Saturday, September 28, 2013
When Patience Runs Thin

When Patience Runs Thin

Saturday, September 28, 2013
I am not one to hold back what's on my heart and mind. I am an open book with all aspects of my life. What you see is what you get. No hidden agendas or secrets. I value the authentic, and so I put that forth myself. So with that, I want to share what was on my mind this morning. Hopefully it is an encouragement to you!

Life can be crazy sometimes, it can be tiring, it can also be amazingly exciting and full. When you're young and you're chasing after your desires and hopes it can be frustrating waiting for the next thing to unfold. "Patience is a virtue" This has been my motto since I was just a little girl, and let me tell you, patience does not always come easily for me. I have always been a very patient person, but, sometimes my patience just runs thin. When that happens I have to remind myself that God is in control. I have to be patient and wait on His timing. That can be so hard sometimes. You know, when something is really important to you and you go to God and ask for guidance or wisdom; or you ask Him to help you see what His will is in a situation, and then you want the answer right then? But God doesn't always give us the answer right away. He doesn't always give us the answer in the way we expected. He does always answer in His perfect timing though, and in His perfect way. 
"Wait for the Lord; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord." - Psalm 27:14

 God, our creator, who holds us in His hands, will answer as He sees fit and when He sees fit. And we can completely trust Him to work things out for our good. 

 "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." - Romans 8:28

"The ability to wait on the Lord stems from being confident and focused on who God is and in what God is doing." We can have confidence in who God is and in His wisdom. He knows exactly what you are going through. Have confidence in God's wisdom, timing, love and understanding of your situation, and trust Him. Rest in God's timing." Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." - Proverbs 3:5-6 

Be encouraged in the Lord! If you are going through a trial in life, feeling lost and don't know what step to take next, or just bursting with excitement for the next step and adventure in life, seek the Lord's will, seek His wisdom. You will find it. Have a fantastic Saturday!

Friday, September 27, 2013
A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words: Part Three

A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words: Part Three

Friday, September 27, 2013
We have been home for two weeks and some change from our Hawaii adventure. Out of the hundreds of pictures taken, I have only posted a select few. You know how it is - you're in the moment, everything is outstanding, and you think you need at least ten or thirty snapshots of every beach and of every sunset. It starts to really take up gigabytes on the iPhone. This is my farewell to paradise; the last of A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words. So many wonderful memories are tucked away behind these shots, and so many more are clearly captured and resting in the Hawaii Trip file for reminiscing later.

If you're brave enough to follow the jump, I commend you.
Have a great weekend, friends!

Uncle Dan took this picture. I have to give him credit, it's both sad and funny. We're all on iPhones. Just to our left was an awesome view. In my defense though, I was editing pictures.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Carrot Cake Cupcakes + Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake Cupcakes + Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Monday, September 23, 2013
Baking is one of the things that I find most relaxing, and I don't mean baking from a Duncan Hines box, though I enjoy that too. I'm talking about scratch baking. Pulling a warm, sweet dessert out of the oven, after you have so carefully measured and mixed, is deliciously rewarding. I spent the first half of my birthday (cue Taylor Swift's 22) scratch baking these delicious carrot cake cupcakes. I discovered along the way that I have a distain for grating carrots, but, I still had a wonderfully relaxing time.These cupcakes are "the best carrot cake cupcakes I have ever had in my life!" Normally I would say that statement is biased, coming from dad and all, but, the man has bluntly told me when some of my baked goods are just not a winner. 
These cupcakes really are delicious, and are unquestionably worth the small effort it takes to make them!
I took the liberty of tweaking the original recipe just a little bit. The slight adjustments only added to the flavor!  I found the original recipe here and followed the directions linked, for browning the butter. Don't be afraid of browning the butter, it is so very easy. Directions below. Happy baking!
                                                  22 by Taylor Swift on Grooveshark
Enjoy that.

          For the cupcakes           

1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup apple butter
3 large eggs, room temperature
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups grated carrots

For the frosting:

1 stick unsalted butter
 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 and 1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar 
1/8 vanilla extract

To make the cupcakes : Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line two muffin trays with cupcake liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside. In another bowl, mix together the sugars, apple butter, and oil until smooth. Mix in the eggs and vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients in two segments, mixing after each, just until combined. Fold in the grated carrots. 

Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake liners, filling each one about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 15-20 minutes. If you insert a toothpick into the center and it comes out clean you are good to go. Remove the cupcakes and transfer to a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting: Brown the butter in a saucepan. Remove the browned butter from the heat and pour in a metal or glass bowl. Cover with saran wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for about one hour, just until it has reached a soft consistency like margarine. Follow these easy directions to brown the butter.

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the chilled (soft) brown butter and cream cheese until creamy. Add the confectioners sugar and beat until well combined.

Spoon the frosting into a piping bag, if you have one, and pipe frosting in a swirling motion onto each of the cupcakes. Top with the crushed pecans and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy these cupcakes as much as we did. Have a great Monday!

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Monday, September 16, 2013
 Giveaway Goodness

Giveaway Goodness

Monday, September 16, 2013
I am back with another giveaway! I have joined thirteen other lovely ladies to bring this giveaway to you. This time around it's a smorgasbord of ad space, blog design credits, and gift cards! Smorgasbords take a few extra minutes to enter, but they are so worth it. You could take home all the loot!
This giveaway is open internationally. ONE reader will win all seven months of ad space + $350 worth of design credits, gift cards, and a few other goodies. 

So get to entering! You could be that lucky winner.
Good luck, friends!

Co-hosted by Diaries of an Essex Girl & Niescior's Notes
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Sunday, September 15, 2013
A Few Things: Blogger

A Few Things: Blogger

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Some time ago, I added the Blogger app on my phone. I added it on a whim and wasn't all that excited about it. I like to use the 'If I haven't used it in a year' method to clean apps off my phone. I'm pretty sure I'm inching closer and closer to that mark, and this is the first time that I have EVER used said app. Now that I have seen the light, I might just throw lazy into the mix and not even bother blogging from my laptop ever again. Truly though, this little bad boy is freeing. I'm curled up in the passenger seat, traveling the blacktop, while I blog. Now that is blogger happiness.

I very recently learned that there is a buffalo ranch in Georgia. How does that even work. Buffalo in Georgia. That just strikes me as crazy, and I without question need to see this place.

Are you familiar with love bugs? They're kind of cute, right? No. No no. They have arrived in hoards. Every morning my front porch is covered in a layer of love bugs. The front of our car looks like a massacre. I did feel bad for one poor love bug that clung, for dear life, to our windshield. He gave it a good go.

Have you met Noor? She is one of the bubbliest bloggers that I have had the pleasure of getting to know, and she blogs over here. If you need a good dose of glitter and happiness, drop by!

Today is my Grandpa, and his twin sister's 83rd birthday. We are all getting dolled up and heading to a fancy smancy restaurant to celebrate, this evening. My grandpa is a character, as I have mentioned before, and I am so thrilled to celebrate with him. He is still quick as a whip. I can't wait to misbehave with him. Bring on the shenanigans!

What are your few things?
Have a great Sunday!

Friday, September 13, 2013
A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words: Part Two

A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words: Part Two

Friday, September 13, 2013
We are finally back on the mainland! We hopped on a plane Sunday night and arrived home Monday around dinner time. So weird. The time change cost me half a day! It was absolutely worth it though. As you can imagine, I took lots and lots of pictures. I posted an image pretty much everyday on Instagram and Facebook.

I managed to post a few of the snapshots from our trip, while sitting up late in our hotel room. I love staying in hotels. Does anybody else share this love? There's just something so fun about walking into a hotel and being greeted by some adorable front desk clerk and then riding the elevator up to your floor, swiping the key at your door, and entering an icy cold room; with beds perfectly made, cute soaps in the bathroom, and a little refrigerator to hold limeade and those deli sandwiches you just paid out the nose for.

Since I took so many pictures from our holiday, I'll probably have a part three and four posted in short order. If you get sick of looking at all of my pictures, don't tell me. Just let me wallow in my post vacation excitement!

We went to Kualoa Ranch and spent the entire day exploring the ranch, making new friends and great memories. We went on the "Jungle Expedition" and had a blast with our guide, Topher. It was a super bumpy ride up hills, down hills, and poor Cailin took a large bite out of an apple that had maggots. One of the few traumatizing events of our trip. We also went on a tour of various ranch locations where movies and tv shows were filmed. We attempted to look frightened behind the dead tree from Jurassic Park, but just ended up laughing. The best part of our ranch tour was the three hour visit to Secret Island where we kicked back, lounged in the sun, paddle boarded, and harassed Godfrey. We truly did luck out and got the best tour guides for Secret Island.


