Cherry Almond White Chocolate Biscotti {with King Arthur Flour}

If there’s anything Scandinavians like, it’s coffee.
And if there’s anything else they like, it’s any almond-flavored baked good. 
Really, any baked good in general, considering most traditional coffee parties have seven dessert options served. No need for seven different desserts, just give me seven of these biscotti!
I’m a good Swede at heart, and I take my coffee strong and black, sometimes with a bit of sugar. Or, in this case, a Cherry-Almond-White-Chocolate Biscotti with a lot of pearl sugar on top.
These are addictive. Oh yes, very, very addictive. One is not enough, so don’t even try to tell yourself it is. 
Nibble one of the broken bits for breakfast. Dunk one in your  mid-morning coffee. Have one for lunch-dessert. Take an early Fika (coffee time) break. Relax in the evening with a biscotti and a mug of hot tea and your favorite reality TV show (obviously, it’s Bachelor Monday!)
If anyone questions, just tell them it’s Swedish and Natalie told you to; I’m happy to be your excuse.
If you’re feeling generous, offer them a biscotti.
Cherry Almond White Chocolate Biscotti
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup chopped dried cherries
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup white chocolate
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Beat butter and sugars together. Add the eggs, beating well. Stir in the almond extract. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Reserve one teaspoon of the dry mixture and sprinkle it over the cherries, chocolate chips, and almonds. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and then fold in the cherries, chips, and almonds. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. The dough will be sticky, but empty it onto the parchment and form it into a long rectangle (using plastic wrap to help form it without getting your hands sticky if necessary), about 16 inches x 4 inches. Bake at 300 degrees for approximately 30-35 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven, let cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, reduce the oven temperature to 275 degrees F. When the baked loaf is cool, use a serrated knife to cut it into strips crosswise about 1″ wide. Then turn the pieces on their cut sides, and return to the oven for 8-10 minutes.
In a small bowl, microwave the remaining 1/4 cup white chocolate chips at 10-second intervals, stirring after each, until melted. Watch closely as white chocolate burns extra quickly, and you often need to stir it a bit to realize it is fully melted. Remove from microwave and stir in 2-3 drops of orange oil. Drizzle over cooled biscotti. Sprinkle with pearl sugar. 

Weeknight Project: Sugar Scrub

I have been the happy recipient of two jars of this lovely body scrub, this most recent batch from my friend, and last Christmas, a similar jar from my sister-in-law, so I never had to make myself a jar. Happily, my friend included the recipe so I could make some more when I ran out. 
And lucky for you, she’s letting me share.
Thanks, dear!
I love Weeknight Projects: the kind you can whip up after dinner, while watching a movie, or after the kids have gone to sleep and you sneak a cup of tea and a few moments to yourself. They usually involve products around the house or inexpensive items. This sugar scrub is no exception! With a few basic pantry ingredients, you can create an indulgent, pretty, and useful sugar scrub. Unlike other exfoliating sugar scrubs I’ve tried, this one isn’t too oily, so you don’t need to worry about it making your shower slippery. It is especially indulgent to use before shaving. I recommend following up with a lovely body oil right out of the shower to seal in that soft skin! My friend sent along the Refresh scent (Green Tea & Grapefruit) from this line.

Vanilla-Orange Sugar Scrub
borrowed from Whole Living, with a minor modification

1 tsp. honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup sugar
zest of 1 orange
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix thoroughly and keep in a jar in your shower. Rub all over body to exfoliate. Rinse well. 

I picked this Philosophy body wash/shampoo up on clearance after the holidays. It smells truly fantastic (as all of their products do), and it coordinates so nicely with the scrub! I can’t be the only one who gets a kick out of having color-coordinated shower products, right? Right?

Ahhh, don’t you feel refreshed now? 

Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Guest

What does one wear to a New England farm wedding? Late-August, just-hayed fields, heat, bugs…no heels, no air-conditioning, late-afternoon to late-evening…I mean, I was a little stumped.

Especially since I have never been to a wedding where I wasn’t part of the wedding party! When you’re a bridesmaid, you don’t have to worry about looking great, because the bride has already got that covered for you {remember this beautiful dress I wore for my cousin’s wedding and this pretty yellow one from my brother’s wedding?}.

This is what I ended up wearing. What do you think? Flat “snakeskin” sandals, an old-favorite floral dress, bright ikat cardigan, and pretty hair/makeup/jewelry details. I’m still wondering if it was a bit casual. Then again, the cute invitation said to, “Dress to impress the goats.” Ha! I love it.
Do you think they were impressed? 
xo!

