SOCIAL MEDIA

1.10.2019

Balustrade Coffee Table DIY Plans











I can hardly believe we have lived in our new house almost one year! When we moved in in January 2018, I started assessing what new furniture we would need. I didn't buy anything before the move because, for me, it takes a little living in the house to find out what you really need. At the time, our current coffee table was much too small in the new, large living room. So, I quickly sold it on Facebook thinking we would buy a larger one soon anyways. I did a lot of online shopping, and found the perfect table from Restoration Hardware... but it definitely wasn't the perfect price. Ummm, I don't know about you, but it sure wasn't in the budget to spend $1600 on a coffee table (and that was the smallest size option too)! So, I did some more shopping and found several knock off (yet just as nice) tables between $500 and $800. Not bad... but, let's be real... that's still kinda up there for a table I want to put my feet up on and spill my coffee all over (we all know it's going to happen)... Well, 10 months later and we still didn't have a coffee table. Since Michael is an amazing woodworker I decided to start looking for plans to build one... and what do you know... Ana White (bless her!!) has the exact plans for the balustrade coffee table I had picked out. Minus a few small tweaks, it was exactly what I wanted! I started making several hints in November to Michael about how I would just love him to make this table. ;) Well, Christmas comes and surprise! My husband's gift to me is this new table. The only change we made to the plan was the size of the table. We went with a 46" x 30" table to conserve some floor space in our living room. Michael had never made this style of table before, so he took his time making sure every detail was perfect. Overall, he spent 2-3 days worth of time assembling it, sanding, staining, and applying polyurethane... and boy is she a beauty! The BEST part about this table to me though... instead of spending anywhere from $500-$1600, we had under $270 total in our table from start to finish! Now, that's what I'm talking about! The most expensive part of the table is definitely the legs. Since Michael didn't have the tools to create legs like this, we opted to buy them from an online shop. If you wanted to switch out the legs to just standard square posts you could probably save at least an additional $75.

You can find all the info for how we made our DIY Balustrade Coffee Table below:

-Plans by Ana-White: Balustrade Coffee Table Plans 
We changed the size of the table, but otherwise followed the plans.

-We bought our balustrade legs for the table here: Osborne Wood

-Stain Color here: Jacobean by MinWax

-Polyurethane here: Matte Polyurethane by Varathane

-Michael used a brush to apply the stain and wiped it away with a soft rag. He applied the polyurethane with a HVLP sprayer.

Now that Michael has built our dining table and coffee table, he is really getting into this furniture building thing. Can't wait to see what he comes up with next! <3 #proudwife
12.22.2018

Happy Cards Christmas Giveaway










Merry Christmas, friends! My husband and I are in Michigan this year enjoying time with his family for Christmas. I'm enjoying lots of relaxing and pajama time at my in laws cozy house. Since Christmas is the season of giving I thought it would be so fun to host a giveaway... Today I'm excited to be partnering with Happy Cards to give away a $100 Happy Lady gift card! Happy Cards offers gift cards at your local grocer. CLICK HERE TO FIND A HAPPY CARDS LOCATION NEAR YOU. These gift cards have amazing combos (hello Sephora and Cheesecake Factory) and make the perfect gift for any friend or loved one... They even have mens and teen gift cards! The perfect last minute gift to grab!

For today's giveaway, one lucky lady will receive a $100 Happy Lady gift card to spend at Panera, Sephora, Lord & Taylor, Cheesecake Factory, Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth, Bed Bath & Beyond, or SpaFinder.com ! Use the entry form below to enter... The winner will be announced via e-mail at noon on Christmas Eve! Thank you to Happy Cards for sponsoring today's post.

11.12.2018

Homemade Pumpkin Chai Tea Latte Recipe With Milo's Tea







This post is sponsored by Milo’s Tea.

