Thursday, December 31, 2015

My 2015 : Growth Within the Cracks

     I almost didn't write this post. I started writing thinking Wow, this year was a total fail.  Nothing amazing happened worthy of telling. But then I started looking through my journal and photographs of the past year... and my words leaped out of the pages, hoping that somehow I'd see the story unfolding within the scribbled notes. 
     I somehow thought that only perfect moments could be documented. That somehow the rest of our every days shouldn't be remembered or written down. That our triumphs are worth more than our struggles and tear-stained cheeks. But this year changed my perspective. It wasn't a year of much commotion or "successes", or even big changes on the outside I guess you could say. But what I gained is worth more than anything this world could've ever given me in an entire lifetime. 
     Amongst the days that were filled with tears and questions and confusion, I learned to praise His name in all things. A fire has sparked in my soul and it is the most overwhelming and loving, unreachable, reachable, crazy, immensely, beautiful feeling that I have ever felt. I have come to whisper and shout Jesus' name in every circumstance in my life. Where I once felt like it was an obligation, I now know that I have a God that not only hears me and sees me... but He delights and walks with me everyday.
     And so this year was not a failure at all, it was little cracks of happenings that made me grow in places that would've not, had anything happened differently. And so where growth happens, change will follow. I'm learning to be happy within the circumstances, and enjoy the season and people that are around me in this moment. 
     For the upcoming year, rather than set many plans and change yourself into a new person, I say leave some room for ideas and unplanned growth. Do what delights you, do what makes you feel happy... dance, sing, bake, skate, read, cook... there is no limit! Whatever you do, do out of passion and love. I can't wait to see what 2016 will bring... thank you so much for following along these words and photographs that represent who I am and all of my heart. I wish you and your loved ones a beautiful year!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My 2016 Reading List

     The past year I've grown a love and hunger for reading. I love both fictional and non-fictional, love stories, memoirs, mystery, etc,... Reading leaves me inspired and it allows me to engulf myself on adventures and destinations within my mind. It's funny when you're a child, adults have to sort of push you to read and to want to learn... but as I've gotten older I've fallen in love with learning and discovering new things all on my own. It delights me and stays in my mind, and everything sort of clicks together in my life. 
     And so here is my reading list I will tackle within the new year, I may or may not add a few more books depending on what I find ;). What are new books or things you want to tackle in 2016?


1. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
2. The Finishing School by Valerie Woerner
3. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
4. If You Find This Letter by Hannah Brencher 
5. It's Not What You Think by Jefferson Bethke
6. Undone by Michele Cushatt
7. For The Love by Jen Hatmaker
8. Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Christmas Story

     Christmas is only a day away and so I wanted to share a recent drama skit I loved being a part of at my Church's annual Christmas Spectacular. Most of us know the story of baby Jesus being born around this time in a stable and sleeping in a manger in the little town of Bethlehem. But there is so much more to the story and we wanted to portray why and what made God's gift to us so incredibly special. 
     You see here we are on Earth and God is up above in Heaven. God knew that no matter what we do, we could never be good enough to stand before Him truly innocent. So here is the incredible part: God himself came down to be with us and became a person and then that separation we had from Him was broken. 
     No longer would anyone ever be able to say God doesn't know what I go through... because that's exactly what His son Jesus did. Jesus who was perfect in every way, left His Father and Home to come down to us and be with us and endured all of life's struggles and ultimately death, for me... and for you. 
     No longer does anyone have to go to a higher priest or person to get to God. No religious ceremony, no rituals... just Jesus. I no longer have to be good enough, try harder, or do more to get favor with God. I just have to accept His gift. Isn't that a relief? God came down, and came for everyone. He loves us that much. 

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. / John 1:14

     But the interesting part of the story was how He came. Most people thought the Messiah (Jesus) would come as a rich ruler or famous king or warrior... but a baby? That was just so... completely opposite of what everyone thought. That's the thing with God... He doesn't always do things how we would.  
     And so this event in which God would send His son to Earth among us, was so incredible in that He would save us from our sins, and bring us Life .... that you can imagine it wasn't too pleasing to the devil. He along with his dark powers and spirits did try to stop Jesus's mission at every moment they had, including His birth. 

