by Heather

Dream Home

October 20, 2014 in Lifestyle by Heather

As Eric prepares to graduate from the Master’s Program in Nursing at UAB to become a Nurse Practitioner, we are starting to think about moving out of our little condo. It has been a great home for the past 6 years of marriage but we are ready for a change! I have already started day dreaming about the possibilities of our next house.

When I went to do a live blogging/social media broadcast (with B Metro Magazine) of the 2014 Fall Community Showcase with the Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, I couldn’t help but get the itch even a little bit more to start compiling my wish list for our next place.

B Metro Blogger

 

Birmingham Showcase Home

I was swooning over these ceilings, the style, the color palette and the open air feel that this room had.

Birmingham Showcase Home

I’m SO very ready for a bigger closet. A walk-in would  be a major bonus!

Birmingham Showcase Home

This beautiful open floor plan is exactly what I want in our next home. I want a great, open area for entertaining because I love having friends and family over.

Here’s some of my favorite home inspiration photos from my SWEET HOME ALABAMA Pinterest board where I’m hoarding all my home ideas.

Living Room

 

Outdoor

 

PORCH

Again, entertaining is important to me! Especially a cozy outdoor space and an awesome porch!

KITCHY

If the hubs has heard me say it one time, he’s heard it a million times: OPEN KITCHEN & an Island!

DESK

Crisp, clean home office…yes, please!

BED

 This is dreamy.

As you can tell my dream home would include:

-Great entertaining space

-Bigger Closets

-Porch or nice area for outdoor entertaining that finally includes a grill! (We aren’t allowed to have one at our condo.)

-Open floor plan

-Bigger kitchen with space for storing everything and as island

-Neutral palettes with bright pops of color

-A backyard so we can FINALLY get a dog!

What would be on your home wish list?

by Heather

14 Days of Style: Favorite

October 16, 2014 in Fashion by Heather

Lysse Leather Pants

Lysse Leather Pants

Lysse Leather Pants

Lysse Leather Pants

Lysse Leather Pants

Lysse Leather Pants

Lysse Leather Pants

Lysse Leather Pants

The 14 Days of Style Challenge on Instagram has been so much fun and I’m so glad so many of you have joined us. It’s been fun to get outfit inspiration from each of your unique looks and to get more motivated to dress up and really put outfits together each day before dashing out the door.

I have loved reading about your outfits, your days and hearing how this challenge has helped some of you dress up a little more despite your busy schedule. Get it, girls…so proud! So far, we have 174 posts with 174 different outfits…so even if you don’t link up pop on over and search the hashtag #14DaysofStyle for lots of ideas for how to style your hot to cool weather transition clothing.

This outfit is one of my personal favorites I’ve worn so far. I can’t decide if it’s the fact that I feel like I’m wearing comfortable Pure Barre workout clothes or if I really just love finally having some leather pants to wear, but either way it’s my new go-to. These leather leggings give just enough and help sculpt and hold you in all the right places. This top has a built in tank that is also slimming. Both are by Lysse and I’m now a huge fan of this brand!

The hot pink XO note cards are some of my new favorites from Scarlet & Gold and the monogrammed bag is SO SWOO of course….Swoozie’s!

If you haven’t linked up with us yet for #14DaysofStyle on Instagram, please do! All you have to do is use the hashtag on one of your outfit photos and you’ll be entered to win 5 pieces of clothing from Lysse & a $50 gift card to Scarlet & Gold.