This year I discovered the yummyness of a pumpkin chai tea latte at my local chain coffee shop... For those of you that might not be coffee drinkers, this is the perfect non-coffee alternative to a pumpkin spice latte. It gives you all the Fall/Winter, cozy feelings without the strong taste of coffee. Since I didn't want to spend $5 every time I had a craving for a pumpkin chai I decided to try to recreate it at home... If you are from the south, then you know all about Milo's Tea. We love and drink it when we are visiting the south. So, we were totally shocked and surprised when we saw that Milo's is now available at our local grocery store in the Cincinnati area! Turns out, you can
find Milo’s in many cities nationwide! Their product is located in the refrigerated
juice section of your local supermarket, use their product locator to find a retailer near
you.  I decided to use Milo's Tea to try to create the perfect at home pumpkin chai tea latte. It was a success, and I think I like it even better than the fancy coffee shop version... So, I thought I would share it with all my friends! This would be the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving dessert menu.


Milo’s award-winning tea is made with all natural ingredients and is the ideal
beverage for holiday meals. Their products are available sweetened with pure cane
sugar, no calorie sweetened with sucralose, or unsweet.
Chai Tea

2 cups unsweetened Milo's Tea
2 whole cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
2 TB pure maple syrup

Latte


1/2 cup chai tea recipe above
3/4 cup whole milk
1 TBSP pumpkin puree
1-2 TB pure maple syrup (according to how sweet you like it)
pinch ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. For the chai tea: In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the Milo's Tea and spices to a boil. Whisk the spices into the tea completely as it heats. Once the water reaches a boil, turn off the heat and allow the spices to steep in the water for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, turn the heat back on and add the maple syrup. Return to a slight boil (the goal is a hot liquid for steeping). Once boiling, turn off the heat. Allow tea to steep in the spices for another 5 minutes. You can heat your latte mixture during this time. Pour the tea through a fine mesh strainer (a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth is very important. Coffee filters will not work.) Reserve 1/2 cup of chai tea for the latte. Store the rest of the chai tea in the fridge up to two weeks for freshness.
  2. For the latte: In a medium-size saucepan, bring the milk, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and pinch of cinnamon to a slight boil (the sides of the milk will begin to bubble), Make sure you keep it on medium heat so the milk will not curdle... stirring often. Once the sides of the milk begin to bubble, remove the pan from heat immediately. I used a whisk to blend the milk and make it frothy as it heated. 
  3. Pour 1/2 cup of chai tea in a mug or glass. Slowly add the warm, frothy pumpkin milk to the tea. I topped it with some whipped cream and sprinkled the top with an extra pinch of cinnamon.
  4. Serve warm.

Recipe Notes

Shake and strain the extra chai tea after refrigeration as some leftover spices can settle at the bottom of the jar.
To make this recipe dairy-free, use canned coconut milk (shake first before opening) instead of whole milk. 




9.22.2018

Crockpot White Chicken Chili Recipe



Happy Fall! Today is the first day of Fall, so that means it's officially the beginning of chili weather...Who else loves chili weather?! There is just something about a hot bowl of chili on a crisp Fall night.... My family has been making this particular White Chicken Chili for several years. It's our go-to recipe for a chilly evening at home. This recipe is definitely not your typical chili. It's a mexican inspired white chili with chicken, rotel, cream cheese, and a load of yummy spices! It's hearty and filling, yet quick and easy. Whenever my mom makes it, all of her married kids find themselves "stopping by" to grab a bowl...  It's just that good! The recipe was passed on from my cousin, Danette, and now all the ladies in my family have shared the recipe.




 What You Will Need

1 can of black beans
1 can of corn
2 cans Rotel (I use Mild, but if you like it spicier you can use the Original)
1 packet of Hidden Valley ranch dressing mix
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 8 oz package of cream cheese (I use light)
3 medium sized chicken breasts (or 3 large cans of chicken)

For Toppings or Dipping

shredded cheese
sour cream
tortilla chips


Directions

Drain and rinse black beans. Place chicken at the bottom of your crockpot, then add corn (undrained), rotel (undrained), and black beans. Top with seasonings and ranch mix. Stir together. Place cream cheese on top. Cover with lid and cook on high for 3-3.5 hours. (You can also put it on low for 6 hours). After chicken is fully cooked shred it with two forks inside of crockpot. Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Serve with sour cream and shredded cheese.