Summer Layers

Did you feel it?
That subtle beckoning from autumn in the form of a cool breeze, reminding us to get our fill of gelato, berries and warm nights on the porch before things turn crisp?

I can’t lie, it felt a little bit wonderful. I’m not actually ready for fall, but I AM ready for a break from this extra hot summer! Just a few weeks of perfectly-warm days would be most excellent. I haven’t been to a drive-in movie yet, and I haven’t had my fill of maple creamees either. 

When we get down to it, I love layers because they are cozy. I’m such a creature of comfort. I’m SUCH a sweatshirt girl. Luckily, this light orange sweater is a linen blend, so I can have my layers and my summer, too! 🙂 
Now, weather, please cooperate with my plan for the next few weeks. K, thanks.
xo!

A Casual Outfit and a Story

This is a basic, everyday outfit. It’s my “go-to” sort of outfit when I have to rush out the door in a hurry. Jeans, cute tee/tank, cardi, and fun scarf. 

Cute studded sandals, good jeans from Anthro, cute polka dot tank top, J.Crew cardi with nice buttons, and funky scarf. So easy, and all thrifted/tag sale-d except the sandals, which are F21.

{details}

Yesterday I was able to spend a leisurely evening with one of my best friends and her two little boys. I sure got a pretty good fill of little-boy hugs! Her oldest boy would just look at me adoringly, this little boy on the eve of his 3rd birthday. His eyes shone as he sat next to me, put his hand on my shoulder, then patted me on the knee. “I am so glad to be here with you,” he said and gave me another big hug.
Later, this sweet friend of mine and I sat on my living room floor, two bottle caps popped on the floor at random trajectories, two Apple-Ginger hard ciders propped on handmade coasters. I felt so happy in the cozy cocoon of my small apartment, made entirely Natalie-like over the past handful of years. Sharing it with a best friend and her two darling boys (asleep at this point) made my heart feel so full, you know? So full of love, of questions, and of the future..but mostly, it felt filled with the presence of the holy spirit in this quiet evening of sister-hood. Utterly blessed and grateful. We chatted in that tumbling-rambling way that happens when two best friends haven’t seen each other for months. One topic was topsy-turvy onto another topic, as we animatedly shared life in a way that can’t be replicated online. It was so wonderful to experience that blessing of friendship from God. It feels so rare these days.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Dig in to life! Send roots deep down, invest in friendships, and really connect in real life. 
Goodness if it isn’t soul-filling! 
xo!

Cherry Earrings

This is actually an action shot…see the flower in my hand in motion? But I liked it for some reason.

Color & pattern.
How cute are these? 
Also, my grandma and  I are sharing these earrings. 
Because she has a cherry-themed outfit and needs to borrow these. 
Legit. 
And I think it’s totally awesome. 
{waves to grandma!}
xo!

Colored Jeans Rundown

At first, I didn’t think much of this colored jean phenomenon. I bought some dark green jeans just because they were the color of one of my alma maters. This was in 2008, before the craze really took off. I remember wearing them to school one day with a simple white tee and some gold flat sandals, thinking, WHY did I get green jeans? Am I a crazy person? To be honest, I put them in my “donate” pile several times! 
Of course, now these dark green jeans are oh-so-very tame. 
Let’s talk colored jeans.
Still wearing them, 4 years after that first “Am I crazy?” thought! This sweater with the same green in it  creates a harmonious line for the eye. The nice thing about these dark-green jeans is that they transition to all seasons. {Outfit 1} These jeans are F21 and cost $10. They are nice and lightweight, though not stretchy, per se. And easy way to break into the trend.
Pinky-red jeans! I have actually found a lot of ways to wear this color, and a combo with mint (an idea taken from the J.Crew catalogue) was a fun one! If you’re stuck for ideas on how to wear the jeans, you can check out J.Crew or other websites/catalogues for more ideas! {Outfit 2}Brand is BDG, which I think is from Urban Outfitters, generally? These I got at a tag sale for $1. They fit well and I wear them a lot, but they don’t like to stay tucked in neatly (they get wrinkly easily).

My light pink jeans are fun to wear monochromatic-ally since I own a few light pink things (seen here), or with a bright contrast of red! Since the light pink jeans are almost neutral, a bright color works well with them. {Outfit 3} The light pink jeans are Gap Pencil Cut, and I love them. Thrifted (under $10–can’t remember exactly). They are soft, stretchy, and the perfect color. 

