Baby Girl Nursery

Baby Girl Nursery
Baby Girl Nursery

Summer Bucket List

Summer Bucket List
Summer Bucket List

Drugstore Beauty

Drugstore Beauty
Drugstore Beauty

Pumpkin Brownies

Happy Halloween!! Any holiday is a good enough excuse for me to make a dessert and Halloween is definitely no exception.  I came across this recipe on Pinterest and had to try it out ASAP.  Pumpkin + brownies? Yessss.  This is an easy enough fall treat that you probably have all of the ingredients for already in your house!
Shopping List
For Brownies:
     - 1 18 oz box of brownies (I used Betty Crocker's Fudge Brownies)
     - Whatever your brownie mix calls for (oil, water, eggs)

For Pumpkin Filling:
     - 6 tbsp cream cheese softened
     - 1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
     - 1 egg
     - 3 tbsp white sugar
     - 1 tsp ground cinnamon
     - 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2) In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix your brownie batter with ingredients called for on box.

3) In another bowl, combine all pumpkin filling ingredients and beat with mixer until smooth.  The cream cheese may take a little bit to mix so make sure you have softened it beforehand (I popped mine in the microwave for about 30 seconds).

4) Line an 8 x 8 baking dish with cooking spray and parchment paper. Read about why to do this and the best way to do it here.

5) Fill your baking dish with 3/4 of your brownie batter.

6) Pour all of your pumpkin filling on top of the brownie batter.

7) Top the pumpkin filling with the rest of the brownie batter.

8) Optional: using a fork, gently swirl the top layers of brownie and pumpkin to create design.

9)  Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Delicious and pretty!  Enjoy!

Hawaiian Honeymoon - Part 6

Catch up on Part 1 of our Hawaiian honeymoon here
Part 2 here  Part 3 here  Part 4 here  Part 5 here

Saturday, August 3
After our busy Friday of traveling to Maui and the luau, we had big plans for Saturday: to do NOTHING!  We slept in finally - and by sleeping in, I mean we slept until about 7 am, the time change really threw us off the whole trip!  Nick ran down to get us some breakfast from the little cafe in our resort and we enjoyed it on our balcony.  This was honestly one of my favorite parts of our honeymoon, the time we spent just the two of us sitting on our balcony, laughing and talking about how awesome the wedding was, Hawaii was, etc. 

We decided to head to the grocery store and stock up on some sandwich stuff and snacks for our hotel room.  While at the grocery store, we came across the Spam aisle.  Apparently, Hawaiians love them some Spam!  I thought this was so random because the stuff is disgusting!  We had even seen a "white rice and spam sandwich" at an ABC store on Oahu and they had tooons of different flavors of it at the grocery store.  We were all about getting the Hawaiian experience but we decided to pass on the Spam!

Nick let me drive the Mustang on our way back to the resort and we did some cruising around our area.  Ka'anapli Beach is so beautiful.  You can look west and see the Pacific Ocean and you can look east and see mountain ranges.  The views from everywhere were amazing and there are a multitude of beautiful resorts to choose from. I would highly recommend the area if you are planning a honeymoon, family trip, anything really!

We got back to our resort and had another serious order of business to take care of: buying boogie boards!  After checking out the beach the day before, we knew these were a must have for us.  We both love swimming and Ka'anapali Beach did not disappoint with its waves!  The Westin Maui is literally right next to an outdoor mall that had an ABC store in, so we headed over and made our best purchase of the vacation!

After changing into our swimsuits, we decided to walk down the beach to explore.  From our balcony in our room, we could see Black Rock in the distance.  It looked like people were jumping off Black Rock into the ocean and this was right up Nick's alley.  We headed down the beach and sure enough, people were jumping off and sure enough, Nick had to try it, too!  I watched from the shore and promised him I would try it later in the week. 

Mid jump!

We headed back down to our beach and enjoyed the day in the sun.  We did lots of swimming and the waves were crazy!  They were different than any other waves I've experienced because they break directly at the shore.  If you go 10 feet out into the water, you don't experience the waves but if you are 5 feet out, you will experience them full force and they WILL slam you onto the shore!

Later in the afternoon, we were walking down the beach again and came across a very busy stretch that had huge waves.  We were watching for a few minutes when we noticed that an older woman was struggling.  She was falling in the waves and she couldn't get back up.  She started screaming and her adult daughter that was with her was trying to pull her up but didn't have the strength.  When we realized it was becoming an emergency, Nick and a few other men rushed in to help her.  The waves were crashing down on them but they managed to carry her to the shore.  She was screaming and crying and so scared and it was obvious that her leg was broken.  They called for an ambulance and once her entire family was there, we moved on but we felt so badly for her.  It was an important reminder for both of us that the ocean can be dangerous! 