Since this is a thicker stew I like to top it with cheese and sour cream, and dip tortilla chips in mine. So yummy! Enjoy!


9.14.2018

My 3 Favorite Fall Trends of 2018


Fall Fashion is my absolute favorite. There is just something about cozy layers that gets me excited everytime the Fall season starts to roll around. I love to stick to the traditional, classic plaids, wools, and Ralph Lauren-esque looks during the cold winter months... but this year there are some new trends that are really catching my eye, so I thought I would share with you My 3 Favorite Fall Trends of 2018.

Overall Dresses/Jumpers







This is a blast from the past for me, personally. I grew up in the 90's and everybody wore jumpers. I mean I feel like my childhood was jumper heaven... So, when overall dresses started to make a comeback I was hesitant at first... After a while the new sleek, modern, approach to jumpers really started to grow on me. So, I went on an expedition to find the perfect overall dress to add to my Classically Courtney Collection with Lace & Lilac. After a long search, (what can I say... I'm picky!) we finally found the perfect cozy, caramel colored overall dress. I love that it is so sleek and trendy, yet it will pair perfectly with classic riding boots, boot socks, and your favorite thermal, sweater,or plaid button up. I'm wearing the small in the overall dress and it fits true to size. I'm normally a small or a size 6.

https://www.lacenlilac.com/collections/classically-courtney-collection/products/classic-caramel-overall-dress
CLICK HERE TO SHOP MY OVERALL DRESS

Newsboy/Cabby Hats




I have been into these hats for years. My sister, Brooklyn, has been a hat girl for life. She has worn this style of hat since we were teenagers. I always loved them, but never thought that I could pull them off. Over the past few years I decided that... life is short... if I like it, I'm going to wear it! ha! So, now I am definitely a self-proclaimed "hat girl"... I wear many different styles of hats all through Fall and Winter, and even baseball caps in the Summer. When the newsboy style hat started becoming popular again I was so excited because it is one of my favorite classic styles! You can shop the hat I'm wearing below. It's only $11.99 with free shipping if you have Amazon Prime, and it's also available in several other colors. I'm wearing the coffee color.



Long, Textured Cardigans





Long cardigans have been popular for the past few Fall seasons, but I am loving the chunky, textured, fuzzy options that are popular this year. I mean what is better than feeling like you're wearing your robe, but looking cute and put-together at the same time?! Ha! I love cozy, warm, layering pieces, and these definitely fit that description. I found the most soft, comfortable, long cardigans in the prettiest mauve and teal colors (also love that these colors are popular this season) and added them to my Classically Courtney Collection for Fall. They are an oversized fit (which I love). I'm wearing a small. You can shop these gorgeous cardigans as well as the denim skirt I'm wearing by clicking the photos below.


https://www.lacenlilac.com/collections/classically-courtney-collection/products/cozy-up-cardigan-in-teal

https://www.lacenlilac.com/collections/classically-courtney-collection/products/cozy-up-cardigan-in-mauve
THE MAUVE CARDIGAN

I hope you enjoyed My 3 Favorite Fall Trends of 2018! What are some of your favorite styles or trends this season?
9.05.2018

Healthy Glow Skin Care Routine

I have had a lot of requests to share my skin care routine. Although I am definitely not an expert, my mom really drilled into my sisters and me the importance of taking care of your skin. I didn't really have a lot of skin problems growing up, so I'll be honest and say that I didn't really take the best care of my skin in my teenage years... I did silly things like going to sleep with foundation on, swimming without sunscreen for hours, etc... NOT smart. Those are things that I totally regret as I get older.

Now that I'm in my late 20's I have really started to take an interest in taking care of my skin and trying to keep that youthful glow as long as I can. ;) So, today I'm happy to share with you my morning and evening skin care routine for healthy glowing skin. All the products are linked below.



