe jumpy seat is a new addition to our home, and Camille is just starting to get the hang of it. She didn't love it at first, so we kept her time in it limited to just a minute or two, and then she started liking it more. Sometimes we just play music for her and swing her around in it. Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" gets her grooving every time.

My Amazon Prime membership has more than paid for itself with free 2-day shipping. Last night I ordered more of my favorite bottle brushes (trust me, there is a BIG difference between brands) at 10:01pm ... by 10:30am this morning they were on my doorstep. Now that's fun.


Beer Cheese Soup Recipe

Okay. The beer cheese soup.

It is seriously one of my favorite parts about chilly temperatures.

Two years ago, I was sitting up at the bar of an Irish pub at Chateau Elan, a winery outside of Atlanta GA. I was traveling for business -- I don't normally seek out Irish pubs mid-week, ha. It was rainy and gross outside, and a bowl of hot soup sounded just about perfect. 

When I tasted their beer cheese soup, I seriously considered ordering a second bowl. It was that good. I hesitantly asked the bartender if she would see if there was any way that the chef would share his recipe.

Next thing I knew, he was out of the kitchen, standing in front of me and writing down this recipe on some receipt paper. He scaled it down from the large restaurant portion to one that will easily serve two with lots of leftovers. Everything got scaled down except for the heavy cream as you'll see in the photo below. More on that later.

With a name like beer cheese soup, you know that the beer taste is a pretty distinct one. The chef called for "2 bottles Bud" but I decided last week to use some local brews in mine -- OMB's Mecktoberfest. 

Beer Cheese Soup
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 bags shredded cheddar
2 bottles beer
1/2 pint heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste

So, you'll start off by making a roux. I shied away from anything that mentioned "roux" for years and years. But no need to be be shy like I was; a roux is a fancy word for just mixing equal parts of a fat with flour over medium heat. In this case, you just melt the butter then whisk in the flour. Simple.

The roux acts like a thickening agent for the soup. Once the roux is mixed in your big pot, add in the garlic and onion.

When the garlic and onion are golden, add in the cayenne, beer, and the cheese.

Ignore the 4 quarts of heavy cream in the handwritten recipe -- about half of this pint will be all you need.

 The soup will be this yummy golden color and a nice consistency.

Season it up with a little salt and pepper to taste. I like mine pretty salty. I added in ten little pinches of salt until it tasted "right." This may be too salty for you.


We go pretty simple with ours -- a hunk of bread or a biscuit is all you really need to make a fantastic meal of it.

Please let me know if you make this ... I'd love to hear what you think!


Weekend Notes

We had such a fun weekend ... fun times out and about AND low-key time at the house. A great balance.

Ian and I have talked recently about the importance of good family time together and what sort of memories we want Camille to have. Two Fridays ago we picked her up from daycare and went on a walk around the lake at Freedom Park. This past Friday, I brought her home and we all spent some time together on a blanket in the backyard enjoying the weather. I know at five months old, she is not going to remember these exact moments, but she can still tell when she is having fun with both parents right there with her. 

After she went to bed Friday, Ian and I had Chinese takeout and watched American Horror Story ... so spooky this season and we love it. 

Saturday, we went out to the barbeque competition in uptown Charlotte where we got to hang out with Christina and Caroline for a bit. The main part of the barbeque festival was super crowded and we had our big stroller, so we navigated instead over to the Epicenter where Ian and I had a great lunch at IOS Greek Kitchen (yum!) while Camille took a little stroller snooze.

On the way home we picked up dinner ingredients and then just hung out at home the rest of the day. We really enjoy our nights on the patio and our video monitor has a great reach so we can watch and hear the baby! Ian grilled burgers for us and we had some oven fries. I had a pumpkin beer and just messed around on my iPad while Ian watched football. 

Sunday we met some friends for an outdoor lunch at Village Tavern in Southpark. The husbands grew up together and now we both have little girls. 

Later that evening, we had a babysitter come over which was a little nerve-wracking for me ... the first time anyone other than a family member has stayed with Camille! I bought Ian tickets to Scarowinds for part of his birthday present ... I hadn't been to Carowinds in well over twenty years, and we've been talking for years about how badly we wanted to go when they were all Halloweened out. He LOVES Halloween and was so jazzed. Two of our friends went with us and we ended up buying the fast-passes so we just walked right up to the rides and hopped on.

Let me just say this ... I have always been absolutely terrified of roller coasters, but last night was huuuuuge for this girl. I promised my roller-coaster-loving husband that I'd try at least one. I think we rode six or seven! I conquered that fear, and it felt good!

Dare I say I even enjoyed them?!

Even old dogs can learn new tricks, I guess.


Five on Friday

Time for Five On Friday and I hope you'll link up today with me, Darci, Christina, and Natasha!

Remember, all you have to do is post about five things on your mind, add our logo (bottom of the post), and join the party using the linky tools below. Easy and a great way to find new blogs and be found.