That night, we headed down the beach to the Hyatt Regency to have dinner at Japengo.  I was craving sushi and this outdoor restaurant had great reviews on Yelp, so we decided to check it out.  The Hyatt Regency was also on Ka'anapali Beach so we walked down the Ka'anapali beach path to the resort.  The beach path was so great - it was about a mile long path down between the resorts and the ocean, lit with tiki torches.

Wishing he was still swimming

 What I would give for a plate of this right now!

Dinner was amazing!  I love sushi and this was some of the freshest and best I've ever had.  We had a beautiful table that faced the ocean so we could watch the sunset.  At dinner, we talked over our plans for the next day.  We were planning on visiting Mt. Haleakala to see the sunrise 10,000 feet up.  Sunrise was at approximately 6 am and it was about a 2.5 hour drive from our resort up the mountain so it was going to be an early morning.  We headed back to our room after dinner and set our alarms for 2:30 am!

Sunday, August 4
2:30 am came VERY early!  Luckily, we had slept in the clothes we were going to wear and had already packed our bags of things we needed to bring so we were out the door a little before 3 am.  Although we were in Hawaii, we were headed to an elevation of 10,000 feet and everything I had read said it would be freezing cold at the summit.  It was hard to imagine this as it was 78 degrees when we left our resort!

 Time to go!

Our GPS easily took us to the base of the mountain and it was funny how many other cars were on the road at 4 am, clearly doing the same thing as us.  We made it about halfway up the mountain when we came across a little coffee stand literally on the side of the road.  We pulled over and Nick got a coffee and chatted with the man that owned it.

After this stop was when the drive got downright SCARY!  The road curves about every 50 feet but think sharp 90 degree curves.  On the side of a mountain.  With no guard rails.  In pitch black darkness.  I never get car sick or motion sickness but I was starting to feel it on this drive.  I was so thankful when we finally made it to the summit and were directed into a parking lot by a state park employee.  The summit only has a small parking lot with room for maybe 50 cars so you have to get there as early as possible.  We arrived about 5:15 am and the parking lot was already half way full.

We had been watching the temperature drop steadily as we climbed the mountain and our car said it was 42 degrees when we arrived.  Since we had about 45 minutes til sunrise, we spent a few minutes with the heat cranked in the car and putting on our layers of clothes we brought.  We finally ventured out into the cold, dry, thin air at about 5:25 am and made our way up the stairs into the observation area.  It is a small room with all glass windows (unfortunately, no heat) with a wrap around balcony for the most dedicated observers.  Since we still had a while, we decided to stay inside the room and get a front row view at the windows.  The people outside looked freezing!  They were all huddled in blankets, most of them sitting and squeezing together to keep warm.

We took lots of pictures and really just stood around and waited for the sunrise.  The room and balcony filled up not soon after and we were so happy we had arrived on time.  The sun finally peaked out of the clouds about 6:10 am and we headed out onto the balcony to really experience it.  It was SO worth the early morning, terrible drive, and coldness.  It's hard to describe in words how beautiful it was.  We were looking down on all of Maui and it was just breathtaking.

 Still mostly dark at arrival

 Here comes the sun! 


We had originally been planning to hike into the crater (Mt. Haleakala is a dormant volcano) after the sunrise but we were just too darn cold so we headed back to the car and made our way down the mountain.  The trip down was much, much better and the views were crazy.  Funny thing was, we had to look out for bikers!  Lots of tour guide companies offer a Mt. Haleakala Sunrise Bike Tour where they bus you to the top of the mountain for sunrise and then you ride bikes back down the mountain.  It looked like so much fun and it's on our must-do list if we ever make it back to Maui.

We stopped at the Kula Lodge on our way down the mountain because we were starving!  It was the cutest little nook on the side of the mountain and we had a delicious breakfast.  We made it back to our hotel around 9:30-10 am and we crashed hard.  We were so tired!  We slept until about noon, had some lunch and headed out to the beach to play in the sun.

Balcony happy hour

For dinner, we tried out a restaurant at our resort that had an amazing sounding Hawaiian pizza and fresh fish tacos.  I'm a sucker for Hawaiian pizzas so I knew I had to have one while in Hawaii. 

 Hang loose!


 Married rings pic :)

It was a relaxing dinner with another gorgeous sunset.  We spent the evening listening to live music at our resort and relaxing.  We headed to bed early as we had another BIG day ahead of us!

Next Wednesday, we take on the famous Road to Hana!