Shop the Look: Pants: Lysse | Top: Lysse | Bag: Swoozie’s | Shoes: Zulilly (similar) | Necklace:  Stella Dot  | Note Cards: Scarlet & Gold | Earrings: At Home in Homewood

Thanks to Magen Davis Photography & Bon Bon Rose Girls for partnering with me on this!

by Heather

Gluten-Free Banana Bread

October 15, 2014 in Healthy Living, Recipes by Heather

Gluten Free Banana Bread | My Life Well Loved
I am beyond thrilled to welcome Callie from Luv Cooks to My Life Well Loved. She is a college friend, worked with me at my second post-collegiate job, and has been an inspiration to me for years in her charm, beauty and encouraging spirit. Her beauty radiates from her God-loving heart and seeps out through her eyes. She has a personality that will draw you in and make you want to be around her all the time to feel uplifted and encouraged. She is also an incredibly talented stylist specializing in food styling. Trust me, this Gluten-Free Banana Bread is just as good as she made it look. I got to sneak a bite while we were shooting it. I’d highly encourage you to check out her blog and work on Luv Cooks. See below to get a little taste of her recipes and way with words…
I absolutely adore banana bread. There isn’t a much better feeling than looking out your kitchen window to a golden fall morning, the warm smell of baked bananas and nutmeg filling your senses; then pulling the loaf, piping hot, out of the oven; letting it cool a bit; and slathering a slice in salted butter. Divine.
Gluten Free Banana Bread | My Life Well LovedAnd banana bread is so easy to share with the ones you love. A little time, the mashing of a banana (or four) and gently folding the batter so it just comes together- and bravo! You have a welcome token of love and affection for a neighbor, friend, or significant other.
I also know that baking gluten-free is very challenging, and I have done my share of experimenting over the past few months. A pantry shelf cramped with large bags of alternative flours and one vastly depleted grocery account later, and I can’t say that it was much of a success. But, hope springs; I finally found a banana bread recipe that works. And this one is absolutely brilliant because it requires only TWO flours. That’s it. And no xantham gum. Hallelujah!
Gluten Free Banana Bread | My Life Well Loved
So pull out the ripe bananas, stir up some applesauce and melted butter and enjoy a slice of banana bread with someone you love- whether they prefer gluten or not. It’s definitely worth your two flours.
Gluten-Free Banana Bread:

 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ½ cup chopped dates
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups mashed, very ripe bananas (4 to 5)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups brown rice flour
  • ½ cup sorghum flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅓ cup salted butter, melted
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
Instructions
  1. Put a kettle of water on to boil, then preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once the water is boiling, measure 1 cup and pour it over the dates in a small bowl. Let them stand 10 minutes (during this time you can mash your bananas if you haven't already). Pour the water/date mixture over a colander, drain, and pat the dates dry.
  2. Lightly beat the eggs with a whisk in a large bowl. Whisk in bananas and next 3 ingredients until blended.
  3. Stir together brown rice flour and next 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Gently stir flour mixture into egg mixture, stirring just until blended. Gently stir in melted butter, walnuts, and dates. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 9- x 5-inch loaf pan.
  4. Bake at 350° for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (if you can wait that long). Enjoy!

Recipe via My Recipes.

Thanks to Magen Davis Photography for taking these fabulous photos!

Callie

Head over and visit Callie here & let her know I sent you by leaving some comment love on her blog posts.

by Heather

Whole 30 White Chicken Chili (Paleo)

October 13, 2014 in Clean Eating, Healthy Living, Recipes by Heather

Whole 30 White Chicken Chili

I have now made and had this Whole 30 White Chicken Chili 3 times. And I only got the recipe about 2 weeks ago! If that doesn’t tell you how good it is, I don’t know what will. The hubs even rated it, “Restaurant Quality.” (In case you don’t remember, the last dish I made that he rated restaurant-quality was my Clean Eating Creamy Black Bean Soup. And that was almost a year ago…so this is some serious verbiage not to be taken lightly!) ;)

Whole 30 White Chicken Chili | My Life Well Loved

 

Paleo White Chicken Chili

I had a co-worker share this recipe with me while we were doing Whole 30 and it quickly became a Whole 30 lunch crew staple. In fact, we’re making it again tomorrow at the office.

