Our Mini Family: December 2015


Valentine's Day S'mores Dip

Happy New Year!! Well, almost! In my mind, it already feels like 2016 since I have been plugging away and planning out my year and editorial calendar. If you haven't noticed already, it's starting to feel a little bit like Valentine's Day around these parts (and that's because this holiday always sneaks up on us after New Year's Eve!) 


One of my goals for 2016 is to incorporate more videos with the blog, and today's post is the first of (hopefully) many more posts that come with a video recipe tutorial! Today, I'm sharing my Valentine's Day S'mores Dip recipe which is incredibly rich, creamy and brings two things I love together: Valentine's Day and s'mores! Check out the video recipe and tutorial below: 

The Best of 2015! My Top 10 Blog Posts

The year is coming to an end, and I'm so grateful for all of the opportunities I've had in 2015! I was able to start pursuing blogging full-time, and after the first few months of the year, I dedicated all of my time to brainstorming, preparing, and sharing the best recipes, tutorials, and ideas I could think of. Today, I'm reflecting back on the year that I've had and I'm sharing the top 10 posts from 2015!



Pizookie Skillet Cookie

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


Although the holiday season is starting to come to a close, I've got my mind on some delicious sweets that I can bake and enjoy in the coming year. Once New Year's Eve has come and gone, the ball has dropped, and 2016 has finally arrived, I can finally start to prepare for my second favorite holiday: Valentine's Day. 

I know what you're probably thinking, "it's too early to be thinking about Valentine's Day!" I promise you, this holiday will sneak up on you if you are not careful. I've already started thinking about what our Valentine's Day plans will be, as well as some delicious and festive treats I can make for my hubby and all of our friends. Today, I'm sharing a decadent, chocolate chip Pizookie Skillet Cookie recipe that has a fun Valentine's Day twist on it: M&M's® Strawberry!


White Chocolate, Marshmallow and Strawberry Puppy Chow

Puppy chow has been around for a while now. I was browsing on Pinterest the other day looking for a puppy chow recipe with white chocolate and marshmallow and hadn't found one. Today, I'm sharing my Valentine's Day inspired puppy chow recipe I came up with: white chocolate covered wheat cereal, tossed with powdered sugar and paired with strawberry and marshmallow flavors!



Now that Christmas is over, I can focus on preparing for my second favorite holiday: Valentine's Day! Check out the recipe for my White Chocolate, Marshmallow and Strawberry Puppy Chow below:

Our Mini Linky Party | Week 51


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!! May your year be filled with wonderful opportunities, wishes granted, blessings given, good health, good fortune, and happiness!

Adam and I spent the majority of our holiday week relaxing and enjoying the down time we had. Sadly, it's back to the grind today but all for good reason; I've got a lot of goals to accomplish in the coming year, and I'm excited to get started on some of the projects I've been brainstorming. Adam goes back to work today and starts intensive (required) over time, so we will both be spending a lot of time working in the office and not so much time kicking back like we have been this holiday. 

I can't wait to see what projects you have to share with us this week!

Phoenix Coffee House Tours | 7 Shops in 7 Days

After surveying some long-time locals who have lived in the valley almost all of their lives (and taking my own personal experiences into account), I narrowed down all of the coffee shops in Greater Phoenix to these 7 places--and today, I'm sharing a little bit of info about every shop from my coffee tour!


Adam and I had a blast completing our Phoenix Coffee House Tour this week. We had a lot of fun driving around town in our swanky 2016 Lexus IS 350 traveling to all of the different coffee shops every day! Check out all of the details from our coffee tour below:

Homestyle Friendsmas Ham with Grammy's Slow Cooker Holiday Stuffing

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


Christmas is the time of year for friends and family to gather together. But for Adam and I, since we moved to Arizona a few years ago, holidays with our families are few and far between. We make it work, though! Yes, it can be tough to not be around family this time of year, but luckily for us, our friends are our family too. This year, we're hosting a potluck-style Friendsmas at our place and our kitchen table is going to be stacked with homestyle meals "just like mom used to make!" For our Friendsmas this year, I'm serving Hormel Cure 81 Bone-In Ham and Grammy's Slow Cooker Holiday Stuffing!

This holiday stuffing recipe includes homestyle flavors like cornbread, sage, and thyme!


Baking Sugar Cookies that Look Perfect Every Time

Baking cookies for the holidays really does not have to be difficult--all you really need is a go-to sugar cookie recipe, the right kitchen gadgets, and some patience.


Today I'm sharing my favorite sugar cookie recipe, as well as going over the baking gadgets I've used to create countless sugar cookies that look perfect. So if you've ever felt frustrated while baking sugar cookies, you'll want to check out this post!

