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A Year of Gratitude, Minimizing, and Marathoning

It has been a while since we have updated our blog. Since the last time we posted, my mom unexpectedly passed away and it has been one of the most difficult things I have ever experienced in my life. I can easily say this has been the worst year of my life. I know I am not the only person that has lost someone this year, there have been far, far too many and I know they are hurting just as much as I am. I have always been the type of person that can find the good in any situation, but this one I have yet to find anything good. I know it is there, but I am too wrapped up in my own grief to look for it. My family has seen the effects as I am more irritable and just not my old self. Maybe I won’t ever be my old self and maybe that is how it is supposed to be because there is a new and better version of me in there somewhere. Only time will tell. I do know that I have felt the insatiable need to make some changes in my life.

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First of all, I know that I have many, many things to be thankful for. For instance, I have a great new job that I absolutely love and wow did it ever come at a good time. We are all healthy. I have had the privilege to see some pretty amazing places in my lifetime and the list could go on and on. 02AA80CA-4984-40AE-B8D1-69803401F2B7.JPGLast weekend I was in Norman in a cute shop called, Postscripts, and happened upon a little box with the words, A Year of Gratitude – A Kit to Inspire 52 Weeks of Giving Thanks. It is filled with a little book to help you find things to be thankful for and thank you cards. I was very drawn to this box, so I bought it. My 48th birthday is Tuesday and I thought what better way to celebrate than by beginning my Year of Gratitude. My sweet Gracie bought me the little black book that she used a burning tool to engrave the word “gratitude” on the front. She also wrote me a special message inside. It made my heart melt when I opened it.

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My next big change is basically the story of stuff. Lately, I have felt the need to try to minimize things in my life. For instance, the other day I was looking for a pair of tights to wear to work, I dug around in my drawers, my closet, everywhere to find these tights, but to no avail, they were nowhere to be found. I literally sat in my closet looking at all the needless things I have and it was absolutely ridiculous. This Year of Gratitude is also calling me to be a minimalist and to stop buying something every time I think I need or want it. My goal is to not buy anything unnecessary for the next year. That includes clothes and all those little things in the dollar section at Target and everything in between. I wouldn’t say that I am a super big shopper. We don’t plan trips to specifically go shopping, but if I’m out and about and find a cute top or something for my house that fits into my budget, I will typically buy it without even giving it a second thought. This one will be difficult for me, but I feel like I need this challenge mentally. It is kind of like when we give up something during Lent. Every time I want to buy something unnecessary, it will take willpower and focus, but in the end, it will make me a stronger person.

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Lastly, I have not been able to commit myself to run another marathon since my mom’s passing, but I really want to get back at it and I think it would be good for me both physically and mentally. I plan to make the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon my comeback marathon. It was my first one so I could not think of a better one for my comeback year. If you ever have the opportunity to at the minimum attend this race, you need to put it on your bucket list. The energy and atmosphere are second to none. It will literally bring you to your knees.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, for a couple of reasons, I know there are people out there hurting just as much or more than I am. I want them to know that they aren’t alone and maybe this will spark some sort of something in them and help them find some kind of healing. The next one, my longtime print readers have been through many things with me in my life and now my newfound online readers, who better to share this journey with. I want you to keep me accountable. I am ever so grateful for you and look forward to seeing where this coming year takes me.

-Glenda

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Prom is Bomb!

Oh my, oh MY! Let’s talk about prom! We are in the midst of the oh-so fun prom season. I don’t know about you, but I just love seeing everyone get dressed up, and it’s so fun how each girl’s outfit perfectly describes their style and personality.

My senior prom was this past weekend, and I swear on my life that everyone look jaw-dropping gorgeous! My friends and I danced all night and ate some dang good food (Benson’s > everything). It was the perfect way to start our oh-so-sought-after end to senior year. Today, I just wanted to talk about what I wore to prom. After all, this is a fashion post, so… I say we go from top to bottom, starting with hair and makeup!

Now, if you know me at all, you know that I am not the biggest fan of wearing makeup. It’s just not my thing, you know? But, I did make an exception for prom. Yeah. It’s kind of a big deal for me.

My dear sister, Ashton, is responsible for giving me the most incredible Bridget Bardot inspired hair (seriously obsessed with her) and doing my makeup! Boom. Yes. Ashton is obviously the best sister.

