The Pick: Week 4 + Friday Favorites

Friday, January 30, 2015
TGIF! Yes, it's Friday and it's fantastic! This week has flown by, and I'm overly excited for the weekend! It's going to be a laid back Saturday and Sunday, with a little cleaning, football, and tailgate foods (yum). Because let's be honest, I'm excited for the Super Bowl for the food and the commercials. 

Now time for my favorites from the week, plus The Pick (keep scrolling to see what I'm talking about)! 

[one] Bright accessories for dull winter days. Because winter shouldn't stop you from being fabulous!

[two] Fresh flowers that smell like spring. Now if only I knew how to keep them alive. Tips anyone?? Help a girl out!

[three] Ice-draped trees. It's magical when ice covers Mother Nature. Saturday we woke to an ice wonderland, which ended up melting shortly later. But, it was lovely while it lasted.

[four] Fresh squeezed orange juice is nothing short of incredible. There's nothing like it. And husband was sweet enough to make my wish come true for a glass of fresh OJ this weekend. **Note, fresh OJ should always be enjoyed from charming glasses.

[five] Fruit tart and all its tastiness. This was my birthday cake this year, and it was scrumptious. Husband knows me well. Celebrating my golden birthday was the best.

[six] Pretty macaroons and squirrel cookies. But really, aren't they the cutest? 

[seven] I'm all about pattern when putting an outfit together. The more the better. And in this case I went for stripes and polka-dots. And no, I didn't wear my slippers to work.

[eight] Speaking of pattern, texture is everything too when it comes to clothes. I love finding new textures to combine simply because it makes getting dressed for the day more fun.

[nine] Late night outings to Target and dessert dates with husband. I can't think of a better way to spend a Thursday night. Don't you just love his smoldering look?

[ten] Homemade soup for these super cold days. I shared my vegetable soup recipe yesterday if you'd like to take a look.

follow me on Instagram @astleigh_hill

Last but not least, go grab the URL for your favorite post this week and add it to The Pick Link-Up. All you have to do is comment on some posts and definitely comment on the blogger that linked-up just before you did! Simple. No button, no problem!

Homemade Vegetable Soup

Thursday, January 29, 2015
I don't know about you, but I'm thinking that I've had enough winter. There's been no snow accumulation for us, and the bitter temperatures just have to go. Unfortunately, I don't think we can convince Mother Nature to send spring to us any sooner. So to cope with the cold, husband and I have been keeping the kitchen in working order with steaming, cozy dishes to warm us from the inside out. 

Vegetable soup has made an appearance twice in the last month. The first time we served it with gouda grilled cheese sandwiches (out of this world good!). The next time we made sweet cornbread. I can't decide which one I prefer, so just go with whatever sounds best!

  • What You'll Need
    • 4 carrots, peeled and diced
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 2 celery stalks, diced
    • Olive oil
    • 1 garlic glove
    • 28 oz. diced tomatoes
    • 5 cans V8 juice
    • 2 cups water
    • 2 chicken bullion cubes
    • 2 cups frozen green beans
    • 1 cup frozen corn
    • 4 potatoes, peeled and diced
    • 1/3 of a green cabbage
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1/2 TSP ground white pepper
    • 1 TSP chili powder
    • Dash of fresh ground pepper

  • What You'll Do
    • Put the carrots, onion, and celery in a dutch oven or large pot on medium heat. Sprinkle with olive oil and cook until the onions are translucent. Next add the crushed garlic clove.
    • Add the diced tomatoes, V8 juice, chicken bullion cubes, and water. Next put in all of the remaining vegetables. 
    • Turn the heat up to high. And add the seasonings. Stir well.
    • Bring the soup to a light rolling boil. Cover with a lid and turn down to low-medium heat so that it will simmer. Let it simmer for about an hour.
    • Taste test and add salt as desired. 

Favorite Winter Finds || 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Sometimes I love nothing more than a good find! And I love it most, when I'm not looking and find something fabulous! Because winter can be so bleh (at least in Virginia), I thought I would share some of my bright and fun finds from the season so far. 

Where to begin...the notebooks from Rifle Paper Co. or the sunnies from LOFT?! I love both, and both serve me perfectly in their own way. The notebooks I am using for journaling and the sunnies, well that's obvious. I found the notebooks for a couple of dollars less at Barnes & Noble. And LOFT currently has everything at 40% without a code, so hurry!

