Catch Up!

Time for a catch-up post! 
A day-late vlog: 
Featuring:
DaySpring (affiliate link)
 GroopDealz (affiliate link)
(my shirt from there, but no longer available)

I’ve been busy on the interwebs lately! New poems for Darling Magazine:

And I’ve been baking up some goodies around the web, too: 

Candy Cane Meringues that would be perfect for Valentine’s Day!

and, for a lighter, New Year’s dessert…Bruleed Grapefruit with Honey-Yogurt Sauce

Tell me what you’ve been up to lately in the comments!

Have a great week!

Birthday Pretties

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So I’m a year older now 🙂 
And I happened to have the most lovely dusting of birthday snow (I always hope for just a light powdered-sugar snow!)
to add to the blue skies!
As usual, I’m such a fan of birthdays and simply MUST dress like a confection of some sort as evinced by years past:
see here, here, here and here! I call this my “birthday skirt” because I have worn it for many birthdays!
Of course, if I am dressing like a macaron or cupcake or some such delicious baked good, I have to have my “frosting hair”
as I call my swirly bun, this time accented with a rosette ribbon headband.
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Candy pink lipstick, cozy collar, and wind-blown hair! It was so windy the power was out until 2pm!

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Sprinkle cookies (recipe from Averie Cooks) were in order, of course! Delicious and these taste just like funfetti cake!
But cookies are no substitute for a proper birthday cake, and this year I tried piping ombre pink rosettes
(3 colors of pink frosting, though it’s hard to tell since this picture was taken at night): 
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Harder than it looks to pipe these delicate flowers! But SO PRETTY!
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3 layers of white cake inside, though I think I should combine the rosettes with the ombre green inside I made a few years ago, yes?!
Little goodies popped in throughout the day: this lovely sparkly Zoya nail polish from the boyfriend, and this
Audrey bag and pearl bracelet from his mom…
photo
(oh such pretty, happy things!) 
Notecards, lipstick, flowers, a For the Makers subscription, pink champagne, and more.
These are just things, though, and really, I am so grateful to have amazing family
and friends who love me and support me.
That means more to me than any pretty little thing ever could.
And I always choose a birthday song, so this year’s was, of course, Taylor Swift. I’m still obsessed
with the music video for Blank Space with its gorgeous costumes, scenes and imagery.
Just keep in mind it’s a parody of what people say about Taylor,
and that no animals, actors, automobiles, trees, or anything else were harmed in the making of the video 🙂
Can we talk about the clothes for a sec? 
Vintage schoolgirl meets Town-and-Country meets Grace Kelly meets Taylor Swift and I am in loooooove. 
So there we have it, the birthday roundup! 
Now, into a new year!

A Little of This, A Little of That

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Loving this combination of oversized gingham and eyelet. 

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Peanut Butter “Buckeye” Bars I made for Big Girls, Small Kitchen

(Edited to add one more thing!) 

If you are a mother of daughters, please check out my friend Dana’s magazine, Modern Motherhood Magazine. It’s digital, short, and free, perfect for mommas, but it gets into deep subjects of raising Godly daughters and discipling them. Dana blessed me by including Good Girl Style in her August issue about Beauty. Check it out here

and something fun for YOU, too! I’m thrilled to have some free codes to take Sally Hogshead’s “How to Fascinate” personality assessment. The test is normally $37 so take advantage of this free code for sure. I love personality assessments, and this one is FANTASTIC. It gives great insight into how the world sees you, rather than how you see the world. You’ll find tidbits to help you be the BEST you and to work to your strengths in all areas of life. 
Me? I’m The Connoisseur…always in-the-know, powered by passion, high standards, and a whole lotta something special. 
Wanna give it a shot to see what YOU are? 
1.) Go HERE.
2.) Enter code: BL-goodgirlstyle 
3.) Come back and share your results in the comments! 

I can’t wait to hear!
xo
Natalie

#allthelove

There’s so much to tell you in this post!

First of all, I’m an Auntie for real! It’s so exciting to welcome Avery Kate to the world, the first daughter of my brother and his wife, Stephanie! Isn’t Miss Avery cute??? My brother and Steph ain’t too bad lookin’ either 😉 Love you guys!

{yeah. I’m related to them. #boom} 

Stephanie just so happens to be the amazing photographer/baker/writer behind Girl vs. Dough. Be prepared to drool once you head over there. But you should definitely head over there today becauseI’m sharing an amazzzzzing recipe. I’m more than happy to bake delicious things so they can snuggle Avery extra for me.

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Caramel Apple Crumb Cake. Say no more. I swoon thinking about this cake. Even the smell of it is highly intoxicating, not to mention its depth of crumbs and caramel-y goodness. Oooo, you need to make this! Just in case that photo doesn’t get your mouth drooling, how about a video of the caramel drizzle:

Yeah, that oughtta do it.
I present to you: Caramel Apple Crumb Cake. #makeitnow
Now Stephanie doesn’t sit still for long! While pregnant with Miss Avery she also created her eCookbook Quick Bread Love. Woahhhhhhh are there some good-sounding recipes in here, ya’ll! Let me further entice you: Coconut-Chai Tres-Leches Muffins? Yes please. Or perhaps Roasted Blueberry-Basil Corn Bread for those of you with a salty tooth. That’s just the beginning. There are 30 tasty recipes in all, plus Steph’s tips and tricks. 
Quick Bread Love eCookbook
*affiliate link 🙂 
I can guarantee you’ll find something you canNOT live without in this e-cookbook of Stephanie’s! 
So there you have it: #allthelove. Baby love, family love, caramel-apple love, and Quick Bread Love. 
So much love!
xo
Natalie

Lemon Bars with Almond Crust

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Gooooooooooood Monday morning! How are you on this beautiful, fresh start to a new week? How about some cheerful, bright-yellow, deliciously summery lemon bars to whet your palate? (Also, I am in love with this photo. It looks like a snowglobe and I could look at it for hours. And yes, they really ARE that yellow in real life, thanks to the technique of using a baked lemon curd on top of the crust…more about that in the link below!)