Now, let’s talk jewelry and accessories! So, my mom and I were in Norman the day before prom, and I still needed some earrings to really pull it altogether. My mom ended up finding the perfect pair at a boutique on Campus Corner called “Stella Rae’s.” Just look at these! They perfectly complement the neckline and simplicity of the dress. I think they add a little flair, and I am all about that!

I also got a hard-shell clutch that had a sort of marbled, gemstone look to it. I got it in one of my all-time favorite colors, sage green. It’s such a pretty clutch, I just love love love it! I’m sorry to say I didn’t get a picture of it, but we can thank my trusty pal TJ Maxx for providing me with the best bag!

My last accessory for the night was the classic corsage. My mom was once a florist, and she is just so dang talented with stuff like this, so obviously she needed to be the one to make it! She used a beautiful white rose and little succulents all throughout the corsage. I’m a less is more kind of gal when it comes to fashion, and she did a perfect job. The pink tulle in it actually came from my dress (I’ll be sure to explain that next), so it matched wonderfully! Thank you mom, once again for being so awesome.

Okay guys, drum roll please… the dress! Oh yes, the best part, the dress!! I must say, I am in love with it. I bought it online from BCBGMaxazria, and it actually fit beyond perfectly! I can’t help myself, it’s just so dang pretty. Like seriously, the prettiest dress I’ve ever owned. It’s a glorious color combination of the best shades of blush and beige. The top is just magnificent, it has partially exposed boning and a mesh-like fabric that kind of, sort of shows my midriff. The bottom is a tiered tulle wonderland. We did have to cut the very bottom a smidge because I didn’t want to risk stepping on and ripping the dress! Ashton did all the cutting, and let’s just say…it was nerve-racking at first. All ended well and we even got some tulle for my corsage!

Well, that’s all, my dear friends! I hope you enjoyed my prom look and if you are going to prom, let us see your pictures!! Tag us on Instagram, or use #livingwiselytimesthree for us to see!

Have a good one,

Grayson E. Wise

A special note to the talented Madelyn Eveld for all photography in this post.

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Soul of A Nation

A couple of weekends ago, we ran The Hogeye Half Marathon. After the half, we went to Crystal Bridges Museum of Art to see the Soul of a Nation; Art in the Age of Black Power exhibit. It was fantastic! If you don’t have the opportunity to go see it in person, you should at least read about it. It is such an important part of our history as a nation. This exhibit includes paintings, street photography, murals, sculptures and many more items. These works were often the only way feelings about what was going on in our country could be expressed. These works are described as “era-defining”. I would have to agree with that. It was quite powerful to see and hard to imagine the things that these people experienced in this country that claimed to be “home of the free.”

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Self by Martin Puryer

Towards the end of the exhibit I came across a large sculpture by Martin Puryear simply entitled Self. When one first glances at this sculpture, it looks like a large black mass. It kind of resembled a whale halfway out of the water to me, but after really studying it, there was so much more to it than that. It was quite intriguing. The description stated the artist “created Self from horizontal and vertical sheets and mahogany and red cedar, stained black. The sculpture appears solid, but is hollow. It has no image or declared identity, and its shape is ambiguous – resisting any specific meaning. ‘It’s meant to be a visual notion of the self, rather than any particular self,’ Puryear said. ‘The self as a secret entity, as a secret, hidden place.’” Wow! Let that sink in for a minute. That is one of the reasons I love art, because the interpretation can be different for everyone.

ic church stained glass

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Fort Smith, Arkansas

Art is such an important way to identify and tell a historical story. Just think about Michelangelo, for example. What a shame it would be for this world to not have his art. Being Catholic, art and relics are very important to our church. Every time I enter our church, I am in awe of the stained glass which was donated by parishioners in the 1800s. What a gift they gave and it keeps giving even over a century later.

Of course, most of us can’t afford to have a Picasso hanging in our homes, but we can display our own art and items we’ve collected from memorable occasions. I’ve mentioned in the past, that we always buy something while traveling. Some of my favorite items in my home are things we’ve obtained on various trips. These items never cost much money, but to us they are priceless. For example, the painting below has a funny story that goes with it. The girls and I thought for sure the hubs was kidnapped and thrown in a box truck while going with the man to pay for the painting. Needless, to say an hour later, he returned….unharmed. So now everytime we look at this painting, it reminds us of that and our amazing vacation. Oh, this was also the vacation that we go to do a fun Amazing Cozumel Race adventure!

