Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wednesday Wisdom - Everybody Should Believe in Something

Happy Wednesday!

For the majority of my adult life, I have not been much of a coffee drinker - even when working multiple jobs while grinding through college.  I survived what I thought were tough challenges, and green tea (or iced tea, or white tea, or peppermint tea) was always able to get me through.   No reason to drink coffee, right?

And then I had children.  Children who don't sleep.   Thanks to coffee, we have all survived levels of sleep deprivation I didn't know existed.   The babies have long since started sleeping better and I am back to my beloved tea, but forevermore, coffee will have a place in my heart.

So, for those days when you are struggling to get your brain working and just need a warm, delicious cup of energy to get you through, here are your caffeine-infused words of wisdom.

Now grab your double-shot extra-hot 2-pump mocha latte and tackle all those mid-week tasks like the hyper-focused coffee beast you are!

If you need an even larger dose of energy injected into your day, check out this post.
~ Jaelyn

Monday, June 1, 2015

Monday Motivation - Courtesy of Shia LeBeouf and the Internet. WARNING: Intense Motivation Included.

You need some motivation, and Shia LeBeouf is going to give it to you!   Apparently, he was filming some green screen material to help students, and the internet had a field day with it.  This one is awesome - a TED Talk parody.  And if you've never seen the real TED Talks, DO IT!  They are great!


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Something Pretty on a Gloomy Day

The clouds and rain are lingering here in Austin again today, where many folks are still cleaning up after the Memorial Day floods.  We could all use something pretty to look at right now!

I took this picture with my phone on a gorgeous, sunny, springtime day while walking in my neighborhood.  I hope it adds a little joy to your day, and reminds you that the clouds don't last forever!

Texas Mountain Laurel


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wednesday Wisdom - There is Nothing That Cannot Happen

When I feel like I am living a day that has become mired in a steady flow of bad luck, I like to be reminded by this quote that there is nothing that cannot happen.

Even on the days that seem filled with darkness, it's possible that you just might find the light switch!

Mark Twain - one of the most American of Americans.  An ordinary man who lived an extraordinary life with little more than a winning personality and a sense of adventure to help him achieve it.  His humor, wit, camaraderie and appreciation of language made him a legend.   If you haven't yet, read his first major book, The Innocents Abroad.  It was essentially released as a tongue-in-cheek travel guide (travel guides being a popular genre at the time),  and it was enormously popular.  Reading the book today, it provides a very interesting (sometimes cringe-inducing) glimpse into international cultures, peoples and conflicts of the time, from the viewpoint of a witty, wild, unapologetic young journalist from Missouri. 

The quote today is from Mark Twain's Autobiography, and is in reference to discovering that a rather ridiculous character with an outlandish name from his early work, "The Gilded Age," shared a name with an actual person who was none too pleased by the publicity.   What I've shared above is actually a bit of a misquote - Americans seem to have tacked on the "today" over the years, but it still captures the spirit of the original quote, so I'll keep it.

The original quote reads, "Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen.  Even the existence of two unrelated men wearing the impossible name of Eschol Sellers is a possible thing."

Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wednesday Wisdom: Hard Work & Luck

Happy Wednesday!  
We all at times wonder when our luck is going to get better.  I love this quotation from Thomas Jefferson because in those frustrating moments, it reminds me that "good luck" isn't entirely out of our control!

Wishing you good luck to get you over that midweek slump!  :-)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Three-Ingredient Blueberry-Lemon Pastry Pop

This could be the easiest "pretty" dessert you'll ever bake!
No mixing. Three main ingredients (plus egg wash and an optional topping).  Ready to eat in 30 minutes.  Everyone loves these.  Honestly, they taste like delicious homemade Pop Tarts (but better).  Breakfast, brunch, parties, just because... they are perfect for every occasion!

What you'll need:

Ready-made refrigerated pie crust, left out of the fridge long enough to be cool and pliable, not cold and stiff (but not too warm!)  Pillsbury has a good flavor.
Jar of good-quality lemon curd
Jar of good-quality blueberry preserves (Bonne Maman is good and widely available).
Egg wash (1 egg white and 1 tsp. cold water, whisk to combine)
Cookie sheet
Cookie cutter
optional:  lollipop sticks, confectioner's (aka powdered) sugar, Silpat


 Let's get baking!

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Unroll the pie crust on your counter or a piece of wax paper, cut desired shapes with cookie cutter - 2 per pastry pop.
3.  Place a Silpat on the cookie sheet to help prevent sticking.  Using 1/2 of the pie crust shapes, place them on the Silpat, 1 inch apart.  If you are using lollipop sticks, be sure to allow room for those to stick out the bottom.
4.  With a pastry brush, brush egg wash on the outer 1/2-inch of the pie crust shapes.  This will act as the "glue" to keep the two pieces of crust together.
5.  Place appr. 1/2 tsp. Lemon Curd in the center of each pastry shape.  Do not spread.
6.  Place 1/2 tsp. Blueberry Preserves on top of the Lemon Curd.  Again, don't spread it out.
7.  Place a stick in the pop (on top of filling), with the top of the stick appr. 1/2-in. below the top of the pie crust.  If you would rather not use sticks, just skip this step and you will be making delicious hand pastries!
8.  Place the top piece of pie crust on top of each shape, gently pressing the edges together.  Be sure not to press the filling! Use a fork to crimp/seal the edges.  Pierce the center with a sharp knife to allow steam to escape.
9.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden and crisp.  Let cool.
10.  Optional:  when cooled, dust with confectioner's sugar.  