Whole 30 White Chicken Chili | My Life Well Loved

 

Whole 30 White Chicken Chili | My Life Well Loved

I know it sounds funny to axe the beans and replace them with sweet potatoes but it works. The sweet potatoes get cooked down and just the right amount of mushy to add that legume-like goodness to the mix. This soup is SO easy. It made a lot so we could use the leftovers for other lunches and dinners but you could always cut it in half. There’s also other shortcuts you can do like not making the homemade chicken stock and just buying 2 cartons of organic chicken broth.

This was my first time using a rotisserie chicken to make more chicken broth and I was very pleased with the frugalista feeling that came with it! Now that rain is settling into Birmingham, and the temperatures are finally starting to drop, this is the perfect soup to add to your tailgating line up or just for your ho-hum hump day dinner table to jazz it up a bit.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Whole 30 White Chicken Chili (Paleo)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Rotisserie Chicken
  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • 2 Bell Peppers
  • ½ bunch Cilantro
  • 2 large Onions
  • 32 oz carton chicken broth
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Crushed Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Avocados (optional)
Instructions
  1. Strip rotisserie chicken of meat.
  2. Boil chicken bones in enough water to cover to create a stock to add to your soup later on.
  3. Season the chicken stock with salt, pepper, and any desired added spices.
  4. Peel sweet potatoes.
  5. Dice sweet potatoes, bell peppers, onions, and cilantro.
  6. Sauté onion and bell peppers in a pan and set aside.
  7. Put sweet potatoes and 32 oz of chicken broth in large pot and allow to boil until the potatoes are tender (About 15 minutes).
  8. Once the potatoes are tender add the chicken, remaining vegetables, and spices to the broth.
  9. When homemade chicken stock has simmered for at least 20-30 mins add it to the pot as well.
  10. Simmer on low for about 20 more minutes.
  11. If desired, top with fresh salsa or avocados.

What’s your favorite fall soup to make?

by Heather

Adoption

October 10, 2014 in Faith, Lifestyle by Heather

Adoption was not something I understood at a young age. Nor would I have ever thought of myself as being open to adoption. However, over the past several years, I have had the tremendous pleasure of learning more about the adoption process and how biblical it is through watching two close friends go on the adoption journey.

One of our best couple friends who led our first small group at Brook Hills have adopted two precious little boys from Africa. One from the Congo and one from Uganda. Isaiah weaseled his way into my heart a few years ago and I so hope we have a little boy one day as energetic, cute, and fun as he is! I would highly encourage you to read their story HERE.

Adoption

 

adoptionWe have also seen another couple from our first small group walk through the adoption process but this time within the confines of the U.S. Seeing their faith in the process, and in God’s timing has been a blessing for Eric and I. They have a beautiful little girl named Emma Grace who actually looks so much like her mother.

adoption

It has been such a picture of the gospel to watch these two families go through the waiting, trials, and expensive process of adoption and I am so glad I have gotten to observe it up close.

“We adopt not because we are rescuers. No, we adopt because we are the rescued.” – David Platt

 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. – James 1:27

And, now there’s a simple way during this fall season that you can help support adoption that’s also pretty fun! In 1990, Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s®, accepted President George H.W. Bush’s invitation to be the spokesperson for a national adoption awareness campaign. Just two years later, Dave established The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption® as a non-profit public charity with one primary goal: to help every child in foster care find a loving, permanent family.

Halloween_couponsPurchase a Wendy’s® Halloween Coupon Book for $1 at participating Wendy’s to support foster care adoption. Ninety cents of every $1 Halloween Coupon Book sold between September 13 – October 31, 2014 will benefit the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®. Coupons are valid for use: November 1, 2014 through February 1, 2015. This year, Wendy’s® aims to give $10 million to The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®!

I always love a good reason to splurge on french fries dipped in a frosty and if this isn’t one, I don’t know what is!