Shoes. It's one thing that I'm really picky about. Who am I kidding, I'm picky particular about almost everything. So when I spotted these pretties, I pretty much knew they needed to be a part of my wardrobe. Old Navy did well with this pattern. I don't see them online yet, so head into your Old Navy to find a pair of these spring beauties.

Speaking of shoes, I am obsessed with Old Navy's slippers. Husband bought me a pair for Christmas and I was in love. They're not too heavy and not too hot. So I had to go back and snatch another pair, which I only paid $4 for! 

Nail polish is always fun. But sometimes I want a subtle color, and this OPI shade is perfection. It is great for the winter and will be perfect for the spring and summer. The color is Tickle My France-y

Another of my favorite finds is eyebrow gel. Now before you think I'm crazy, hear me out! My eyebrows are great in a lot of ways. They're my kind of thickness and I don't even have to pluck them. However, they have a mind of their own, and never stay put. I can use an eyebrow brush to tame them, only for my hair to barely touch them and make them crazy again. But, now they are magically in place all day long thanks to this eyebrow gel from Anastasia. You can't tell I have anything on my brows, there is no extra shine and no flaking. So if your brows do whatever they please, I highly recommend grabbing a tube of this magic gel and your brows will stay beautifully in place all day long!

I wear jewelry every single day. My favorite is stacking bangles, bracelets, and watches on my left wrist. So when I saw this leather wrap from Fossil I had to have it. Husband had it under the tree for me on Christmas. And I've worn it a bunch. The only downside I've found with it, is that it can come undone easily, so I have to keep an eye on it throughout the day. Knowing that though, I'd buy it again. And I'm eyeing another one of their leather wraps, that looks like it would go swimmingly with my other stackable jewelry. 

The earrings are the perfect pop of color to any outfit. You can typically find me wearing pearls or studs, but for these I am making an exception. They were too pretty to leave at LOFT, and I have loved wearing them.

This crossbody in brown has won my heart, or should I say husband has since it was his birthday gift to me. First, it's a crossbody. Second, it's big enough to carry my purse contents. Third, it's a beauty. Fossil has done it again!

Now I'm dying to hear what some of your great winter finds have been! Do tell!! And Happy Hump Day!!

And if you're looking for other ways to brighten up winter around your home, visit HERE!

p.s. Bloggers don't forget that next week on February 5th we'll be sharing our Valentine touches around our homes and on the following week on February 12th we'll be sharing all chocolate reicpes for the Every Girl Link-Up! For more dates and all of this year's topics, head over to my Every Girl Link-Up post!! 

p.s.s Don't forget to link up for The Pick on Friday. If you're new to The Pick, all you have to do is grab the URL of your favorite blog post from this week, and link-up here every Friday. The only thing I ask is that you comment on the blogger that linked up just before you!

My Golden Birthday

Monday, January 26, 2015
What's a golden birthday? It's when you turn the age of the date you were born on. Yesterday, I turned 25 on the 25th, making it my one and only golden birthday. I first learned of this super special birthday as a little girl around 7 years old. My neighbor's twin grandchildren had come in for a visit with her. It was a summer afternoon, and we were sitting in the gully behind my neighbor's house and next to my childhood home when one of the twins shared that their golden birthday was coming up within the month. The girl (whose name I now don't remember), then explained what that was. Since then, I have excitedly looked forward to my golden birthday, which at that point felt like ages away. But as all things do, in the blink of an eye my golden birthday arrived.

Because my birthday was on a Sunday this year, we turned the entire weekend into a birthday extravaganza. My kind of birthday! Of course, my weekend starts on Friday :) So Friday morning started off with Starbucks and breakfast with my Mama. When I arrived home, I had flowers waiting from husband, and a box of goodies that had arrived in the mail. I got to nap on husband for a solid hour, and we relaxed well into the night. 

Saturday morning we slept in, and it was glorious. Outside was an ice wonderland, that was slowly beginning to melt. In our pajamas, we made breakfast together and husband squeezed a bushels of oranges for fresh squeezed OJ, one of my favorites. And it's always necessary to drink out of festive glassware for such special occasions ;)

We lounged for the rest of the morning and into the start of the afternoon. Eventually I had to give up on watching Fixer Upper so that I could shower and get read for the day's activities. Late afternoon I met up with my SIL, Amy, and my friend, Holly, for pedicures and manicures. I haven't had a mani/pedi since the week before my wedding day. It was such a nice treat to hang with the girls while getting pampered. 