You can find my delicious recipe for gluten-free lemon bars with an almond crust over on Big Girls, Small Kitchen today. Don’t mind me while I eat one with my tea for breakfast-dessert #duh.

Sunshine-y gluten-free lemon bars with an almond crust for breakfast? Yes, please! —–> Tweet This!
Bonus? You can use the topping as a plain-old lemon curd to slather on muffins, scones, waffles, crepes, a spoon straight out of the jar…#justsayin.  

Reese’s Eggs on Big Girls Small Kitchen

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New recipe for Big Girls Small Kitchen (BGSK) today: Homemade Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs! Anyone would be more than lucky to get these tucked into an Easter basket (and I definitely just ate one for breakfast, so there’s that). Click here for the recipe!

Unless you follow me on Facebook, I haven’t been sharing these amazing recipes with you, and for that, I offer my apologies. Here are a few of my favorite delicious (gluten-free!) recipes I’ve had the pleasure of creating for Cara over at the wonderful BGSK.

Here are some of my favorites!
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Starting from the top, going clockwise: 
Enjoy!
xo
Natalie

Maple Latte

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Ya’ll I live in New England, mmmkay? So I’m a pretty legit expert on all things maple syrup (fact: it takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup #boom). So this maple latte thing is on lock over here. The basic proportions are the same, but fiddle with your version of “strong” coffee and your version of “sweet” until it’s your kind of awesomely-delicious. Here’s what I love:

Maple Latte
1/3 mug hot VANILLA flavored coffee
2/3 mug HOT milk, foamed/frothed
1 1/2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

Really, all you have to do is stir these together. But here’s my more in-depth method: I actually use a two-mug method to do this…heating the milk in one mug while letting my coffee brew through my Melita pour-through coffee maker into another mug. I’ve found it’s best to add the coffee to the milk rather than the other way around, so I put the milk in the mug I want to drink from to microwave it. Then foam it directly in the mug using a tiny whisk, fork, or my favorite gadget: an Aerolatte. Then carefully pour in your hot coffee, add the maple syrup right on top of the foam, sneak a spoon in under the foam and stir. The last secret is to make sure this is served VERY hot. I am by no means a barista, so this is just what I make to enjoy at home: quick & easy!

And a verse to cheer your morning:

psalm9017GGS
xo
Natalie

Chocolate Chai Oatmeal

I know this doesn’t look like anything special. But the flavor, oh-my-goodness the FLAVOR
Chai + Chocolate = Genius.
I got the idea from Chocolate Covered Katie (love her site) but fiddled with the recipe a bit.
I also had a Chocolate Chai Latte at Starbucks not too long ago so you can bet I’ll be making a version of that for ya’ll soon!
Chocolate Chai Oatmeal for One
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup milk
3/4-1 cup boiling water (depending on how you like your oatmeal)
1 1/2 tsp. loose chai mix or 1 chai teabag
Pinch salt
2 tsp. sugar (adjust to your liking/needs…obviously I wouldn’t recommend this EVERY day…but you might want to lower the cocoa powder amount if you do this because the cocoa can be bitter)
2 tsps. cocoa powder
Steep the chai in the boiling water for 10-15 minutes to get some good flavor in there. Remove the tea mix or bag and add the brewed chai to the rolled oats and milk in a large bowl. Add the pinch of salt and the sugar. Microwave for approximately 3 1/2 minutes. Let stand in microwave for 2 minutes. Stir in the cocoa powder and top with a few chocolate chips if you have them handy. Enjoy! 
xo
Natalie

Friday Catch-Up

Hi friends! I’ve been missing you all something fierce lately. Let’s have coffee and chat for a bit, yeah?

God has completely stolen my heart, in the best way possible, lately. He has brought me into such a spacious, beautiful place with Him. He has been giving me the desires of my heart and making my heart desire more and more of Him, every day. #blessingsbacktopraise
There are so many little happy blessings, too, like: 
My advent wreath for 2013 with beautiful beeswax candles in a Swedish wooden heart-and-greens candle holder I dressed up a bit. 
Living in a snowglobe lately!
Beautiful special gifts to brighten my heart from someone I really-really-really-really like 😉 
Blessed to be able to share gluten-free desserts over on the lovely Big Girl Small Kitchen site, such as this Frozen Hot Chocolate and something even fancier coming soon 🙂 
Sharing poetry on my heart over at Darling Magazine…where they take such good care of my words. 
These are just a FEW of the many, many wonderful things in my life right now. I can’t wait to keep sharing with you as we prepare for the coming year. 2014 is going to be the BEST YEAR EVER, I’m pretty convinced 😉 
xoxo
Natalie