Mexico painting

Canvas painting we purchased from a local artist while vacationing in Mexico.

Art is everywhere around us and it’s different for everyone. Maybe you love music or an old hymn reminds you of a loved one. Why not frame the sheet music? Art is what you interpret as art. Teach your kids to appreciate art and all that it has to offer.

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On a scale of 1-10 I’m a 13.1

Howdy friends! So, one week and one day ago as a family we participated in the Hogeye Marathon in Springdale, AR — it’s kind of a pig deal.. maybe you’ve heard of it? Anyways this race was SUPER important because it was my first half and my sister Grayson’s as well. I didn’t want to rush writing this post because I wanted to take a week and really reflect on how it felt to accomplish the task of 13.1 miles. So let’s begin.

I previously have written about my struggle with injury while training for big events, but I knew that I was going to accomplish this no matter what — so I did. My training started off strong and steady with just a few speed bumps along the way, but that’s life. It wasn’t until about 2 weeks before that the stress of the race really set in I had come down with some kind of plague like sickness (okay maybe not that bad) and we had a death in the family. I wasn’t going to let this stop me, so I decided I would listen to my body but still do one longer-ish run leading up to race day. I wasn’t feeling entirely confident but good enough.

Moving onto race week. It’s the day before the race and we have packet pickup and a nice little race expo to attend, but of course nothing is ever that easy. I am a television news producer so when duty calls there is no escaping it. Just about 3:30pm that afternoon we started getting some severe weather in the area, but then things really took a turn — we had 11 tornadoes total across the state of Arkansas. Which means I’m stuck in the production booth making sure we are keeping people informed. So, I finally am able to leave work and make it to the race expo with minutes to spare. (leaving me feeling incredibly stressed about the big day just hours away!)

RACE DAY! The big day had finally arrived and I was a basket case.. literally running around stressing out about the weirdest things. It ended up being a cold and very windy day, but I knew what I came there for and some wind wasn’t going to stop me. We were standing at the starting line and I was almost in tears thinking I couldn’t do it, but mom got me together. The gun fired and we were off and it felt like a herd of cattle I was just following the pack of people not even really worrying about my usual running pace and before I knew it the miles literally started flying by — the best advice I can give to any of you that my mom gave to me is to take it one mile at a time. There were times along my 13.1 mile journey that I sure felt like it would never end but all I could think about was how sweet that finish was going to taste. The wind was brutal and entirely too cold but I think that just made the finish even better. When I made my last turn and saw the 13 mile marker I felt like a million bucks.. like literally nothing could stop me. But then I could hear the music and crowd at the finish and I couldn’t control my emotions I was flooded with so many thoughts and feelings. I saw my family at the corner and my dad ran with me the last .1 of mile and I was crying the entire way across the finish. I wasn’t crying because I was in pain, but I was crying because I have never felt so accomplished. Yes, graduating college was amazing but this was different and almost indescribable.

I think that if there is one thing that I want all of you to takeaway from this extremely long post about my feelings is that if you haven’t done a half marathon then I am challenging you to complete one in the near future. It’s the most rewarding experience and really helps structure your life with the regimented training schedule. So get to running and tag us in your training pictures!

Until the next run,

Ashton Nicole

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Don’t Tump on a Stump!

This past weekend was filled with great family memories, lots of laughs, and some hilarious new hiking phrases (hence the title of this post: “Don’t Tump on a Stump!”). Getting to spend some time in the great outdoors with my family is just what I needed. We stayed in our coach (who doesn’t love glamping, am I right?) at the Buffalo Outdoor Center Campground and hiked around Goat’s Bluff and Whitaker Point, otherwise known as Hawksbill Crag.IMG_9490

In this post, I just want to give an overview of some of the really cool places we got to experience this spring break, and a few tips if you’re really new to the hiking business! Maybe this post will even inspire you to go out and breathe that glorious fresh mountain air.  Let me tell you if you have never gone hiking, you totally should. It has to be one of the greatest feelings when you look at the gorgeous view and think, “Wow, nature is so flipping awesome!”