Time to announce our big giveaway winner!

Congratulations goes to ... Jen of Life, Love and Puppy Paws who was randomly chosen from all who linked up for Five on Friday for winning the giveaway! Please contact one of the Five on Friday hosts to claim your prizes. We hope you love all of your new fall goodies, and thank you again to all of our generous giveaway sponsors!

Whatever Is Lovely Print

I had a great lunch the other day and so enjoy working at home so I can work on fridge leftovers so easily. I had leftover beer cheese soup, homemade chicken salad with crackers, and honeycrisp apple slices. Delish.

I'll admit it ... I am newly obsessed with 19 Kids & Counting. Who am I?!?! Ian just shakes his head ... I think he's scared it's making me want eighteen more babies. Mmmm ... maybe not. But seriously, I just love how sweet this family is, and I have to say that a wholesome show like this is a welcome breath of fresh air from the other shows I watch where every third word is often being bleeped out.

Any fellow Keurig owners? And are you a member of Amazon Prime? A few months back I signed us up for a monthly recurring shipment of 72 Donut Shop K-cups through Amazon Prime. By using their "Subscribe and Save" program you save a certain percent off (I think 5%) and it just bills us monthly and the coffee show up at our door. Today is coffee delivery day for us which is great because only three pods remain from our last shipment ... soon to be two.

My husband's birthday was Wednesday and we had a great time celebrating him. His evening started off with a massage I booked for him at 5:00. When he got back to the house, we did cards and presents. Mom was in town, so she gave Camille her last bottle before bed and Ian and I had a great dinner at Fig Tree while she stayed with the baby. It was my first time eating at Fig Tree, and it was delicious! We used Uber to get to and from dinner and that was a nice treat.

Happy weekending to you and yours, and hope you'll link up with us ... it makes our day!


Honeycrisp Apple Sangria {Revisited}

This time last year I was almost three months pregnant, so honeycrisp apple sangria was off of the weekend menu. Well ... it's back. :)

I once followed a recipe for this drink but now I just sort of eyeball it. Today you'll be getting the "eyeball it" version of the recipe!

As a base, I used a pinot grigio. I wanted the wine to pick up on the flavors of the honey and cinnamon sticks, so a heartier wine like an oaky chardonnay may not have worked as well as a lighter one, in my opinion.

I felt sort of skeezy uncorking the wine at 7am on a Saturday morning, but the longer you can let it sit, the better.

In a large pitcher, I added the wine, some honey, a few dashes of peach schnapps, honeycrisp apple slices and cinnamon sticks. The skeezy feeling crept back as I was adding alcohol to alcohol, but don't worry, you'll cut it with seltzer before serving which will bring the alcohol content back down to a non-skeezy level. :)

So after that all sits all day long in a pitcher with those delicious fall flavors "mingling", you'll wet the rim of your glass with water or a lemon slice and invert it on a saucer holding a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Don't be tempted to skip this step, it's the best part! Then just pour in the sangria and top your glass off with some apple slices and seltzer water to get it nice and fizzy.

You can use plain seltzer water or a flavored seltzer ... I found this grapefruit and lemon version which gave it a really nice flavor.

So that's it! Fall in a glass. 


Our Pumpkin Patch Trip

If you live in or around Charlotte, you may already know about Hodges Farm and Pumpkin Patch. It's about a twenty-five minute drive from our house and a cute way to spend an October morning.

Last year was our first trip to Hodges. And just when you start to think that one year flies by so quickly and  doesn't make that much of a difference...

A big difference indeed! Now we have the most adorable pouty pumpkin ever.

Ohhh, that little one. She is a trip. She seemed pretty interested in the big orange round things all over the ground. Crazy to think that next year she'll be able to walk around on her own!

Our little pumpkin ... she sure is something else. :)


Monday Notes

How do we find ourselves at Monday so quickly?!

Another week starts and man oh man, this is a dreary one here in Charlotte. Grey skies and just yucky. Plus I'm off to the doctor today as I've caught a little sickness that I would have hoped to kick by now. Whomp whomp.

On a happier note, we had a nice weekend and even fulfilled the cliche new parent duty of taking some adorable photos of Camille in a pumpkin patch!

Yesterday we attended a birthday party for a 2-year old. It was horse-themed and precious. Camille's first birthday party of many.

Last night we made beer cheese soup and I will definitely be sharing that recipe soon. It's a must-make for the fall.

We chose a winner for the Five on Friday fall giveaway and we will announce who it is in this week's link-up, so make sure to stop on by. One of you will be VERRRRY excited to see your name!

Lastly, thank you to all of you who contacted me about our dog Drake. I'm so happy he is in better health now and it seems as if some of you fellow dog-mamas know exactly how painful it can be to see your pet aging. Pulls on those heartstrings.

Hope your weekend was a lovely one!
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