Friday, June 28, 2013

Fashion Friday: Summer Style

With summer just around the corner (or already here, for anyone who doesn't live in the Pacific NW) I've been keeping my eyes peeled for the perfect summer pieces to add to my wardrobe.  Now I'll be the first to admit that summer trends don't tend to be my favorite.  Crop tops and micro shorts have never exactly been flattering to my figure.  And it can definitely be a challenge to look chic and pulled-together with sweat dripping down your face, taking your make up right on with it.  So how do you pull off a fashionable look without exposing every square inch of your body?  Well here's MY favorite summer trends and how to make it work for you.

What screams summer more than an electric burst of color?  And while those mini neon shorts may not be the most flattering on those curvy thighs that haven't seen the light of day in just about a year, that doesn't mean you need to write it off as not for you.  There are plenty of ways to pull of neon without blinding your neighbors.

This color block top, for example, gives a great shot of neon all while balancing it out with neutral tones on the back.  The basic tee can be paired with about anything and the neon clutch is the perfect accessory.

Which brings me to my next example...  A great way to pull of neon is in your accessories.  A clutch, a pair of shoes, a stack of bracelets, or a killer pair of sunnies is a great way to go.  I'm not gonna lie - I've been obsessed with chain bracelets for quite some time now.  But once they started popping up in all shades neon my obsession grew exponentially!


I'm not sure there's a woman in the world complaining about the maxi trend right now...and let me tell you why.  They are mostly made of comfortable, lightweight fabrics that are breathable and airy for those hot summer days.  They are long (hence the name) and hide the legs on the off chance you forgot to shave.  You can dress them up or dress them down and even layer them come fall for a great seasonal transition.  Like I said...what's not to love?

This lilac stunner could be dressed up for an evening out or dressed down for errands around town just by switching up your accessories, make up, and hair.  I love nothing more than pieces that can transition from day to night seamlessly.

Everything about lace is so feminine, I'm sure there's no surprise that this trend is screaming my name.  And why wouldn't it?  It's so easy to layer now and come fall it seems silly not to invest (in my humble opinion).  Whether you're wearing a soft-spoken summer dress, keeping it cool and classy with some chic shorts, or a layering a boxy-shaped number to top off a maxi....I just feel like there is something here to offer for everyone.

These southwestern prints have been popping up everywhere, and I have to admit at first I wasn't so sure.  But the more I see them the more smitten I am and now I kind of want to add it to my collection.  Whether in a simple fitted skirt or a trendy tee, this seems like an easy one for anyone to pull off, especially now in these soft color palettes.


If you follow me on Instagram you may have had a sneak peek into my obsession of black and white prints, both on myself and Cocoa.  From stripes to chevron and every angle in between, bold is making a comeback in a big way.  Especially when paired with neons or pastels, I think it is absolutely perfect for the summer months!  


When shopping, just be sure look for lightweight, season-appropriate fabrics to pair with your existing wardrobe staples and you will do just fine!

Not everyone is going to like this trend and that's okay.  (Because for the record, just because something is in style does not mean you have to wear it.  Be original - that's the real trend!)  But the good news is that if you DO like palazzo pants, you can go for the look with confidence.  These are easy to style, uber comfortable, and a very forgiving silhouette.  What can be better than that?  I'm currently obsessed with this specific pair.....

Pair them with a basic tee or cardigan and BAM!  Just like that you have  killer style with incredible comfort to boot.  To dress it up simply pair it with some heels and rock out on the accessories.

Get your mind out of the gutter....I'm not talking about walking around in your birthday suit y'all!  I'm talking about the neutral color palette that's so in right now.  Whether you are going for the monochromatic look or simply balancing out a brightly colored ensemble (like that neon trend I'm oh-so-fond of), nude is the way to go!  The trick is finding the right shade for your skin tone.  But don't be shy - just go and try them on!  And if you're not sure, grab some advice of a sales clerk or a trusted friend.

Still sound too scary?  No know that nude shoes go with ANYTHING, right?!?  But if you're still feeling hesitant to really dive into the trend, you can test it out with simple nude-toned nails - it's that simple!

So there you go - seven easy trends YOU can rock this summer!  Just don't forget, the key to pulling off any style is confidence.  You are beautiful exactly the way God made you - so don't you forget that!

And as for that dripping makeup??  Add a little primer to your morning routine and embrace the dewey look!  After all, it's summer and no one's judging you.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Let's Feast!

Our family is no stranger to Ethiopian food.  In fact, we love it!  We make it a habit to visit the local restaurants as well as the markets so we can make it at home.  And we certainly find Gotcha Day a great excuse to celebrate our daughter's Ethiopian heritage.

Cocoa Puff in her Ethiopian Scarf

Now I'll be honest here.  I haven't made Ethiopian food in probably two and a half years.  The last time I made it was when I posted the recipes here on my blog!  It's not that it's all that hard.  It is just very time consuming.  And, well, with two littles in the house....I don't have a lot of extra time to spend in the kitchen.  So our normal celebration does in fact take place at our favorite Ethiopian restaurant.