Okay, let us begin! So, the first day of our mini vacation was mostly filled with driving to the Buffalo Outdoor Center. We arrived around 3:00PM and decided we would take a leisure hike to Whitaker Point, which is about three miles round trip. Now, my mom has been dying to go here, and I was pretty excited myself! Oh, and guys, it did not disappoint. It was pretty breathtaking to see the hazy mountains surrounding us and the beautiful valley below. You better believe I was snapping pictures left and right to try and capture such a beauty! To be completely honest, the photos don’t even show how beautiful it really is.DSC_0639.JPG

Tip #1: If you go hiking later in the day when it is very cloudy like we did, I suggest bringing a light thermal jacket, pullover, or sweatshirt. It can get quite chilly the higher up you go, (not to mention very windy!!) and it is wise to have another layer you can quickly throw on.

Now the real fun begins… Day Two consisted of an all-day hike that was, in one word, incredible! It was a fairly strenuous hike so I would definitely recommend investing in a quality pair of hiking boots so you don’t worry about slipping, twisting, or stumping on the trail. It happens a lot, so to have a good layer of protection between the rocks and your toes is a heck of an advantage. I bought mine from here.

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We started on a very steep and rocky trail that was about three miles one way to go to the incredible Goat’s Bluff! As you peered over the ledge, you could see the Buffalo River below, and it was outstanding! Once we reached this destination on our journey, we decided that it was the picture perfect spot to have lunch! I was starved by this point, and I never thought a peanut butter wrap tasted so good. I love bringing these energy-inducing peanut butter wraps when I hike. They are the perfect fuel to get you through a long hike. They are filling, easy to transport, and downright delicious! I personally love the combination of apple and pear slices with a few raisins on either a pita or flatbread tortilla with natural peanut butter slathered on, but I think peanut butter banana would be an equally wonderful option.

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Tip #2: When hiking long lengths, bring an easily packable lunch in your backpack, and don’t forget to bring plenty of water!  We like to reuse plastic takeout containers to keep our lunch contained. It’s the perfect way to save some waste and keep your hiking backpack super organized! Also, protein balls are a great snack to keep your energy pumping!

 

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After Goat’s Bluff, we ventured on down to what we thought was going to be Hemmed in Hollow, but ended up taking a wrong trail somewhere and ended up somewhere completely different. That’s the beauty of hiking, sometimes you get on the wrong path, but no matter what, you see some really wicked and beautiful sights. Instead of a waterfall, we saw the clearest water ever and the age-old Henderson’s Cabin!

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It was a great day, filled with a 10.5-mile hike and gorgeous sights. At the end of the day, my feet may have been tired as heck, but I would do it all again! Hiking has to be one of my favorite ways to stay healthy and active while getting explore nature. I’ll say it again and again, hiking is something everyone should experience. You’ll never know if you’ll like it until you try it (I’m willing to bet money the views you get will make it all worth the rocky trails). So, my dear readers, I invite you to take an adventure and go hike, even if it is only a few miles! Nature is crazy cool and in the words of Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation, “It’s a real beaut Clark.”

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Until next time,

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Grayson E. Wise

P.S. If you love my shirt, click here to buy one of your own (they come in almost every color too!!)

follow @livingwiselytimesthree for updates and more!

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Prestonrose Farm and Brewing A Lucky Find

This past St. Patrick’s Day my hubby and I decided to take it a little slower than in years past…think, St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Greenville Avenue in Dallas, Texas. While that is more fun that any one person should have in one day and I highly recommend you put it on your bucket list, we wanted something a little lower key this year and our schedules didn’t really permit a full weekend away. We invited a few of our friends and off we went on our hour and a half excursion to Prestonrose Farm and Brewing in Paris, Arkansas. To some an hour and half might seem like a bit too far, but it was worth the drive. It was actually kind of nice after a busy work week.

preston rose table

Picture coutesy of Preston Rose Farm and Brewing Facebook page

pr coasterAccording to my friend, Mary Pat, Liz and Mike Preston own the farm. Liz is a microbiologist. Her new job at Nuclear One at London harkened the move to Arkansas from California. The name of the farm and brewery is a combination of their last name and the Rose family that originally settled the property. I love how they blended the old and new to make something great.