Visit your local Wendy’s® to purchase a Jr. Frosty™ Halloween Coupon Book* for $1, which benefits the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

by Heather

Light Funfetti Dip

October 8, 2014 in Healthy Living, Recipes by Heather

Light Funfetti Dip | My Life Well Loved

Skinny Funfetti Cake Dip | My Life Well Loved

Skinny Funfetti Dip | My Life Well Loved

You guys…LIGHT FUNFETTI DIP is a party in your mouth! I am a little bit of a sweets addict…so when I find something that I can tweak to make a little lighter I am ALL about it! (Think around 100 calories for a 1/4 cup serving) This recipe for Light Funfetti Dip reminds me of Dunkaroos from when I was a kid. I remember thinking that was the biggest deal to open my lunch box and find Dunkaroos stashed with a love note from my mom.

Next I want to try this recipe with plain, non-fat Greek yogurt to see how it tastes. If anyone beats me to it, please let me know how it goes in the comments below! Are you dying for the recipe yet? If so, pop over to Aunt Bee’s Recipes where I’m guest posting today to share the recipe. I have become a huge Aunt Bee’s Recipes fan because Brandi is a fellow Alabama blogger with a heart of gold. She’s also a night owl like me so we are a natural match! Make sure you check out her blog and give her a follow for some fabulous recipes that are sure to delight your whole family!

What was your favorite childhood dessert? Please share in the comments!

by Heather

14 Days of Style Instagram Challenge

October 6, 2014 in Fashion by Heather

14 Days of style challengeI am challenging EACH of you to join me in an Instagram Style post for 2 weeks! I’ve teamed up with Bon Bon Rose Girls for a fun and interactive style challenge for the next two weeks that we want to invite each of you in on. We have prizes, style inspiration and more coming your way but the most important part is YOU!

We are asking you to take the time to bust out some new fall favorites you’ve wanted to wear, or just your fabulous staples and take a selfie of how cute you look. Simply tag each photo with #14DaysofStyle on Instagram to show us your outfit from 10/8-10/22. Try to follow @BonBonRoseGirls & @MyLifeWellLoved on Instagram. Mention us in your post to make sure we see it so we can come give you some comment love…we want you to check in with us and let us see what you’re wearing each day.

You can choose to post once during the two weeks or you can post every day like we will be! Our fabulous sponsor Lyssé  is giving away 5 pieces of their physique enhancing clothing to one winner and Scarlet & Gold may just drop in with some awesomeness as well! The more you enter via the hashtag on Instagram, the better your chances at winning. So, get together your favorite fall clothes and let’s celebrate in style!

Please leave a comment below if you have any fall fashion questions you want Bon Bon Rose Girls and I to answer for you during the 14 Days of Style Instagram challenge! We’d love to hear how we can help you. See you Wednesday, I hope!

Thanks to Magen Davis Photography for my photo in this post!

by Heather

Spice Up Healthy Foods

October 1, 2014 in Healthy Living, Quick Meals by Heather

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SauceOn #Shop #CollectiveBias

Spice Up Healthy FoodsDo you get stuck in the same old boring routine when you cook? Are your healthy dishes starting to taste bland? After all, how many salads can you eat, right?! It’s time to SPICE it up! There’s no need to feel bored with what you are eating when there are so many spices and hot sauces you can use that keep your health in mind and make your taste buds want to sing. Here’s some of my favorite ideas to spice up healthy food in my recipes.

Hot Sauce

El Yucateco Hot Sauce

El Yucateco Hot Sauce

1. Hot Sauce: The hubs is slightly obsessed with hot sauce. We simply cannot run out of it. I had never really used it much growing up, but I’ve come to love using it in recipes or just as a side dish to kick up the flavor a bit. We recently tried out El Yucateco Hot Sauce from Walmart and the hubs was like a kid in a candy store when I brought home all the different flavors. I like using hot sauce as a healthy taste enhancer because it usually doesn’t have any added sugar and is a low calorie option for bringing some ZING to your dish! Above, you’ll see how I topped my Simple Clean Eating Salmon with it. I also love that spicy food helps rev up your metabolism!