Now make your mouth happy and eat!

The best thing about this recipe is that you can use any flavor filling your mind can invent.  
What are your favorites?   I'd love to hear from you! 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday Motivation! Are You Feeling Stuck?

If you are feeling stuck in a rut, maybe you just need a few words to change your perspective!
Check out this bit of Monday Motivation...


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Writer's Block

I hope your voices are telling you exciting (but not too exciting) things this weekend! ;-)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Gift Ideas for Your Favorite Book Geek

Note:  I am not compensated in any way for these suggestions.  These are simply a few products I love, and if you know a book lover, she will probably love them, too! 

 Novel Teas - $12.50

A book is even more comforting than a warm cup of tea.  But a book and a cup of tea?  That is bliss.

Personal Library Kit - $12.99 

Feel the joy again of a 7-year-old checking out a book from library!  
Also, for those who lend their books out and never receive them back, ensure that your friends never forget whose book they stole.

USB Typewriter - $899  

Sometimes, your instrument is your inspiration.

Jane Austen - Seven Novels - Leather Bound $20  

These leather bound books from Barnes & Noble feel luxurious and look great on a shelf.


Literary Quote Wall Art - $16-23 (depending on size)

Inspiring words made even more beautiful.


I Like Big Books  - $21

Book geeks love a good laugh, and a big comfy t-shirt to wear while reading.


A First Edition or Early Copy of a Classic Book - Price Varies 

Rare and precious, old books seem to include not only the wisdom of the words they contain, but also the wisdom of the years they have existed.  They inspire reverence.


Literary Scarf - $48  

A scarf of classic literature - it's like a magical force field against the vacuity of the world.


Vintage-Style Book Kindle Cover  -  $13.99

It brings a virtual book into the real world.

What do you like the best?  Anything I missed?  

Leave a comment!!  No sign-in required.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wednesday Wisdom - The Worst Thing You Can Do is Nothing

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Theodore Roosevelt was such a fascinating person.  He was one of the great Progressive leaders of our country, and won adulation and popularity on an enormous scale.  He also was deliciously quotable!  Below is one of my favorites.

We are all stricken by indecision at some point or another.  Especially folks like me, with a strong, stubborn, perfectionist streak, who are terrified of making the wrong decision.  If you are likewise afflicted today, may these words of wisdom strike home and allow you to get out of that rut of indecisiveness!  

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

7 Life Lessons from Anne of Green Gables

L.M Montgomery is most well-known for the Anne of Green Gables series, and she is one of my all-time favorite authors.  Her books spoke to my soul as I was growing up, and still, every time I open them, they have more to tell.  Her humor, love of beauty and nature, and descriptions of the human experience have made her books classics.

Here are some of my favorite lessons:


1.  Get outdoors and appreciate nature - it can be a spiritual experience

“Why must people kneel down to pray? If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I'd do. I'd go out into a great big field all alone or in the deep, deep woods and I'd look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I'd just feel a prayer.”


2. Find joy in the little things 

“After all," Anne had said to Marilla once, "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."


3.  Have some gumption.

“Anyone who has gumption knows what it is, and anyone who hasn’t can never know what it is. So there is no need of defining it.”


4.  When you’ve behaved badly, always apologize sincerely.  

"I apologized pretty well, didn't I?" she said proudly as they went down the lane. "I thought since I had to do it I might as well do it thoroughly."


5. Keep your soul open and alert for “kindred spirits”

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”


6.  If today was a bad day, at least there's always tomorrow

“Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it...well with no mistakes in it yet.”   


7.  Try to arrange your love life so that your hardest choice is between marrying a handsome and adoring millionaire or a handsome and adoring doctor.

Boy-Next-Door Doctor or Romantic Millionaire?   How's a girl to choose?



Monday, May 11, 2015

A Little Monday Motivation!

If this doesn't get you up and moving toward your goals today, I don't know what will!  Not many of us are content to be called mediocre - now go wrestle this day to the ground!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Wednesday Wisdom - Conquer All Things

Sometimes, the world seems like a cold, dark, lonely place.  But sometimes, even just a few words of wisdom can help you see the light on the other side of the curtain. 

Here are a few words from one of the greatest Americans - Benjamin Franklin.  No go out there and conquer this crazy world!


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Easy Halloween Treat - Chocolate-Dipped Marshmallow Pops

 It's no secret that I love Halloween!  As a holiday, it has so many wonderful elements:  crisp autumn weather, pumpkins, mystery, silliness, candy and fun!  And it's a great excuse to throw a party!

These adorable little snacks are perfect for a get-together.  They are a super-easy crowd-pleaser!   Kids love them, and something about a marshmallow-on-a-stick makes adults feel like kids again.