Products you will need (Click each photo to shop)




  

1. Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Cottonseed

My mom has used Clarins skin care since she was in her 30's. Her face has really kept a youthful glow because of it. I absolutely love their face washes and toners. This face wash has been a go-to for me since my teen years for everyday use. It is all natural and soft on the skin (minimal redness after washing). It's perfect for normal or combination skin. I have combination skin... mostly dry except around my nose tends to get a little bit oily. If you have more oily skin I would recommend this face wash .

2. Exfolikate Face Wash by Kate Sommerville

2-3 times a week I will change up my routine and wash my face with an exfoliator to get rid of the dull/dry skin. This is by far the best exfoliator I have ever used. I was gifted this face wash in a FabFitFun collaboration, so I didn't have to pay for it, thankfully... It is quite pricey, but if you are looking for a game changer in your skin care routine, I highly recommend it. I will definitely be purchasing this once I run out.

3. Clarins Toning Lotion for Combination to Oily Skin

Don't let the title of this deceive you... It is not a lotion. Toner is a liquid that removes any last traces of cleanser or makeup, and it also balances your skin to keep you from getting oily throughout the day. I never really used toner until the last few years, and I couldn't believe the difference it made in my skin. I use the green toner for combination or oily skin to keep the oil at bay... I tried using the yellow toner for normal (not oily) skin, but found that my face got too shiny throughout the day... So, I opted for the combination/oily skin toner (the green bottle above).

4. Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb

I have always loved to try different moisturizers. This one, by far, has been the best one for me personally. Since I have combination skin I can't use a very heavy moisturizer or I will get oily in the center of my face... This Belif moisturizer is the perfect gel consistency that deeply hydrates your face without leaving it greasy. It is a bit on the pricey side, but honestly, it's the best moisturizer I have ever used, so I am willing to pay the price.

5. Clarins Multi-Active Eye Cream

This eye cream is a miracle worker. Since we are constantly traveling/staying up late after concerts I really struggle with puffy eyes in the mornings or on long trips... My mom got this eye cream for me for Christmas last year, and it has made a huge difference. It has the neatest "cold metal tip" that you use to softly massage the eye cream with, and it helps to soothe any puffiness or fluid retention. Usually about 30 mins to an hour after I use, it my puffy eyes are almost completely gone.

6. Ponds Cold Cream Cleanser

I use this as a makeup remover at night. I have never used anything that takes makeup off better than this! I usually just rub it onto my face to remove my foundation and mascara. It comes off like a charm! I love that it's super affordable, and... fun fact for you... my dad remembers his mom (my grandma Collingsworth) using Pond's Cold Cream when he was a little boy. It's a tried and true skin care product!



Morning Routine

Cleanse First


In the mornings I usually cleanse my face in the shower with my Clarins cleanser. I put a very small amount (think smaller than dime size... a little goes a long way) on a wet wash cloth. Softly massage it onto your wet face.... It will foam up a little. Once you have cleansed your entire face just rinse off! Simple and easy. If I showered the night before then I still do the same routine just at the sink. :)

2-3 times a week I will change out the Clarins cleanser for the Exfolikate cleanser. I don't use a wash cloth with this cleanser. Just rub it gently but firmly all over your face with your fingers. I usually leave it on while I finish the rest of my shower then rinse it at the end.

Tone Your Face

When I finish washing my face, I use a small cotton pad and apply about a nickel size of the toner onto the pad. Gently smooth the toner over your face with the pad. The toner is so easy on your skin that I even smooth this over my eyes to make sure there is no remaining eye makeup residue. I love how clean my face feels after this step.

Moisturize

I use about a dime size amount of moisturizer and smooth it evenly over my face. I don't use quite as much around the oily areas of my face. Make sure to moisturize your neck as well.