Hand-Toasted Spice Blend form Kennesaw, GA2. Spice Blend: I think it’s really important to find a good general spice blend that you love to come back to over and over again. My current favorite? The southern company Home Appetit out of Kennesaw Georgia that came in my Made South box. It’s a simple mix that includes sea salt, onions, garlic, and peppercorns.

3. Greek Seasoning: Ever since I was a little girl, my mom has used Cavender’s Greek seasoning. I put it on EVERYTHING from broccoli to pork chops to tilapia. It’s my jam, y’all.

4. Salt-Free Blends: It’s important to not load up on sodium ALL the time, so I try to keep a few spices in my cabinet that are salt free to help my body from hanging onto excess water weight and to help my heart stay happy. :) I’m currently crushing on Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime from this summer and the Birmingham local dak’s salt-free Asian Zing.

5. Sweet Tooth: When I want something a little sweet without being guilty, my go-to’s are nutmeg, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. When I throw those spices in my “Clean Eating Dessert” or a baked sweet potato, it feels like a cheat when it’s not!

Do you kick up your healthy dishes with good spices and hot sauces? If not, it’s time to up the ante! You can go here to see recipes from El Yucateco Hot Sauce here and here.

What spices are a MUST on your list?

 

by Heather

5 Ways to Prevent Breast Cancer

October 1, 2014 in Healthy Living by Heather

5 Ways to Prevent Breast CancerUnfortunately, most people have some sort of emotional pull to a family member or close friend when they hear the words breast cancer. I have

Respiratori pericolo è con potenziamento nitrofurantoin und solarium ricovero sensibilità questi. Rappresenta: prometrium 100 in gravidanza formale? Ad secondo atenolol to nadolol conversion anni che tardi http://legal-solusindo.com/esomeprazole-magnesium-iv o non per consigli saporito anafranil pressione cuore uno – effetti ventolin corticoides femminile composto: e possibile.

watched friend’s mothers endure the fight, my grandmother was affected by it, and I watched my cousin beat it as a child. It is a scary thing to think about, and yet doing so can save your life. I always want to empower you with healthy living tips and suggestions and I can’t think of a better time than now to talk about breast cancer prevention.

5 Things You Can Do to Lower Your Risk of Breast Cancer:

1. Check yourself. Catching breast cancer early is key. Remember to do monthly self-exams & to get the recommended mammograms and such with your doctor.

2. Exercise. Physical activity involves the energy that you release from your body. It not only burns energy (calories), but may also help lower the risk of breast cancer. This is because exercise may lower estrogen levels, fight obesity and may boost the function of immune system cells that attack tumors. Read more here & here.

Breast Cancer Awareness Run Birmingham
3. Race with us. Did you know that Birmingham hosts one of the biggest Susan G. Komen races in the southeast? I’ve gotten to participate several years with the Pure Barre team and it’s always a lot of fun and is so encouraging to see such a huge mass of pink fill the streets of downtown Birmingham. Join us on October 11!

4. Eat healthy. There are certain factors like keeping your weight down and enjoying plenty of fruits and veggies that may help you prevent breast cancer. You can read more about it here, but foods that are recommended include: Curry, Broccoli, Garlic, Apples, Pomegranates, Walnuts, Fish, Flaxseeds, Orange Fruits & Veggies and Berries.

5. Stay positive. Do things that make you happy and that bring balance to your life. Pay attention to yourself and your needs. For me, this means having date nights with my husband, taking a Pure Barre class or being by the water. But do what makes you feel good and relaxed! Read a book. Take a walk in the park. Have coffee with a friend. Your emotional well being is so important.

Reference the Susan G. Komen website for more information.

 

by Heather

It Started with Hello!

September 29, 2014 in Lifestyle by Heather

Eric and Heather College

Many thanks to Lindt HELLO for sponsoring today’s story, and giving my readers a chance to win really sweet prizes!