Our Mini Linky Party | Week 50


Good morning! 

It's nearly Christmas and it's officially my birthday week--my birthday is on Wednesday and I'm so happy I won't have to worry about working on that day; I think this is the first year in quite some time I didn't have to work on my birthday, and honestly, I'm so stoked about it! I'll probably spend my day relaxing in my comfy pajamas drinking hot cocoa and watching Netflix. 

Today, I'm tying up some loose ends on a blog post I'll be sharing on Monday. But I'm ready for our linky party! I can't wait to see what projects and recipes you have to share today!

Cathy's 27th Birthday!

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me! Yes it's the week of my birthday and I am so excited you're joining me to help me celebrate! It's safe to say that turning 27 feels about the same as the last few years, except this year is a little bit different since this is the first time I've been fortunate enough to not have to work on my birthday since I was studying at Arizona State University. So, I'm going to celebrate this week and I invite you to join me (as well as see my fabulous birthday #ootd!)


Now, if you're wondering what exactly it is that I want for my birthday, I have to tell you something: I already got my birthday present a few months back. My dear husband, Adam, was selfless enough to buy me a very expensive (and incredibly epic) seat at the Taylor Swift concert here in Phoenix. To say that it was the best present I've ever gotten is a laughable understatement. I'm a total Swiftie at heart and let's just say that I spent the night of the concert losing my voice from singing, bruising my feet from dancing so hard, and smudging my makeup from crying tears of joy.

Walking in a Desert Wonderland

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




Christmas is just over a week away! Where did the time go?! I feel like I was just cooking a turkey in the oven and now I'm planning out my holiday party outfit. It's crazy how time flies. 'Tis the season for entertaining, therefore 'tis the season to sparkle! On Christmas Day, you can find me covered head to toe in something that is both pretty and also shiny. Today, I'm sharing my plus size #ootd for Christmas featuring a beautiful Anne Klein 3-piece Box Set from Dillard's.

Our Mini Linky Party | Week 49


Happy Saturday! I hope you had a great week!

We shared a handful of updates on the blog this week, so I've been busy as ever working my butt off trying to catch up with my holiday season workload. I've got Christmas cookies on my mind today, and I'm loving all of the cookie recipes that were shared at the 4th Annual Christas Cookie Recipe Swap! In case you missed out on the recipe swap this year, I invite you to stay subscribed to my updates so that we can include you in our blogger swap next year! My partner for the swap was Michele and she blogs over at Flavor Mosaic; I made her recipe for Pumpkin Eggnog Thumbprint cookies and showed it off on the blog yesterday. 

Do you have a favorite cookie that you make for the holidays? I'd love it if you shared it at our party!

Pumpkin Eggnog Thumbprint Cookies

Good morning! Happy Friday! Although the week is nearly over, my to-do list is a mile long. But, I can take comfort in knowing that I have some leftover cookies to enjoy to keep me happy through the day. 



Today, I'm joining along with a bunch of fabulous foodie bloggers for the 4th annual Christmas Cookie Recipe Swap! This Pumpkin Eggnog Thumbprint Cookies recipe comes from Michele of Flavor Mosaic, another food blogger from our recipe swap group. I've baked Michele's cookie recipe today to share with all of you, and I invite you to keep reading to see all of the other cookie recipes shared in our swap group.

How I Tricked My Husband into Taking our Christmas Card Photo




Yay! It's officially Christmas card season! When I was younger, I never understood the whole card exchange ordeal; as an adolescent, I thought it was time-consuming, expensive, and a complete nuisance.  As I stand here today at twenty-six years young, I can tell you that sending and receiving Christmas cards is now one of my favorite parts of the holiday season! Nothing gives me more joy now than hanging up beautiful cards filled with photos of our friends and family on our Christmas tree!



Admittedly, it's been a few years since Adam and I have sent out personalized Christmas cards. The last few years, card-sending season totally snuck up on me and I completely forgot to design and send them out; but every year, like clockwork, our friends and family continue to send us a card regardless of whether or not we sent them one last year. It's so thoughtful! I'd had enough with missing out on this wonderful yearly tradition, so this year I partnered with Staples to make some personalized cards and gifts for our closest friends and family! Today, I'm sharing the details from our order through Staples Copy & Print services and sharing my story of how I tricked my husband into taking our Christmas card photo.

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas with Lime, Chipotle, and Salsa Verde

hank you to 
HERDEZ
®
Brand
for sponsoring today’s post and 
inspiring me to further celebrate 
Las Posadas


A few weeks ago, Adam and I were excited to hear that we won a new slow cooker. Since the day we received our slow cooker in the mail, we've gone to work to start experimenting with and preparing recipes to share with you. Today, I'm sharing my Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas with Lime, Chipotle, and Salsa Verde recipe that is very easy to make and tastes authentically delicious!