Godfrey, "Oreo filling", and James. They were super helpful, fun, and had great stories from growing up in Hawaii. The ranch visit was by far my favorite day in the whole trip! Of course, the nightly froyo trips, and sun baking on one of the top five beaches in the world are high up on the list too. But those pictures are for part three!

                                                                   Have a fantastic Friday!

Friday, September 6, 2013
A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words

A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words

Friday, September 6, 2013
It's late Saurday night here in Honolulu. We're having the most incredible time! So many memories. So much laughter. So much heat emanating off our sunburns. Being with friends makes this trip that much more incredible. Especially since we have a former Hawaii resident in our group. We're hitting all the best spots. We're getting up bright and early in the AM so I'm writing this post now, to keep from getting behind. My computer is still stuck on east coast time. Every time I look up I think it's five o'clock in the morning. Anywho, I thought I would share some of the snapshots I've taken in our first four days.

I've been to quite a few beaches in my day, but I've never been to beaches like the cornmeal sandy shores of Hawaii. They are beyond beautiful. The sun is hot, the breeze is cool, the sand is soft, and the waves are crystal clear. And everything is ten times better with Cherry Limeade.

We went on a hike the other day, on a super-heated blacktop path, that led to the most amazing view that you could hope to see. We made a few new friends along the way, rabbit trailed to the edge of the mountain, and discovered a hairy cactus flower.

One thing is for sure - sunsets are just more beautiful here. The natural splendor screams of God's handiwork. 

"The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands."

I hope each and every one of you had a great Labor Day weekend.
Happy Friday, friends!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Wildcard Wednesday

Wildcard Wednesday

Tuesday, September 3, 2013
You know how much I adore linkups. 
Wildcard Wednesday is one of my absolute favorite linkups, and now I get to co-host! 
Linkup your Blog, Bloglovin', and Twitter, and go make some new friends!

Welcome to Wildcard Wednesday!


The name of the game is #wildcard 
Stakes: A special PRIZE will be up for grabs the last week of each month
 Your link ups each week are your entries
Example: If you link up your blog, bloglovin and twitter you will have 3 entries each week
Disclaimer: You MUST be following your hosts in order to win

Winner of the August #wildcard {Won A $20 Giftcard of Choice}:

Kate & Trudy

Rules of the Game: 
1. Follow all your hosts

Simply Clarke: Blog / Bloglovin / Twitter
Mal Smiles: Blog / Bloglovin / Twitter
All That Glitters: Blog / Bloglovin / Twitter

and co-hosts
Améliorer la VieBlog / Bloglovin / Twitter
Boone & OwlBlog / Bloglovin / Twitter
Living In The Moment: Blog / Bloglovin / Twitter

2. Grab our button for your post so that others can join in the fun
3. Link up using your Blog URL, Bloglovin' URL & Twitter
4. Visit at least 3 other blogs

5.  TWEET about Wildcard Wednesday using #wildcard 

Now make some new friends :) 

Monday, September 2, 2013
Paradise Found | J.Crew Giveaway

Paradise Found | J.Crew Giveaway

Monday, September 2, 2013
Hey y'all! I've been galavanting about Hawaii, eating, hiking, taking pictures, and shopping - There is something so exciting about walking down a beach front street lined with every shop imaginable. It's.. paradise. I have somehow managed to be a good girl and not buy anything. 
 I don't know about you, but, I love me some J.Crew. So, I got together with eleven other beautiful ladies to give you the chance to win $100's to J.Crew! So you don't have to be a good girl, go buy yourself something! One reader, this month, will be the winner! Be sure to enter and visit each of the ladies and leave them some love. 

 Create That Outfit                          Thirty Seven Four 
                                         My Wardrobe Staples                       Style Optimist
 A Spoonful Of Style                         Selfless Ambition
    I Do Declaire                               A Devine Life
     Ladies in Navy                               Boone & Owl
 Aynsley Ovard                                Kacie's Kloset