The best part?  You only need 4 ingredients that you probably already have at home.

Chocolate-Dipped Marshmallow Pops

1 bag regular-size marshmallows (or if you are super ambitious, make your own with this recipe)
1/2 bag (6 oz) chocolate chips (regular or mini) OR 6 oz of your favorite chocolate, chopped
2 Tbsp vegetable or coconut oil
Your favorite holiday sprinkles

mini cupcake liners
paper straws or cake pop sticks


1.  Prep your assembly area:  Put the sprinkles in a small bowl, and place cupcake liners on a serving plate.

2.  Gently press straws/sticks into center of marshmallows, being careful not to flatten the marshmallow.

3.  Melt your chocolate:  Place the chocolate and oil in a microwave-safe dish.  Microwave on 50% power for 1 minute.  Stir well.  Place back in the microwave for 30-second intervals on 50% power, stirring after every interval, until chocolate is melted.  DO NOT OVERHEAT - this will cause the chocolate to become unworkable.  Check out this link for more great tips on working with chocolate.

4.  Get to dipping!  Dip each marshmallow 2/3 in chocolate, let excess drip, then gently press into sprinkles, one side at a time.  Place in the cupcake liner and allow to cool.

You're done!  Enjoy these sweet cuties!

Dairy-Free (depending on the chocolate used)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

If You Know What Changes a Heart...

I heard this quote today from Marianne Williamson today, and it touched and inspired me, so I'm sharing it with you!

Happy Thursday!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Few of My Favorite (Halloween) Things

by Jaelyn 

1.  This Halloween Table Decor Tutorial - Some great advice on how to decorate a spooky Halloween table with items you already have at home!

2.  If this slideshow doesn't make you feel Halloween-y, nothing will!  It is filled with the most amazing, haunting images of abandoned buildings in the UK.

 3.  Cheese and Pretzel Brooms - ADORABLE.

4.  The Great Pumpkin Pie-tini - This is the perfect, pumpkin-y cocktail for your Halloween bash! 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Red, White and Blue Sparkle Spritzer!

by Jaelyn

Independence Day is almost here, and I know you are desperately wondering:  which tasty beverage best reflects the patriotic spirit?

Wonder no more, fellow Americans.  This drink combines the best of all things:  patriotic colors, the bounty of summer fruits (watermelon and blueberry), and the fireworks-like sparkle of a bubbly wine!

Photo courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

Red, White and Blue Sparkle Spritzer!

Here are the ingredients you will need for this bit of tasty Liberty-in-a-Glass:
  • Watermelon simple syrup (see recipe below)
  • Dry sparkling wine
  • Fresh or frozen whole blueberries

For the stripes:  put a small amount of watermelon simple syrup in a spoon.  With the spoon, touch the inside of the champagne flute and allow the syrup to drip down the interior wall of the glass.  Continue at evenly spaced spots in your glass until you have consistent stripes.    Fill the glass with sparkling wine, add 2-4 blueberries, and serve!  Drinkable patriotism!  *wink*

If you like this recipe, let me know in the comments below!  I also love to hear your tweaks and creative additions.  Happy Independence Day!

Watermelon Simple Syrup
1 lb. cubed watermelon
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. lime juice

Puree the watermelon in a blender or food processor.  Add to a med. saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer (not a full rolling boil).  Lower the heat to med-low and allow to simmer until reduced 25-30%.  Remove from heat, carefully strain through a sieve into a bowl to remove the pulp before returning to the saucepan.  Add lime juice and sugar, stir to dissolve.  Return to a simmer and reduce again by 25%.  Pour the syrup into a clean bowl and let cool. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Independence Day Inspiration!

Getting Ready for the 4th of July!

 It is getting hot outside, and I'm itching to do some summer celebrating!  Fortunately, the most summerish of all holidays is coming up - the 4th of July!  Or Independence Day, if being formal and/or correct is your thing.  :-)

It's all about the Red, White, hot and Blue this time of year - celebrating our freedom in the most American ways we know - with yummy food, drinks, parades, outdoor fun and of course, fireworks!  I scoured the interwebs (inside joke - hopefully this got a chuckle out of my husband) to find the best ideas to share with you.  Here they are!   Source sites are below the picture.  Please, share your inspirations with us as well!  Just leave a comment at the end of the post - we'd love to hear from you!

Love, Jaelyn
Happy 4th of July!  Independence Day Inspiration Source Sites and attributions at

 Inspired by (and photos attributed to) these sites:

  1. Midwest Living's Strawberry Buckets
  2. Martha Stewart's Firecracker Favors
  3. Tiny Pies' Waving Flag Pie
  4. Martha Stewart's Independence Day Parade
  5. Baker's Royale Fruit Pops
  6. Hostess with the Mostess' Red, White and Blue Water (and super cute nail polish)
  7. Martha Stewart's Patriotic Fans

Friday, June 7, 2013

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday!  I was feeling the need to be inspired, so I thought I would share with you all as well!
Here are a couple of great quotes to get you through the weekend.  First, from the amazing Conan O'Brien.  Second, from an unknown source.  I hope these help to start your weekend off right!

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