I love you, Cleanse & Polish

If you haven't heard of Birchbox (or something similar) by now, you must be living under a rock!  Birchbox is a monthly subscription service that delivers beauty product samples to your doorstep.  I've been receiving Birchboxes for a little over a year now and I love it!  I haven't tried any of the other similar companies (Glossy Box, Ipsy, Beauty Box etc.) so I can't speak for any of those but I highly recommend Birchbox.  At only $10/month, you receive 4-5 "deluxe" beauty products to sample.  Boxes can obviously be hit or miss but for the most part, I've been happy with at least something in every box I've received.  I've come to love so many products that I probably never would of heard of!

October was a great month for my Birchbox haul.  Here is what I received...

I was so excited to see this in my box!  I'd recently heard about cleanse and polish face washes and was intrigued - you use the cleanser on your dry face and then soak the muslim cloth in hot water and use it to wipe gently in small circles. I was looking at trying out the famous Eve Lom but with it's steep price I was happy to have a sample to try first.  I have pretty sensitive skin and have used the same face wash for years so I was a bit nervous to mix it up.  That being said, I loved this face wash!  The cleanse and polish ritual is definitely different than your normal cleansing but my skin has never felt so smooth (even more so than when I use my Clarisonic!) and I feel that it has really brightened my face up.  Liz Earle claims to also remove eye make up but I tried that once and it didn't really work for me - I still had to take most of it off with eye m/u remover.  I'll most likely purchase the full size version of this as I'm loving the sample and it is a much better price point than the Eve Lom!

If you know me, you know that I am addicted to Carmex.  Chapstick just doesn't do it for me so I passed this on to my husband right away.  The Vanilla Creme smelled great though!

I really liked this sheer pink lipgloss!  It is very much a typical lipgloss so if you aren't into stickiness, you won't enjoy this.  It stayed in place for a few hours and I loved the hint of color and shine it provided.

I've been using Fake Up for a while now so I was sad to see one of my samples wasted on a product I already own!  However, I do love Fake Up and my sample is a lighter color than what I own so it may be great for the winter when I'm a bit paler.  It is a super moisturizing concealer that really brightens the under eye area!

Do you get a Birchbox?  What was your favorite product this month?

Five on Friday 10/25

Friday is here again!  And listen to this... only 2 months until Christmas!!!  Crazy!  I'm super excited for Christmas this year because it's the first one that Nick and I have ever spent together in the 6 years we have known each other.  Now, that is crazy.  Back to the present... it was just another week around here.  The highlight was getting some VERY exciting news from a friend (that I can't share yet!) and the low was that snow flurries were reported on Tuesday.  Gross.

Linking up with both Lauren Elizabeth and A. Liz Adventures for their Five on Friday!

1) Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin- I have a serious addiction to all things Bath and Body Works.  This year, I bought a travel size bottle of the Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin scent and fell in love.  After flying through it, I went back to the store and it was already gone. Luckily, I found it online and even MORE lucky for me (and you!), all SCP products are 50% right now!!  So, I did what any normal person would do and ordered 6 bottles of lotion.
**Remember this post about B&BW candles?  Well, right now the large 3-wick candles are 2 for $22 (regularly $20 a piece) AND you can get 25% off with coupon HELLOFALL25!  Check them out here!

2) Mac&Cheese SHAPES- I picked up some Kraft Mac & Cheese at the grocery store on Sunday because I've been craving it!  I couldn't remember the last time I made it which is saying something because we lived off shapes and spirals in college.  The craving came on full force Tuesday at lunch.  I had to laugh because I had so many good leftovers in the fridge - prosciutto pasta, cabbage soup, boneless pork ribs - but sometimes all a girl wants is Mac & Cheese!

3) Leopard flats- I've been wanting a pair of leopard flats for a while now.  I didn't want to spend a lot of money on them because it's almost winter (and I'll be living in boots) and who knows if they will still be "cool" next year. I found this awesome pair at Target and they met every check on my checklist: cheap ($21.99!), cute and comfortable!

4) Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow- All I'm going to say is do yourself a favor this weekend and make this!  It was a hit last weekend tailgating and it's a perfect fall treat.  I'm not going to take any credit for this dessert and instead just send you over to Peanut Butter Fingers for the recipe!

5) Family visit- My family is coming to visit us in Chicago this weekend!  We just saw them last weekend for the Michigan football game so it's a treat to see them twice in one month.  Shopping, eating, and watching Nick play hockey are all on the weekend agenda!

 Earlier this springs shopping trip - Nick loves holding our bags :)

Have a good weekend!
Ps. if you're looking for some weekend comfort food, check out my super easy Chicken Pot Pie recipe!