There is a nice selection of beer. My favorite is the Citrawit and Donnie’s is Heritage Pal. There are many more selections than the two I mentioned, but honestly, I had no interest in trying them after tasting that fabulousness in my glass.

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Green Cheese with Sourdough

The food menu is ever changing as it is all either grown on their farm or from local farmers. I love that! I opted to forgo the vegan lifestyle for the “green cheese” which was the most magnificent goat cheese topped with pesto and served with a fantastic sourdough bread. The hubby had the traditional St. Paddy’s Day fair of corn beef and cabbage.

There is more than meets the eye to this little farm. The Prestons “strive to use as many local ingredients” and are working to bring barley farming and malting back to Arkansas. Their website states their goal is to produce a 100% estate beer.

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Sharon, Carol, Joe, Mary Pat, me and Donnie

If you want a fun, relaxing day take the turn onto St. Louis Valley Rd, just past Subiaco Academy, follow the dirt road and look for Prestonrose’s sign. If you don’t live close enough to venture to Prestonrose, search out small organic farm to table restaurants and breweries in your area. You won’t be disappointed. Support local!

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Go On a Thrifting Adventure

A few weeks ago, the girls and I had a free Saturday together while Donnie was cycling somewhere in Timbuktu. We decided to go to a few of our favorite spots—resale shops and Goodwill.

christmas presentsFor us, shopping at thrift stores is like Christmas morning. You never know what surprises are waiting. I love going to these places, because the pieces are unique and I can get a lot for my money.

We do not typically go with a plan for a specific item, because that is just stress waiting to happen. We just sort of peruse about and see what jumps out at us and what could be a nice addition to the home.  We do, however, have a general idea of things we prefer to purchase at thrift stores. They are:

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  • Picture frames– Don’t worry that the colors don’t match. There is nothing a can of spray paint or chalk paint can’t fix. Also, think outside the standard 5×7 or 8×10. Don’t’ be afraid to purchase a large framed picture. You can take the picture out and just use the frame. I have used large frames to frame other frames and I have used large frames to make my own decorative chalkboards for a fraction of the retail cost.
  • Mirrors – Mirrors can be so expensive to buy in the store and though they are pretty, they are kind of cookie cutter. Personally, I prefer older looking mirrors. It is almost as if they have some kind of story to tell. Obviously, I like older mirrors; I believe I have mentioned a couple of times that I purchased two from Traci Barnes in the past year! If I had put anything but the round vintage mirror above the piano, it just would not have looked the same.

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  • Vases, jars, bottles and containers – These are probably some of my favorite items to buy in a thrift store. I also think these types of things can really pull a look together. For example, if you have an old tray you want to use, bottles and vases grouped on it will give it that designer look.
  • Dishes and platters – I adore silver serving platters and I don’t think you can have too many. Of course, these are useful during the holidays, but they also give your summer barbeques a nice little spiffy surprise when serving food. It is amazing how much a silver platter can jazz up hot dog buns! You can also use them for decorative purposes by filling with candles or a few small vases of fresh flowers.

The best thing about thrifting is that it is like a little adventure. There are surprises around every corner and you never know what you mind find. I set a small budget, most of the time it is around $20, and then we like to see what we can get for that amount. You would be amazed at what you can find! Give it a try some time. Go on a thrifting adventure!

Glenda

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Making the Old New

I hope this week is finding you well. Our house spent last week and most of this week sick. Of course, the weather was fantastic for a beautiful long run, but instead I was stuck at home in a never-ending Netflix show hole. Gracie and I did get to start a puzzle we have wanted to work on for the past couple of months, so that was exciting. Needless to say, I didn’t get much done around the house that I had planned. There is always this weekend, right?