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. / Ephesians 6:12

     As you watch the video, the first part shows two angels leading Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem and protecting them while Jesus is born. The devil and his demons are then introduced to portray that the devil was always scheming and trying to get to Jesus. 
     Then you see the angel Gabriel warning Joseph that He must take Mary and Jesus and escape to Egypt, because in the next scene you will see King Herod ordering that all baby boys of a certain age are to be killed. (You see the devil and his demons constantly watching over this). 
     Finally the last scene shows the angels and the demons battling in spiritual warfare and when the devil tries to get to baby Jesus, God's army defeats them.
     The story of Christmas is about God coming down to us. God loving us so much that He gave Himself as the only thing we would ever need. Jesus plus nothing. And that is the most beautiful gift anyone could ever receive. I wish you all a beautiful Christmas... enjoy the video below!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Recipes | Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Caramel Cookies)

     The Holidays are coming up and what better time than to experiment with new recipes right? These cookies in particular are my favorite and they are AMAZING. The combination of sweet, gooey caramel and coconut flakes with the moist, melt in your mouth cookie will leave you eating more than you ever wanted to. 
     I have been making these cookies for a few years and every time I bring them to an event, they pretty much are gone within minutes. The amount of ingredients seem intimidating, but once you make them you'll see it isn't difficult at all! Try them for your next party... just make sure to save a few for yourself! ;) Happy Baking!


36 Servings
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

1 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups cornstarch
1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 teaspoons baking powder
3 egg yolks

3/4 cup white sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 (11.5 ounce) jar dulce de leche
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and baking powder; set aside.

  2. 2. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, allowing each yolk to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. 

  3. 3. Beat in the vanilla rum, vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest with the last egg. Gently fold in the flour mixture with a spoon, making a crumbly dough. When the dough becomes cohesive enough, press it together into a ball with your hands. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

  4. 4. Roll out the dough, using as little flour as possible, about 1/4 inch thick. The dough will have an unusual consistency. Cut with a small round cookie cutter. Continue pressing the dough together, rolling it out, and cutting until you have used it all. Place cookies 1/2 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets.

  5. 5. Bake in the preheated oven until set but not browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the cookies immediately to cool on a wire rack.

  6. 6. Spread the underside of a cooled cookie with a teaspoon of dulce de leche, then sandwich together with another cookie until the caramel oozes out the sides. Roll the sides in the shredded coconut.

  7. Recipe via

Saturday, December 5, 2015

A New York City Christmas | 2015

     I love going into the city every year to see the new decorations they put up and the excitement of the sparkling lights beaming off the buildings. They had the theme song from the Home Alone movie on replay every few minutes and I was all "Kevin!! Kevin!!....Mom!!", that part at the end of the movie where Kevin finally sees his Mom always makes me cry. 
     Though there is always a hustle and bustle of people rushing through the streets, I'm so happy we still have these beautiful reminders of the Christmas season among us.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Christmas Favorites | Gift Guide 2015

     Since it's the first day of December, it only seemed fitting to compile a gift guide of some of my favorites on my Christmas list this year. Now I know I won't be getting all of these things all in one time (hey a girl can dream!), but I still love some of these items and thought they would also make lovely gifts for some people on your gift list. What are you wishing for this year? Happy Gifting!

A leather camera strap has been on my list for as long as I can remember, and this ONA one is so beautiful and classic. 

I wanted this pretty scarf the minute I saw it on the website and surprisingly it hasn't sold out...yet. It's perfect to top over a winter coat and add just the right amount of color. 

I am constantly on the search for new books from the fear of not having one on hand when I finish my last one, call me old school ;). I've heard so many good things on this one and so I need to get my hands on it soon.

Okay I've been saying I will buy this amazing palette for the past 4 years and I never got around to it. The colors are beautiful different ranges of neutral to smokey... perfect for any event. 

I love anything from Rifle Paper Co. and their calendars are no exception. This one showcases beautifully painted cities throughout the year... it would make any wall instantly stylish and chic. 

The second I received my Instax camera I finished all of the film. Okay not really, but they do go sooo fast!! It's an addiction and I need extra packs of these on hand at.all.times. =D

This tote is the absolute definition of timeless chic. I love the simplicity of the black with the stylish chestnut leather straps. Perfect for the summer and fall.

Yes another book. What can I say? I can't help myself!! I've heard how inspiring this book is and I can't wait to dig in and read her story.