The End of January Fashion Themes

I know we feel this way every month, but how is it February already? A new month brings new fashion theme challenges on Instagram, but before we jump into February, check out the last looks from January. Here were the themes:

  • What’s it all a boot?
  • Rose quartz and serenity: Who doesn’t love a rosy heart printed cardigan?
  • Pinned it: I had my eye on this sweatshirt for a while on Pinterest
  • Turtleneck
  • Risky business: Channeling Tom Cruise in a crisp white button down.
  • Flat footed: Pink and cream patent leather saddle shoes? Yes please!
  • FURever yours
  • Full price confession: Wearing my adorable new floral purse; a gift from my sister, who will not confess the full price : )
  • Passion for prints
  • The deal is a heel
  • Black ice
  • Dress relief
  • Red lip classic: I got that red – lip – classic thing that you likkkkke
  • Bonus look: Floral crown for my daughter’s whimsical woodland birthday party.

Responding to Negativity With Kindness

One of my greatest, natural strengths since I was a kid is the ability and desire to respond to negativity with kindness. I have been getting questioned, especially recently, with people inquiring how I have it in me to respond kindly and why I choose to respond that way. There is no mystery here, and I’m happy to share this with you, but only keep reading if you choose to really have an open mind.

The people who act rudely, maliciously, or who are overtly judgmental need kindness the most, even when they’re taking serious jabs at you. Think about it – when you’re attacked, do you ever think, “Wow, how could XYZ say that to me? How can you talk to someone like that?” It’s a valid question – how can someone have it in them to be so nasty and hurtful? People say or write things that you could never fathom saying out loud. But something from within these people is broken, and even if you are hurt from it, it’s only a sad byproduct of the true issue – a real, internal problem within that person.

Healthy Banana Cake (that doesn’t taste healthy)

I’m always on a quest for healthy alternatives to my favorite tasty treats, but sadly I’m generally disappointed with the outcome because it just tastes healthy. I love healthy foods, but I don’t want my cookies to taste like bark or my pie to taste like almond cardboard. Blah, no thank you. I grew up eating full fat full sugar deliciousness and know what desserts should taste like (thanks, mom!).

So if you’re like me and do not want to sacrifice the taste of yummy desserts but want a healthy alternative, you will love this Healthy Banana Cake. I concocted this recipe after looking at several recipes for a healthy birthday smash cake for my daughter’s first birthday.

After several modifications, I have this cake and frosting perfected. This Healthy Banana Cake is great for kids and anyone avoiding processed sugar, and you can also leave it unfrosted for the most scrumptious banana loaf. You can astound your family and friends by finishing your banana cake with a simple yet impressive rosette frosting technique.

How I Got Published on Huffington Post

If you’re a blogger or writer, most likely one of your goals is to get published on Huffington Post, am I right? While you do not get paid to contribute as a blogger, there are so many benefits that I will go over and then share how I started blogging for them (and went viral!). On New Year’s Day, I sat down and made a list of resolutions, and at the top of my list was my goal of getting published on Huffington Post. I knew this was a stretch; not only had my online submissions already been denied, but so many other writers I know had also submitted for years with nothing published. I decided if I had to put years of dedication into this process, I might as well start now. However, my story is a bit different because for me, it took one day.

Some people have warily asked me advice because they didn’t want to steal my tips or thunder, but I am all about sharing. As writers, we need to support one another and help build each other up. If you have been published, I want to hear your story – comment below with your experience and advice to help other writers meet their goals.

DIY First Birthday Smash Cake Photo Session

Happy first birthday to my darling baby girl! I can’t help but think this birthday is exponentially better than her “birth day” last year because this one started with cake. Kind of hard to argue with that, don’t you think? I knew I wanted to make a smash cake and take pictures myself, so that’s exactly what I did. I will soon be posting the healthy cake and frosting recipe I concocted, which is not only perfect for babies but is so delicious I will be making it for myself, too. Stay tuned for that.

What you need:

If you’d like to do your own first birthday cake smash photo session at home, here is what you need:

  • a white backdrop (sheet, curtain, large roll of paper)
  • natural sunlight
  • your baby
  • iPhone or camera
  • birthday cake
  • another person to help

Whimsical Woodland Party

When I started planning Ginny’s first birthday party, I immediately envisioned a whimsical woodland party that would bring lightness and boho beauty to Chicago’s ice cold winter. I created my own invitations and used them as inspiration for the decor – a light pink, peach, gold, and green color scheme with woodsy elements was the focal point of the party. Since going outside was not an option, I brought the outside in with a combination of real and artificial flowers and greenery and added a few personal touches with several DIY projects.

We opted for an afternoon party that worked around our little party girl’s schedule, so we served several appetizers and desserts in lieu of a full meal. The springtime whimsy made the party feel ethereal and magical, and I even decided to keep up a few decorations because they look so lovely. Create your own woodland party for birthdays, baby or wedding showers, or even an afternoon tea.