Since I don’t have anything new or exciting to report to you this week, I thought I would go back to last week’s Decorating Wisely blog about moving the piano home and rearranging my furniture. Remember, I told you I moved the cabinet from the entry to the breakfast area? Don’t worry, it’s still there and I couldn’t be happier. I really am pleased with it and how much better it looks. I have always loved the cabinet itself, but felt like I never really did it justice or helped it live up to its fullest potential. Since displaying my china, crystal and a few beloved pieces from grandmothers in it, it has really changed the look and given it that “umph” it has missed for the past ten years! The best part is that I didn’t have to purchase anything to give it a fresh, new look. I was able to utilize everything I already owned. I also love being able to highlight my special pieces for no other reason than they just make me happy to see them every day. Isn’t that the point of special pieces…to bring a smile to our faces? They may not mean that much to anyone else, but they mean something to you and your family.

before afterOh, I changed one more thing. I felt like I needed something on top of the cabinet, but it is unusually tall, so not just anything would work. Trust me, I tried everything. I finally tried a couple of prints I purchased in New Orleans several years ago. The size worked great, but they just didn’t look right. In fact, I have never really loved the matting around the prints because I felt like it didn’t do them justice. It was sort of overpowering for the prints. So, again, after ten years I decided to change them. I know, I know there’s a pattern here. Rather than buying new matting, I simply turned the mat over to reveal the cream side. Wow! What a difference that made. I love them now! They really stand out and look like how they were supposed to look!

The moral of this story, don’t be afraid to switch things up, turn mats over, and for sure, don’t wait ten years to do it!

Glenda

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Super Bowl Sunday

It is officially SUPER BOWL Sunday! It is such an exciting day because we get to gather with friends and family and come together over something that pretty much everyone can enjoy. I know what you’re thinking well I don’t care much for football.. guess what? You have the amazing commercials to look forward to and this year the tell all episode of This is Us on how Jack finally died. Besides who doesn’t love a perfectly good excuse to throw a party?

Okay, let’s start with the decorations. No matter who is playing you can’t go wrong with classic “football colors.” For example this year my New Orleans Saints (WHO DAT?!) didn’t make the cut, so I really don’t have a dog in this fight. If you’re like me go with some light blues and greens if you want to keep it neutral or you can just do a variety of both teams colors. However, I do like to avoid using the logos something about the simplicity of just the colors is very appealing to me. In a football situation some great go to decorations are streamers, balloons, banners, photo props, and cute football dodads here and there.

Thanks to the flu I am having to sit out hosting this year — these photos are from a previous Super Bowl party I have hosted.

What I loved about this party was how the streamers really brought everything together — they were super festive and also worked as a great backdrop for photos with my guest. You know us millennials love a good place to take an Instagram picture. Okay, back to the point the streamers were super easy to hang and really spiced up the party. I also placed a mason jar of photo props on the table for easy access to snag a photo while the action wasn’t happening.

Here I used my dessert as the center piece for the table. I was able to find this super cute football field table runner with no team logos on it to really tie the table together. I am a HUGE balloon fan — like I want to use them any chance I get — so of course I placed just a small bundle in the corners on a balloon weight that way there was a splash of color and festive feeling everywhere.

If you know me then you probably know that baking is one of my favorite past times. I think it is a great stress reliever as well as a fun way to make tiny creations that bring joy and happiness. My favorite thing about any football party is how easy it is to make a festive cupcake. Now these are similar to the ones pictured above, but these are the ones I made for the party I am attending today.

To make these I used the Wilton grass tip; which pretty much looks like a flat piping tip with a bunch of little holes in it. I like to make this icing a little bit thicker so the grass keeps its shape. ( I will include all recipes at the bottom of this post) I mix in a little green food coloring and get to piping. I don’t think it really matters how perfect the grass height is because you’re going to either finish it off with a football tooth pick or maybe a team logo pick. This year I did half with toothpicks and then I made a separate chocolate buttercream and piped on little hand drawn footballs and accented with the grass. Oh, and one not important detail — I made chocolate cupcakes because I like the idea of eating grass and biting into that dirt colored cupcake but vanilla would work just fine.

Of course, I had to make some chicken wings even though I don’t personally consume meat, but other people do and it’s all about getting together and being happy. So this year I decided to do half sweet and spicy bbq and half classic hot wings. I baked these in the oven to make them quick and easy as well as less messy.

For the cauliflower wings (now we are talking my language) I went ahead and did the same thing — half sweet and spicy bbq and half classic hot wing. I think the best part about these is that even if you do eat meat these are just as tasty and less than half the calories. Plus no animals.

Have a great Super Bowl Sunday!!