This year, however, when we started planning Cocoa's Gotcha Day, my husband requested that I make the feast.  And I welcomed the challenge!

In the past I have only tried three recipes:

The traditional chicken stew and my personal favorite - Doro Wot.
The Shiro Wot - ground chickpeas in an onion/garlic base that looks about the texture of hummus.
The Ethiopian version of a tomato salad - Yetimatim Saleta.

Oh yes, and the Hambisha Bread...which I skipped this year only because the market had some freshly baked and my husband thought he would save me some time (isn't he thoughtful?).

But this year I thought I would really out do myself (HA!) by adding in some of our favorite recipes that I found in the Ethiopian cookbook a friend from church gave me as a baby shower gift!  So I also made Messir Wot (a lentil based dish) and Curried Cabbage and Potatoes (which is just like it sounds).

I started cooking around 1:30pm and dinner was ready at about 7:00pm.  We invited a couple friends to join us, because - let's face it, we can't eat all that food ourselves!

I'll admit, we don't have the best lighting in our dining room, especially in the evening.  I did the best I could to photoshop them, but I'll admit that food photography isn't my best skill!  

I think she liked it, don't you???

When Cocoa joined our family, we not only gained the best daughter parents could ask for, but an amazing culture and heritage.  And we get the joy and honor to celebrate it with her!  We are so blessed.

If you want to try cooking some Ethiopian food yourself, you can get my recipes right here (except the Messir Wot and Curried Cabbage....I wouldn't feel right about sharing them since I got them out of a recipe book).


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Gotcha Day

Today it has been two years since the sweet special mothers at Hannah's Hope placed Cocoa in our care permanently.  What a blessing it is to be parents to our little princess!  She is spunky and sassy and always keeps us laughing.  Her personality is even bigger than her hair, and the girl has got dance moves that just don't quit!  I thank the Lord daily for this little lady.  My life certainly would not be the same without her.

I love you Cocoa Puff!
Happy Gotcha Day!
To learn more about Cocoa's adoption, please watch her adoption video or go back in time to read through our travel journals.  Or of course, feel free to leave a comment below (with your email address) and I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Fashion Friday: Nail Art

My husband spoils me rotten - I'll admit that right now.  He definitely "gets" the daily challenges of being a stay at home mom and makes sure I get some free time here and there to regroup and relax.  I know...he's awesome, isn't he?

Well days before my best friend headed off for a girl's vacation to Vegas, she invited me to join her for a mani/pedi.  I hesitated to give her a definite answer, not sure if it was in our budget or not...but my hubby was quick to step in and say yes.

So off we went!  And I must say....this is probably the prettiest my natural nails have ever looked!

So was it worth it?  Definitely.  Especially if you do Shellac on the lasts for two weeks (longer if you aren't hard on your nails like I am).  Not to mention the salon we went to offered to fix it for FREE if it chipped before two weeks.  I may not have it in the budget to do this on a regular basis, but it definitely has inspired me to take better care of my hands and feet.

Thanks for dragging me out of the house Nicole!  And glad you had a great time in Vegas =)


Thursday, June 20, 2013


It's been a long time coming.  And if you've been reading between the lines you may have caught a hint or two.  These solid-toned dark locks of mine have been in dire need of a makeover for quite some time now.'s finally happened!  I took the plunge and made a change, letting my dear friend transform my look.

I gotta be honest, I kind of thought my kids were going to have some major opinions on it.  But neither of them said a word (and really hardly seemed to notice) as they wrapped their arms around me.

Cocoa did tease me that now I looked like her.  When I asked her, "you think mama's hair looks like your hair?" she answered "NO!  I-uh back" (translation, "no, mine's black) followed by a huge giggle.  Yeah...someone got her jokester attitude from her daddy ;)

I've got to admit, I still sometimes shock myself when I look in the mirror...but I'm slowly getting used it.  I better not get TOO used it though because in a couple weeks it's changing again!  Trying to get my hair to that icey blonde I keep drooling over!!! =)


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I'm Worn

***I found this post that I wrote a couple weeks back and never quite finished.  But especially after reading THIS blog post, I felt God asking me to share it and I'm hoping that it speaks to someone out there who's maybe in this place right now.***

I'm a firm believer in the following quote:

I never want to come across as someone who whines and complains about circumstances they can't change.  That being said, I know there have been times when I have failed to follow my own advice (in my own home more than anywhere else).

It has been that firm belief that has kept me from sharing much on my blog in the last month or so.  While I would hate to put off the facade of being the "perfect family" (and I hope you can see that we most definitely are not), I struggle to find a balance with being real with y'all.  The fact of the matter is, I just feel worn right now.  We've had a lot of curveballs thrown at our family and somedays it's been a struggle to pick up the pieces and get back to a routine.

But it's my hope that everyone (especially those in my very own home) can still see joy through me, even in the toughest of times.  My ultimate goal is to bring glory to His name by praising Him even when things aren't going my way.

Lately this song has been speaking volumes to my heart.  I listen to it on repeat with hope in my heart that this is just a phase in our life.  I hope that it also speaks to those of you facing challenges of your own right now.