For today's slow cooker recipe, we've partnered with HERDEZ® since my carnitas recipe base uses HERDEZ® Salsa Verde. Along with the recipe below, we're also sharing the details about an exciting Instagram sweepstakes we'd like YOU to enter to win!

Date Night Idea | At-Home Spa Night!

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


With the dry winter months upon us, I've really noticed that my skin needs some pampering. Since Adam and I are saving up our money for Christmas right now, we don't really have the funds to go out for a formal date night at a restaurant or something like that. Rather than skimp out on date night, we figured it would be a fun idea to have an at-home spa night as our weekly date night!

Today, I'm sharing some of our at-home spa treatment ideas we did for our latest date night, as well as sharing some info about how you can enter to win a trip for two to Aruba when you buy Silk'n Flash&Go!!

DIY Coffee and Brown Sugar Scrub

This morning, like every other Sunday morning, I woke up in a haze and promptly stumbled my way through the kitchen until I stood over my coffee pot. I lifted the coffee maker lid and stared down at the excess of leftover coffee grinds. I stood there for a moment and thought, "it's a shame I can't think of a use for these!" As I started to remove the damp, aged coffee from the lid and had already begun strolling over to the trash bin--I suddenly stopped in my tracks. I grabbed a paper towel, laid it down on the counter, and then placed the coffee grinds on top. As I hovered over my counter with caffeine withdrawals (at this point, I was still distracted by the thought of coming up with a use for these grinds I had totally forgotten to refill the coffee pot to brew some), I had already begun brainstorming ways I could incorporate these leftover coffee grinds.

What idea did I come up with before my first cup of coffee, you ask? DIY Coffee and Brown Sugar Scrub!


Today, I'm sharing my tutorial on how I made my very own, individualized coffee and brown sugar scrub.

Our Mini Linky Party | Week 48


Good morning, friends! Happy December!

I hope that you are having a wonderful start to your month! Have you started decorating for the holidays yet? Adam and I finally dug out the rest of our Christmas stuff from our outdoor closet, and we finally got around to putting up our tree yesterday; our living room feels so festive and I love it! 
Isn't there something magical about twinkling Christmas lights!?

Earlier this week on the blog I shared the details from our holiday party Adam and I threw with Coca-Cola. I'm so excited to see what holiday-inspired projects you have to share this week at today's linky party!



Plus Size Women's Football Fashion Guide



Born and raised in Massachusetts, I learned from a very early age that it's totally acceptable (if not necessary) for us to express ourselves when it comes to our favorite teams. Investing in New England Patriots football gear is important to me because it says what I can't--yes Adam and I have lived in Phoenix for years and we call it home, but when it comes down to it, our roots are in rural Boston. Every Sunday, Adam and I put our crazy work schedules aside for about 3 hours and sit on the couch to celebrate our hometown. Rooting for the New England Patriots is more than a pastime for me; when my husband and I watch the game together, we're living out and celebrating a tradition that we've both had since we were children. Growing up on the East coast, football is more than a sport. It's family.


In the past, I have struggled to find jerseys or even just regular t-shirts that not only fit me but also look cute, feminine, and compliment my everyday wardrobe. Today, I've partnered with NFLShop.com to share a couple of my favorite, plus size football Sunday outfits to wear!

Winter Denim and Faux Fur

Phoenix winter weather is officially here and I'm breaking out all of my warm clothes from the back of the closet--cowl scarves, faux fur vests, and dark denim. 

And if mixing different colored denim is wrong, I don't want to be right! 


This time of year is the exact reason why people move to Arizona. Nothing compares to the winter season in Phoenix--and today, I'm sharing my latest lifestyle look on the blog. Thanks to Shane Co for partnering with us to share my outfit with you today!

How to Host a Holiday Party with Coca-Cola

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


Falalalala lala la la! Adam and I are completely and totally in love with the holidays right now, so we figured what better way to show our holiday spirit than to throw a fabulous and festive party! 

Our apartment is filled with some of our favorite winter decorations--pretty twinkling lights hung around the windows and on the walls, miniature Christmas trees sprouting up on desks and side tables, jolly smiling Snowmen strewn about, and just about anything Santa Claus-related I can get my hands on! To celebrate our favorite time of year, we decided to host a party that incorporated some of our favorite holiday decoration ideas (as well as some fantastic and delicious recipes using our go-to holiday beverage: Coca-Cola!)


Today, I'm sharing all of the recipes and tutorials from our holiday party!
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