Ashton Nicole


SUPER BOWL RECIPES:

Classic Buttercream:

1 1/2 Stick of Butter (soft to the touch, but not room temp)

1 TBS Vanilla Extract

2 1/2 C Powdered Sugar (have more on hand in case you want to sweeten it up)

1-2 TBS Heavy Whipping Cream (to only be used if the mix is too thick)

Directions:

1. In an electric mixer combine butter and vanilla. Beat on high until a smooth creamy consistency.

2. Add in powdered sugar 1/4 C at a time. This creates less of a mess. Combining at a slow speed on your mixer. Once sugar is mixed turn up the speed and beat on high for 2-3 minutes. Really making sure it gets nice and creamy.

4. At this point you can add in any food coloring or cocoa powder to make this a chocolate butter cream.

If you notice the mix is too thick add in a little heavy whipping cream at a time.

Oven Baked Crispy Chicken Wings:

24 frozen or fresh chicken wings

1 C Whole Wheat Flour

1 TBS Garlic Powder

1 TBS Onion Powder

1 TBS Chili Powder

1 tsp Cayenne Pepper

1 tsp Paprika

1/2 C of your favorite bbq sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray’sSweet Baby Ray’s best)

1/2 C of your favorite hot wing sauce (Can’t go wrong with Franks)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450: cover a baking sheet with foil and grease well. I use Pam.

2. Rinse and lay dry your wings. If frozen make sure they are completely thawed out.

3. Combine flour and spices in a large bowl. Toss wings in mixture to ensure they are completely covered.

4. Place on tray close but not touching. Baking 18 minutes. Flip. Bake 18 more minutes.

5. Remove wings from oven. Place oven in broil. Brush sauces on both sides of the wings. Place tray of wings on the top rack and broil for 5 minutes.

6. Let cool and serve.

Crispy Cauliflower Wings:

1 Head Cauliflower

1/2 C Almond Milk (unsweetened and unflavored)

1/2 C Whole Wheat Flour

1/2 C Corn Flakes (crushed)

1 TBS Garlic Powder

1 TBS Onion Powder

1 TBS Chili Powder

1 tsp Cayenne Pepper

1 tsp Paprika

1/2 C of your favorite bbq sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray’s best)

1/2 C of your favorite hot wing sauce (Can’t go wrong with Franks)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450.

2. Cut cauliflower into bite size pieces.

3. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and place almond milk in a separate bowl.

4. Toss cauliflower in almond milk and then transfer to flour mixture. Coating evenly.

5. Place on a baking sheet close but not touching. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until crispy.

6. Remove from oven. Place oven on broil. Brush sauce all over cauliflower bites. Broil for 5 minutes. Let cool and serve.

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New Year, Old Piano

A couple of years ago my mom decided she didn’t have room anymore for the old piano that my sister and I learned to play, so she asked me if I wanted it. Of course I said yes, you all know how much I love old things that have sentimental value. Sentimental value is really the only thing of value, because it’s not an expensive brand or anything like that, it’s just valuable to me and my memories. I spent many hours practicing those darn scales and “How Great Thou Art”. I even have my old metronome that I hated so much as a kid…tick, tick, tick……

I’m not sure if you caught the first few words, “a couple of years ago”. Yeah, that’s how long it took Donnie to actually get it into the house. It’s been in storage this whole time! As much as I want to completely blame him, I can’t. I’ve been busy as well and I knew that moving it into the house would require moving a lot of things around and rearranging, so I didn’t push the matter too much.

cabinetI knew all along I wanted it in the entry, but then, of course, that led to what to do with the cabinet in the entry. You know, it is like a snowball effect; one thing leads to another and another and another. I’m happy to report that it turned out just the way I envisioned. I moved the cabinet to the kitchen/breakfast area where I revamped and actually put it to use of how it was intended—to hold china and crystal. I’ve had all that stored away in my cabinets, so now I’m thrilled to have them out for easy access. Donnie is even more thrilled to have the cabinet empty for all his water bottles and workout goo.
I still have to rearrange the office for another small cabinet I had to move into there, but overall I am happy with the much-needed change that didn’t cost me anything besides a little hard work. Well, I take that back, I did buy a vintage mirror from Traci Barnes to put above the piano, but I’ve had my eye on that for about a year, so I’ve really just been looking for an excuse to buy it anyway!