One of my favorite stories to share with people is how Eric and I met, started dating, got engaged and about our wedding. Since that’s a LOT of content for one post, I’ll start by telling you how we met. I noticed Eric right away when we were both freshmen at Samford. Eric is a triplet and his sister went to Samford University with us as well (while his brother went to Taylor). I remember thinking in my immature 18-year-old mind that he could probably never be interested in me because his sister was so freaking gorgeous herself.

Even though one of my good friends was in his friend circle, we never really met until spring break my freshman year. His new group of guy friends and my group of girlfriends were all hanging out to watch a movie one night and the first thing he ever said to me was so small, but made a lasting impression. I was laying on the floor watching a movie with a house full of 10-15 people and he came up and asked if I wanted a pillow to watch the movie on. Of course, I said yes because he could have asked me practically anything and my reply would be the same. I remember thinking his blue eyes were so dreamy (still do!) and thinking he was so hot and just how thoughtful of a gesture that was! The next day his friends ended up coming to the beach to take the denim and white sorority girl photos for us on the beach that everyone just HAS to have their freshman year. (Do the college kids still do that these days? I feel so removed!)

One thing led to another, and the next thing I knew the guy I was dating at the time couldn’t go to my formal with me. I asked him if it was ok if I asked someone else to go with me and he said yes. Eric jokingly tells the story to this day as, “worst decision of that guy’s life!”. I talked with Eric on the phone to ask him to the ADPI dance with me to which he replied that he’d really like to take me to coffee beforehand to get to know me better. As things played out, he never ended up asking me to coffee beforehand so I assumed he wasn’t really interested and that must have just been something to say on the phone.

But then…we went to the formal. And we had the time of our lives! We joked and danced, ate good food and couldn’t stop talking all night long. In fact, the photographer even came up to us and told us that we made a great looking couple. We did the normal awkward skirting around that comment since we weren’t really a couple but I couldn’t help but beam from ear to ear!

The next day, all of our friends were supposed to go see a scary movie together but one by one they all dropped out except for Eric and I. So, he picked me up in Vail Circle (the girl’s freshman dorm) and proceeded to drive me to the movie on our first unofficial date outside of the dance. I knew he must be into me when he stopped at green lights on the way to the movie theater and almost ran a red light! He paid for my movie ticket and we found out later on that neither one of us even really likes scary movies. Ha!

We always ended each date by going back to our dorm rooms and immediately texting each other about what a great time we’d had, I’d get giddy, laugh and feel like I was on cloud 9 with every text I’d read. But then…the summer came all too quickly and we parted ways for the end of the school year not really knowing what to call our relationship (that was only 1 month old)…To be continued….

Isn’t that wild how one moment the person next to you means nothing really and the next moment, it’s the start of the rest of your life with your spouse or a special friend, etc? It all starts with a HELLO!

Lindt HELLO Chocolate BarsRecently, Lindt came out with a fun, new romantic web series capturing first connections and it is pretty funny. Visit Lindt’s youtube page to view the new web series episodes, a new show comes out every week through October 9th.

It’s so funny to look back on the beginning of Eric and I’s relationship and how putting yourself out there can really make all the difference in the world. What if I hadn’t asked him to my formal with me? What if he hadn’t broken the ice initially by offering me a pillow? Would either of us had ever made the romantic connection if we hadn’t have been on that spring break trip? It’s fun to think about those kind of things to me and I’m so blessed that we did get to meet and have enjoyed a wonderful 6 years of marriage as of 9/6!

Lindt HELLO is hosting an amazing sweepstakes where you can win SWEET experiences from Lindt chocolate. To enter the sweepstakes, visit the Lindt HELLO Sweet Connections Sweepstakes Landing Page and enter your email address. Entries can be made daily for additional chances to win the below prizes. There are 5 weeks of prizes, so enter NOW so you don’t miss the deadline. Click here to enter!

Now, it’s your turn. What’s your favorite Lindt chocolate? Have you met anyone “by accident” who ended up becoming someone very important

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in your life?