Monday, February 27, 2012


I love rainy days like today. They're perfect for cuddling, fires, soup, hot cocoa, and rain boots! Whether you want to save or splurge, it seems like there are all sorts of cute rain boots around these days. To go along with my gold-obsession, I would love a pair of these Hunter rain boots! However Target has some great ones too. I am loving these black and white polka-dot ones. Have a cozy day!

1, 2, 3

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Dear Trader Joes,

Thank you for your recipes. I can't wait to try these two.


· 1/2 cup TJ's Crunchy Almond Butter with Flax Seeds

· 1/2 cup Water

· 2 teaspoons TJ's Toasted Sesame Oil

· 4 tablespoons TJ's Seasoned Rice Vinegar

· 2 teaspoons Juice of 1 TJ's Lime

· 1/4 teaspoon TJ’s Crushed Red Chile Pepper

Mix all ingredients together. Serve as a dipping sauce or use as a marinade for chicken, shrimp or veggies.

Serves: 10
Cooking Time: 5 Minutes


· 3 cups TJ's Tri Color Quinoa, cooked

· 1 can TJ's Organic Black Beans, drained and rinsed

· 1 cup TJ's Mango Chunks, defrosted and cut into bite size pieces

· 1 TJ's Red Bell Pepper, chopped

· 2 TJ's Green Onions, sliced

· 1/4 cup TJ's Fresh Cilantro, chopped

· 1/4 cup TJ's Extra Virgin Olive Oil

· Juice of 1 TJ's Lime & 1/2 teaspoon of zest

· TJ's Salt and TJ's Pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, combine quinoa, black beans, mango, bell pepper, green onions and cilantro. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk olive oil, lime zest and lime juice. Drizzle over quinoa salad and toss to distribute evenly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Chill and serve.

Serves: 4 - 6
Cooking Time: 20 Minutes


Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I love photographs like these that capture great color. Lately I can't get enough bright color in my life!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


May this day bring you lots of love, and better yet, may you give lots of love to others!

Monday, February 13, 2012


My favorite part of Valentine's day is the part where you surprise the people your cherish with something sweet. Here are a few ideas of what to give...

Bring breakfast in bed to your loved one.

Apparently Starbuck's has Valentine's Day cups. Surprise a co-worker or friend with a latte.

Let's talk flowers. My favorite are peonies. However...

Roses are always a good choice too.

If you want to drop a hint... (source)

You Complete Me card. Would be easy to make, and super cute.

Basic Card Making Tips from Martha. (source)

Make your own card using this quote from Hellen Keller. (source)

You're My Dearly Beloved card. (source)

Because everyone loves a bear-hug. (source)

My personal favorite - Valentine's Day postcards from Rifle Paper Co.

Want the simple, easy route? Kate Spade offers GREAT e-valentine cards- a nice way to send a sweet message to a friend or loved one. This one was designed by Bri Emery of Designlovefest (that girl's got good taste!). Find them here!

Hopefully that helped give you an idea of how to love on your loved ones tomorrow (or any day, really).

For more Valentine's Day ideas, check out my Valentine's Day board on Pinterest.


Whether you're planning a low-key night for you and your hubby or boyfriend, or a party for friends, here are a few ways to make things festive...

Cherry Tomato Hearts. Simple, healthy, cute. Use as an appetizer or pair with a salad or pasta. How-to here.

Geronimo Valentine's Day Balloons. These babies are a fabulous way to brighten up any V-Day get-together or would make a great gift. Geronimo has great large balloons for other occasions as well.

Take advantage of all the free printables that are offered in the blogosphere, like this cute heart garland. (source)

More heart balloons, from the Mignon Kitchen Co. Shop. This shop has cute stuff!

Watch the movie "Valentine's Day." The celebrity cast in this movie is huge, which makes it fun to watch. Play it in the background of your party, or convince your hubby/bf to watch it with you. (goodluck!)

Make some Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookies. You can find the recipe here.

I am dying to try this Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato Champagne. Let's toast to love!

For more Valentine's Day ideas, check out my Valentine's Day board on Pinterest or stay tuned for more V-Day tips throughout the day!

Friday, February 10, 2012


Let's talk Valentine's Day. It's tomorrow! Usually you love it or you hate it. I happen to fall on the love it side (not surprising, I know), and I did even when I was single. I see it as a day to show love to all the people in your life that you cherish, whether that's a significant other, a friend, or a family member. And let's be real, I also have a thing for pink + red + hearts!

I was going to do just one post of Valentine's Day, and realized I have far too much for just one post. So we're going to break it up people. First off:

Perfect excuse to brighten up your look with some neon pink lips.

Try some fun pink nail designs- they have some cute ideas here.

Try some pink or red pants with some heart accessories from Bando. Love their sequin heart clips!

The perfect little dress for a Valentine's Day date (from Modcloth).

Also an excuse for some pretty lingerie. Whether your single or have a date, it always feels good to wear something pretty underneath. (source)
Pair it with these gorgeous Monica Bellucci lace-covered satin mules. Sexy and sweet all at once.

These Marc by Marc Jacobs Love Stud Earrings (via Real Simple) would look cute with any outfit.

For more Valentine's Day ideas, check out my Valentine's Day board on Pinterest or stay tuned for more V-Day tips throughout the day!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I am always open to people's ideas on how to make a marriage thrive. Not just exist, but truly thrive. A lot of the stuff I come across can be pretty run-of-the-mill, common-sense. Today I came across this blog post through Pinterest. A couple shares what ten things has made all the difference in their marriage in the past five years. I think these ideas are fabulous, so I had to share.