Hawaiian Honeymoon - Part 5

Catch up on Part 1 of our Hawaiian honeymoon here
Part 2 here  Part 3 here  Part 4 here

Friday, August 2
Friday morning meant leaving Oahu for our next stop, the island of Maui.  Words can't express how sad I was to leave Oahu!  I seriously loved our resort and our room at the Moana Surfrider.  I would highly recommend it to anyone traveling to Waikiki Beach.  We got up pretty early as our flight left for Maui around 11 am.  We packed our stuff up and headed down to enjoy one last coffee on our favorite rocking chairs.

Banyan tree in the courtyard

Resort check out went smoothly and we made our way back to the Oahu airport.  We dropped our rental car off and made it through security really quickly.  Our traveling luck was finally turning!  We actually had time to kill before our flight so we relaxed, enjoyed our breakfast and called our parents.  We boarded the plane on time, left on time, and arrived to Maui early - it was a miracle after our experience a few days prior!

Outdoor airports.. only in Hawaii!

Our first stop was to pick up our luggage and then grab our rental car.  My parents went to Hawaii on their honeymoon and my dad told us we HAD to get a convertible in Maui.  So, a convertible it was!  We picked up our Ford Mustang and made the scenic 45 minute drive to our resort on Ka'anapali Beach, the Westin Maui.

We found our hotel easily and fell in love right away!  Ka'anapali Beach is a beautiful strip of resorts on one of the best beaches I've ever been to.  We had a few check in issues that took a bit to be resolved so while we were waiting we enjoyed some nachos (yes, those nachos!) at our hotel beach bar.  We finally made it up and settled in to our room around 2 pm.  Even though we had a luau to attend that evening, Nick was dying to get in to the water.  We headed down to check out the beach and he did some swimming while I relaxed.  As much as I loved Oahu and had the best time there, it was really nice to be to our final destination and not have to worry about traveling anymore!  About an hour later, we headed back up to the room to get showered and ready for the Royal Lahaina Luau.

 View from our room at the Westin Maui

The luau was located at the Royal Lahaina Resort on Ka'anapali Beach, about 1 mile from our resort.  Ka'anapali Beach offers the cutest trolley that will take you to each resort on the strip for free.  We took the trolley to the luau and arrived about 45 minutes before it started.  I didn't know much about this luau - I had been planning on attending the famous Old Lahaina luau but didn't make reservations in time.  We both wanted to attend a luau while in Maui so I quickly settled on the Royal Lahaina a couple weeks before we left.  I hadn't done too much research about the Royal Lahaina but I was under the impression that the seating was first come, first serve so I made sure that we were there as early as possible.  There was already a line forming when we arrived.

The luau finally opened up and the first thing they did was take a souvenir picture for us.  They were kind enough to take one with our camera as well :)  We were then directed to the ticket counter.  Since I had reserved online at the last minute, we had to pay for our tickets that day.  To my surprise, reserving tickets online was actually the preferred way to go!  Since we had reserved online, we were given VIP seating!  I seriously had no idea this was the case when I was reserving our tickets, but it worked out perfectly.  We had front row seats and received a complimentary tiki mug.

We found our front row seats and since it was community seating, quickly made friends with others at our table.  We were near two sweet couples who were also celebrating - one couple was on their honeymoon and another was on a babymoon.  We really enjoyed getting to know them and it made for a fun night!  We made our first stop of the night at the open bar and took lots of pictures of the beautiful scenery while waiting for the show to begin.

Traditional Hawaiian luau's always begin with some sort of blessing of the food.  Ours had a pig unveiling ceremony - the pig was cooked underground all day and it was very interesting!

Warren was our luau MC for the night and he was quite the character!  After the pig unveiling ceremony, he invited guests onto the stage to learn how to do a traditional Hawaiian luau dance.  Since we were seated in the front row, we were pretty easy targets.  Warren called for Nick to go up on stage and he did!  It was too funny watching him do the luau.

Dinner began soon after and it was amazing.  It was an open buffet with everything from fresh fruit to pork to fried rice to salmon.  So.delicious.  And it didn't stop there; there was a coffee and dessert bar soon after.  We stocked up on desserts and enjoyed them as the show started at 7 pm.

 Had to share this deliciousness!

 A beautiful sunset over the Pacific Ocean

 Waiting for the show to start!

 Enjoying the never ending drinks in our tiki mugs

We had such a blast at the luau!  It was fun, interactive and ended with a fire show was pretty crazy.  It was a beautiful night and a great way to start the second half of our honeymoon on Maui.  We headed back to our resort afterwards, stuffed and happy.  We were pretty wiped from our morning of traveling so we headed to bed pretty early.  Luckily, we had nothing but a full day of relaxation ahead of us!

Next Wednesday, a day of relaxing and then a 2:30 am wake up call.. why?!
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