Afterward we met up with our husbands and the cutest twin tots you ever did see for dinner at one of my favorite local places, Lefty's. Dinner was spot on. If you don't love sweet potatoes, I can guarantee you would have after eating the spiraled ones they stacked on top of my maple-glazed pork chop. Just saying.

The evening didn't end there. We headed on to the Rend Collective concert later that night. With a combination of Irish flair and a whole lot of worshiping through our love for the Lord, it was the perfect way to end the evening/day. 

Then my actual birthday arrived. I turned 25 at 6:20 yesterday morning. Husband and I got up early enough to enjoy breakfast out. We went to Hello Bagel, a new (and super quaint) restaurant in our town. A hot breakfast bagel and an iced coffee....hmm, 25 isn't so bad after all. 

After church, husband and I lounged again (apparently lounging was a theme this weekend) until my parents, grandmother, and sister arrived. We ate lunch at a hibachi restaurant where we could watch our chef cook our meal, throw his utensils around, and light big ol' fires. It was husband's first time watching food be prepped like that and I think it's safe to say he had the most fun, even surpassing the birthday gal ;)

Afterward we headed back to our house for some dessert and presents. Husband was SO thrilled when he saw that I received the ENTIRE Gilmore Girl series. He's super excited to watch it with me! **note the sarcasm.

Husband had a local bakery make a fruit tart for my birthday cake. Even though he spelled my name out for them, they still thought an 'h' was correct and not the 't' (this is super common). But husband, scraped the chocolate 'h' off, melted a few chocolate chips, and made a 't.' He's sweet, isn't he?! I love that man. 

After eating our share of fruit tart, we set the camera up for a group shot. This was husband testing the camera's angle out. Yep, even with the goofiest of faces, my heart still skips a beat for him. It must be true love :) 

And there we are, all six of us. It was so much fun to have three days of celebration just for me. Turning a quarter of a century old, is kind of awesome when you have the best people around to share it with. I've said it before and I'll say it again...2015 is going to be the Hills year to sparkle and I already feel it happening! 25 is going to be my best year yet!!

The Pick: Week 3 + Friday Favorites

Friday, January 23, 2015
Hands down this has been the best week ever, and the weekend is only going to prove to be even more amazing (do I have to add a $1 to The Bachelor's 'Amazing Jar'??). Today kicks off my birthday weekend, as I near the quarter of a century mark on Sunday! There are plans made for pampering, family time, concert-going, and dining out. To say I'm excited would be an understatement. 

I hope your week has been fabulous as well! Like all Fridays I'm sharing my favorites from the week, and this week wasn't short of any...

[one] I'm casually obsessed with this poncho. It's super comfy, perfect for cooler days, and cozy. I wore this ensemble to church on Sunday, and then for the remainder of the day. This is big seeing as how I typically switch right out of my out-in-public-clothes for comfy sweats when I get home. 

[two] This Marshmallow Fireside Bath & Body Works candle has been making my home smell lovely for days on end. I can't get enough of it! Unfortunately, I'm not sure that they're making it anymore. 

[three] I'm not a huge fan of waking up while it's still dark outside. But, it's not as bad when the sky is putting a colorful show. This was my view from earlier in the week.

[four] I'm obsessed with everything in this photo, from the scarf (similar) and vest to the striped shirt, watch (similar) and coffee mug. This is how any winter morning should look. Don't you agree??

[five] Although it's winter my house has been quite cheerful and full of color inside. Take a peak at Tuesday's post to see how I accomplished brightening the winter blues.

[six] Valentine's Day will be here before you know it! I shared a DIY tutorial for making garland out of large pom poms, and husband and I are also offering miniature pom pom garland on our Etsy Shop!

[seven] Wednesday was the best day of the week, hands down. It's incredible experiencing God's blessings and some sweet family time. I went to sleep feeling closer to the Lord than ever and with a full heart. 

[eight] And what's not to love about opening your mailbox to magazines?? I love cuddling up with a show and my magazines for some leisure time!

[nine] Blogging is a joy for me and my labor of love. The community formed is like no other, and I have loved interacting with so many of you! I shared some tips I've picked up on during my two years of blogging and posted them yesterday.

[ten] Speaking of blogging, I am over the moon with my new blog design. The new features are my favorite, and I talked about them and what they offer in Monday's post if you'd like to see.

follow me on Instagram @astleigh_hill

Last but not least, go grab the URL for your favorite post this week and add it to The Pick Link-Up. All you have to do is comment on some posts and definitely comment on the blogger that linked-up just before you did! Simple. No button, no problem!