Apply Eye Cream

A little goes a long with with this stuff. I use a TINY little bit on two fingers and softly smooth it under my eyes. I use whatever is left and rub it over the top of my eyelids and brow bones. Next, use the metal applicator tip and place it under the eye and gently, but firmly press on the skin for about 5 seconds. I move along underneath the eye until I have pressed on all the skin under the eye, and then I smooth it over the eyelid. The cool metal tip really feels amazing. Repeat on the other eye. In about an hour you will notice your puffy eyes have disappeared!

That's it for my morning routine! Now your skin is perfectly clean, and moisturized. It makes a perfect base for your makeup, or you can let you natural beauty shine with an all natural skin day!








Evening Routine

Cleanse

At night I use the Pond's Cold Cream Cleanser to remove my makeup. Smooth it over your face and rub away all the makeup. Like I mentioned earlier, it removes foundation and eye makeup like a charm! When you have removed most of the makeup... use a warm, wet washcloth and wipe away the cleanser. After that I rinse my face and then dry it with a towel.

Cleanse Again (Optional)

I don't usually cleanse again since Pond's is technically a cleanser... but... if you feel like your skin still feels greasy, you can cleanse again with the Clarins cleanser.

Tone and Moisturize

I repeat the same toning and moisturizing techniques from my morning routine

Apply Eye Cream (Optional)

I have very sensitive eyes, so if I wear eye cream at night and even a drop of it gets into my eyes while I'm sleeping, then they will water like crazy and get really puffy, etc... So, I opt out of wearing eye cream at night. If your eyes aren't sensitive I would highly recommend wearing it at night as well.



I hope you enjoyed my Healthy Glow Skin Care Routine! <3 Thanks for reading!
7.30.2018

Barista-Style At Home Iced Coffee Recipe



If you've been following me for any time period on my Instagram, then you know I love me some good iced coffee! There's nothing better than the perfect blend of coffee, ice, half and half, and caramel (or whatever syrup you prefer). The problem with iced coffee though, is it's different at every coffee shop. Some make it strong enough to raise the hair on the back of your neck... others make it watery and weak. As for me, I like something in between... not too strong, not too weak, just right there in the middle... the perfect medium roast.

Now, I have been known to spend way too much money at coffee shops over the past few years trying to find the perfect iced coffee (Dunkin Donuts has always been (and still is) my go to for "out and about" iced coffee. The new Brown Sugar Cold Brew is a must if you haven't tried it!). 😁

Since I only had a Keurig or a coffee pot I was never able to conquer the perfect iced coffee at home... Pouring hot coffee over ice just melted the ice and made it much too weak... I even tried cold brew, but it took too long (HA! I mean, because you know when we ladies need our coffee... we need it now! 😉)

A few months back I posted an Instagram story asking my followers for recommendations of a good, quick (less than 10 minutes) iced coffee recipe... Well, you guys delivered! I received SO many responses and lots of helpful tips! One of my favorites came from a local Cincinnati friend, David Walker, who is actually a barista at Joseph's Cup! He pointed me towards several small pieces of equipment that I would only have to purchase once and be able to make endless coffee shop quality iced OR hot coffee! Needless to say my trips to coffee shops have been almost cut in half after starting to make this yummy iced coffee! What I love so much about this recipe is that instead of pouring hot coffee over ice and making it watery... You use ice as part of the water ingredient in the coffee (half hot water, half ice) and it makes the most perfect medium roast room temperature coffee. Then you can turn around and pour it over a glass of ice and the ice stays perfectly cold and doesn't melt... Genius!

To make the perfect Barista Style At Home Iced Coffee, here is what you will need:





   

I also found a good deal on a dripper and pitcher combo (same brand as the one I have, just with the 02 size pitcher instead of the 03).... Only $18!


Equipment You Will Need: 

1. Hario V60 Ceramic Coffee Dripper, Size 02
This is what you place your filter and coffee grounds in

2. Hario V60 Glass Pitcher, Size 03
This is where you place the ice that is part of the coffee recipe... I have the size 03 just in case I want to make a giant cup of coffee... but the 02 would be perfectly fine as well.