Ten Things That Have Made All The Difference

Found at Today's Letters blog

Weekly Questions: For the past five years Tim and I have been asking each other the same five questions every Sunday night. These questions have made the biggest difference in how we love and serve one another throughout the week. If you're going to incorporate one of these 10 things into your marriage, we hope it's this one.

2. A Small Metal Box: After reading this story, Tim and I made a pact that each time we made love we would put a dollar in a special metal box and save it for our 50TH anniversary trip to Hawaii. This has surprisingly been a great way for us to creatively pursue intimacy with one another over the years. Our only advice would be to not count the money in your box. Focus on quality, not quantity.

3. Traveling Journal: There is a journal we share that's filled with words that would make you blush. We take turns writing in it, always hiding it for the other to find in an unexpected place. It's been foundduct taped to our shower, in suitcases when traveling, even in the refrigerator behind the Cool Whip. (Pretty sure Husband was trying to tell me something). Overall, this has been a great way for us to verbally affirm and encourage one another.

4. We (try and) Conflict Well: Conflict is inevitable in relationships, but we believe it exists to make us better, not bitter. We try and keep short accounts with one other by sharing our disappointments and hurt feelings. This isn't always easy but it's necessary in maintaining marital oneness. From experience we know there's nothing more damaging to our relationship than harbored bitterness.

5. We Play Together: Husband and I have chosen to be active together. Whether it's tossing the Frisbee, flying our kite, going on walks, participating in adventure races, reading bedtime stories, orbuilding forts in our living room, playing together has helped us find our inner child. It has also reminded me that being active together can be romantic. After all, deep down I know Husband wants me to be his sidekick when it comes to doing "guy things" with him. Realizing this has been critical in helping us stay connected both physically and emotionally.

6. We Pray Together: One of our favorite ways to end the day is by praying together. We pray for our friends, family, and for wisdom in our marriage. Though our prayers are usually not longer than a couple of minutes they have made a huge difference in helping us stay spiritually connected, as well as make us more aware of each others fears and insecurities.

7. We Celebrate Each Other: Husband and I love to make a big deal out of anniversaries, birthdays,holidays, and even smaller personal accomplishments. We are each other's biggest fans, and finding a thoughtful gift or preparing a special meal can make the biggest difference in helping us feel known, loved, and celebrated.

8. We Don't Do Marriage Alone: Our trusted friends have been incredibly helpful in showing us how to work through some of the bigger issues in our marriage. It wasn't always easy to share these struggles because of our pride and embarrassment, but soon we realized that most couples were struggling with the same things we were. We've learned that isolating only hinders us from truly dealing with our hurts, habits, and hang-ups.

9. The Greatest Gift (Self Work): We realized early on in our marriage that the greatest gift we could give each other was to know ourselves. This meant working through our family of origin junk. We all have it, but so few actually sort through it; Celebrate Recovery helped show us how. It was here that we first learned to attack our problems together, instead of attacking each other about our problems.

10. We Study One Another: Someone once told us that no matter how long you've dated your spouse, the day you get married you're essentially committing your life to a total stranger. This was great advice considering how quickly people change. To say I know Tim fully after 5 yrs of marriage would be a lie. There's so much about him that I don't know about simply because I do not ask. That is why we like tointerview each other regularly. It's amazing the things you can learn about your spouse when you take the time to ask both fun and creative questions.

10b. Dude Time / Girl Time: Sometimes one of the best things we can do for our marriage is to spend time apart. It blesses me when Tim is able to take a trip with his guys because I know they meet certain needs that I can't. Similarly, Tim understands that spending a weekend with my girls is critical to my overall mental health and well being. Don't get me wrong, you guys know how madly in love I am with Mr. Loerke, but sometimes all a girl needs is an uninterrupted weekend with her besties. Guys are no different.

Monday, February 6, 2012


The past week I have been craving the sun. Maybe my body is in need of some vitamin D, or maybe it's because I got a really cute new swimsuit. Either way, I was quite happy that it was warm enough to lay by the pool this past weekend.

I started reading the book "Under the Tuscan Sun", since it's one of my favorite movies, and I was ready for some light reading. So far it's pretty different than the movie, but it does what the movie also does beautifully: capture the wonderful feel of Italy (or what I imagine Italy is like) through wonderful descriptions of the simple joys in life. It's about a woman that buys and restores a villa in Italy. My description doesn't do it much justice, but trust me, if you're looking for a pleasure read, it's a good one. It makes me want to travel to places with rich history, eat lots of italian food, buy and restore a villa of my own, and grow my own produce.

I found it entertaining that the villa she buys is Villa Bramasole. The book explains that "brama" means to yearn for, and "sole" means sun. In other words, to yearn for the sun.

If you don't feel like reading it (or even if you do), enjoy the movie (it came out in 2003, so don't look in the new release section).

Thursday, February 2, 2012




Dear Trader Joes,
Thank you for your Sea Salt & Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds. On occasion, like today, they help me get through the afternoon.


What's your favorite Trader Joe's item?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I always think I've outgrown comparing myself to others, but then it sometimes sneaks up on me when I least expect it. A recent conversation with a friend reminded me how easy it is to feel discouraged when you see others who seem to have it all together while you know you don't. Just remember everybody's journey is supposed to be different; no two are alike.

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