My mint jeans are so much fun! I loved wearing them in winter, for an unexpectedly fresh look. Winter white & black really let the mint color shine. Goodness, wearing these puts me in a happy mood! {Outfit 4}
I paid $22 for these at the consignment store. That is generally too much for me, but I just had to have them! Unfortunately, I have to admit they are rather thick and kind of uncomfortable to wear. Some weird brand I can’t find online? Love Park? 

Lastly, break out that color wheel! Blue and orange are opposites on the color wheel, making them complimentary colors. You can’t go too wrong pairing them! This was my favorite outfit, I think because the outfit really goes for it! This outfit projects oodles of confidence. {Outfit 5}These are my absolute favorite jeans. They were $4 at the thrift store, and they are by far the most “out there” colored jeans I have. Strangely, they are also the ones I’e worn the most, and I’ve only had them a few weeks! I think that is because they are incredibly soft, stretchy, and fit very comfortably. These fit very well and are just the right level of tightness around the ankle, and don’t sag or stretch out, so they look the best tucked into boots, and rolled up. The buttons and rivets are little peace signs 🙂 Xhilaration brand jeans from Target. Unfortunately, I think Target only has Mossimo brand colored jeans right now, which I can’t vouch for, I’m afraid.

Go grab a pair, wherever you can find ’em, and mix up some fun outfits this spring! 
xo

Orange & Blue

I got these orange jeans and was’t quite sure how to style them until I saw this picture. I just had to recreate this outfit as soon as possible! I’m so glad I did because this is one of my favorite outfits. It just felt really, really great to wear, and perfect for spring. You know those kinds of outfits? They really make the whole day seem better, don’t you think? Now I hardly want to take these orange jeans off. I’ve worn them twice so far, and just threw ’em in the wash, so I can’t wait to wear them again. I never would have thought in a million years that orange jeans would become my new favorite!
Style Secrets
Sunnies: Target
Tee: Gap
Linen Motorcycle Jacket: Charlotte Russe
Necklace: American Eagle
Jeans: Thrifted
Bracelets: J.Crew
Heels: Thrifted


Have a great day!

Elle Woods/Jackie Dress

{lemonade}

{I super heart this color}

{I feel like Elle Woods, but in blue.}
Elle Woods found here.
Or Jackie Kennedy, found here
{I interrupt this post to tell you I JUST SAW A MOUSE IN MY HOUSE!!!!}
{orange fingernails from the spring Essie collection}

{fancy shoes}

{look at that beautiful seaming! gorgeous! that is one reason why I love vintage clothing so much–beautiful craftsmanship and detail}

{blingy-bling}
This is my new 60s-Barbie-doll-clothes dress, as I’m calling it. That, or the Elle Woods/Jackie dress. I saw this dress and pined over it for a whole week before I decided to buy it. When I went back to purchase it, to my utter dismay, it was nowhere to be found! Nowhere! I searched all of the racks, high and low, and even had the sales lady helping me. She didn’t remember selling it, so it HAD to be somewhere! Turns out, it was discarded in the dressing room on the floor, trampled under the feet of a burly man who was trying on some construction pants and hacking up a lung. I picked it up, dusted it off, and decided with even more resolution than before, that it was coming home to be loved and worn by me. I simply adore all of it’s beautiful sky blue happiness. What do you think?
{The mouse in my house must approve, since he’s living in my closet. Gah!}
Style Secrets
Sunnies: Local store
Necklace: Local store (sadly, broken now, needs fixing)
Dress: Vintage
Purse: Vintage
Ring: Vintage
Heels: Payless (don’t they look more expensive than that? Gotta love it!)



Blue Suede Shoes & Orange Sherbet

Look! I made a weird face and pointed to my shoes! Highlighted by sun flare/dirty camera lens?

Blue Suede Shoes, baby! 
I also switched to some black ballet flats for part of the day.

Cupcake earrings!

Orange vintage beads and ruffles!

Goodness, this is such a happy outfit to me! Perhaps it had something to do with the utterly SPRING-like weather today! But no matter, I’ll chalk it up to this divine color combination. 

Hooray! Thanks, God! 

Style Secrets
Earrings: F21
Necklace: Vintage
Dress: H&M
Sweater: Thrifted, J.Crew
Tights: TJ Maxx
Heels: Thrifted