3. Electric Goose Neck Kettle 
This kettle is amazing because you can choose the exact temperature. If you pour boiling water over coffee then it will scorch it. Around 200 degrees is the perfect (non boiling) temp for coffee. This kettle measures in odd numbers so I put mine on 201.

4. Kitchen Scale 
Self explanatory... I use it to measure the coffee, ice, and hot water.

5. Hario Coffee Cone Shape Filters, Size 02
These filters fit perfectly into the V60 coffee dripper


Ingredients You Will Need

1. Fresh Ground Coffee
I prefer Deeper Roots fresh ground coffee from Ecuador. I purchase mine from Joseph's Cup and have them grind it for me and ship it straight to my door. They sell coffee via their Facebook Page or Instagram Page. Send them a message to inquire. You can also buy any coffee beans that you like and grind them yourself. I have tried making this coffee with pre-ground coffee and the flavor wasn't nearly as good as using fresh ground beans. I store my fresh grounds in a mason jar, and it will stay fresh for about a month.

2. Filtered Water
I use water from my fridge and it works just fine!

3. Syrup
My go to is always caramel! I just recently started doing half caramel and half white chocolate syrup, which is also delicious! You can purchase these at your local grocery store.

4. Half and Half (not pictured)
I use 2-3 TBSP

5. Ice


RECIPE

For 12 oz. of coffee
This is the size I made in the photos, and the perfect size when making for just one person. Once you add your cream and syrup it probably makes around 16 oz. of iced coffee.You'll need about a 24 oz size cup so you have room for your ice. I usually have a tiny bit left over and can use it to top off my coffee later.

29 grams of coffee grounds
133 grams of ice
266 grams of hot water

For 16 oz. of coffee 

38 grams of coffee grounds
173 grams of ice
347 grams of hot water

For 20 oz. of coffee 
This is the size I make when making two 24 oz tumblers full of iced coffee. I made this size a lot when I first started making this recipe because my sister would come over and we'd have iced coffee together... or I would ride my bike to her house and deliver it! HA! She was so in love with this recipe for iced coffee that she finally bought her own V60 and kettle to make it on her own! See... I told you it's good! 😉

47 grams of coffee grounds
221 grams of ice
441 grams hot water

Instructions (for 12 oz. of coffee)


Start by filling your kettle about halfway full with filtered water from your fridge. Then turn it to 201 degrees. Make sure to push the "steaming" button which keeps the water at temperature once it reaches 201. 

Next, place the V60 dripper with the filter in it onto the scale. Make sure to zero it out before adding any coffee to it. Then measure 29 grams of coffee grounds out.

Next, measure out 133 grams of ice in your pitcher.

While I'm waiting for the water to heat up, I usually add my syrup to my cup... For 12 oz of coffee I usually do 3 good size squeezes of syrup. For this tutorial I did 1.5 of white chocolate and 1.5 of caramel. You obviously can go more or less to your taste, but the key is to pour it in the bottom of the cup with the cream and mix it up before adding ice or coffee. It blends much easier into the coffee if you combine it with the cream first. 

I then add about 2-3 tablespoons of half and half to the syrup. You can adjust this to your taste as well.

Make sure to mix the syrup and half and half really well together.

Your hot water should be ready at this point. Now, stack your dripper with the coffee in it on top of your pitcher. Place it on the scale and make sure to zero out the scale before adding your 266 grams of hot water. 

While you are pouring the hot water, make sure to take your time. The slower you pour, the richer the cup of coffee. I pour in a circular motion to make sure all the grounds are covered equally. Also, be careful your scale doesn't shut off if you take a break from pouring to let the water settle. Just give it a tap with your fingers to keep it from shutting off. 

Once you have poured all of the water... Just sit back and watch the magic work. 😍😍😍 The ice should be almost completely melted at this point.Next, you can add as much ice as you like to your cup. I like my cup about 1/2 - 3/4 full of ice.
Once you're positive the coffee is finished dripping remove the pitcher and give it a good stir to make sure any small pieces of ice are completely dissolved. 
Pour your coffee over the ice... Give it a good stir...