Sunday, June 30, 2013

july pin-spired

I have been admiring the colorblocking trend on Pinterest for quite a while. I like the modern look of colorblocking, and I love the mixing of bright colors.

1. Pin here. (Banana Republic)    2. Pin here. (Target)    3. Pin here. (Jones New York)

I was in the market for a summery cotton dress. I had actually gone to the mall with another dress in mind (that I had tried on previously), but they were out of my size when I returned for it. Our mall is super tiny with little selection, so I was about to give up on finding another dress I liked. But when I walked past this one, I was immediately drawn to it, and it was on sale for $19.99! When I tried it on, it was so soft and comfortable. I was thrilled that it had a subtle colorblock as well!

Dress: Liz Claiborne Colorblock Drawstring Dress / Shoes: Yuu Cadalyn Embellished Sandals

Enjoy your 4th of July!  Happy 237th birthday, America!

If you are new to my blog, thanks for visiting!

Feel free to stay awhile, or follow along!

See my other months of Pin-spired:
February // March // April // May // June

I'm linking up with Shay, Mel, & Sheaffer for Pin-spired!

Also linking up with The Pleated Poppy's What I Wore Wednesday

I am currently away from my TV, so unfortunately Stephen and I won’t be posting a Bachelorette recap tomorrow. See you next week!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

strawberry shortcake with cream cheese frosting

I haven’t posted a recipe in a while because I’ve been laying off the sweets a bit. However, when I saw this recipe for strawberry shortcake, I happened to have all the ingredients in my fridge, and it was really easy to whip up. They are very rich and reminded me of decadent doughnuts.

1 can Pillsbury Grands biscuits (8 biscuits)
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cinnamon
1 package cream cheese (8 ounces), softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 splash of milk
carton of strawberries, sliced

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Roll the biscuits in the sugar mixture until they’re covered on all sides. Set them on a baking sheet.

Bake about 10 minutes, or until a golden brown.

Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk with an electric mixer until well-blended. Add little splashes of milk if it’s too thick—add powdered sugar if it’s too runny.

Gently break each biscuit in half, and top with the cream cheese mixture. Then arrange the sliced strawberries on top.

Thanks to this Mix and Match Mama recipe. She also has variations for Nutella, Coconut, and S’mores shortcakes. :)


Thursday, June 27, 2013

friends in michigan

Two weeks ago, we drove up to Grand Rapids, Michigan to meet up with my girl friends from college. My friend Ruth and her husband Jake just bought a house there, and we couldn’t wait to visit!

Nolan loved Ruth & Jake’s big backyard :)

So fun spending time with Emily!

I was excited to see our friend Stephanie! Matching cousins in yelllow.

Ruth made this cute Father’s Day brunch. I made a key lime cake.

Ruth’s amazing hutch from an antique store. They only moved in a month before, but everything was painted and decorated perfectly!

Mona, Emily’s husband Andy, Emily, and me

My guys on Father’s Day

Reading with his buddy Linnea.

The girls! Emily, Mona, Ruth, me, Linnea. We had so much fun as roommates our junior and senior years in Chicago. And we hadn’t been all together since the month we graduated four years ago.

Mona and me

me and Ruth

The whole group (Mona’s husband Jon couldn’t make it.)

Getting a tour of downtown.

Gaslight village. The guys checked out the lake, while we picked up some pizzas.

We were only there for two days, so I wish it had been longer! Thanks to my friends for making it such a nice time!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bachelorette Week 5: Coach Stephen’s Pep-Talks

Bachelorette Desiree

We’ve reached a semi-important junction in the world of the Bachelorette—there are now only eight eligible suitors left vying for Desiree’s hand.

We’ve reached the Elite 8. If this was a basketball bracket, it would be the quarterfinals. This is serious business.

Along these lines, I feel it my duty to help coach each guy through to the next round. . . whether or not he accepts my help is up to him.

1. Chris:

I put Chris first because I believe he is the front-runner. He got a one-on-one date in Munich and knocked it out of the park. He was sweet, funny, just self-deprecating enough to show Des he wasn’t full of himself (thinking about the “cow” English/German lost in translation moment).

My advice: stay the course, son. You’ve shown yourself to be everything Des wants in a husband. Keep up the poetry.

2. Brooks:

Brooks is in an interesting position: he has gotten a number of individual roses, he kisses Desiree at every chance he gets, and she feels really comfortable around him.

My advice: get out of the friend-box, Brooks. Fast. Desiree feels TOO comfortable around you. I think it was clear she gave you the rose on the group date because you were the safe choice. Take it from Safe-Date-Steve (a high school experience—I grew out of it): destroy the friend box like you wanted to destroy the icy-walls keeping you from Des . . . when she was kissing James.

3. Kasey & 4. Drew:

I address Kasey and Drew together because this week leaves them as a unit faced with an awkward moral dilemma: what should they do about over-hearing the conversation James had with Mikey T.?

My advice: I hate to see these two put in this position. If left out of the drama, they could both cruise to finals-contention—they’ve got much the same vibes as Chris. But what to do about James? On one hand, they could just wait and see if Des cuts him loose in the weeks to come, betting that they’d outlast him. If they don’t, they can always expose him after they’ve been let go. On the other hand, you don’t want to see him take your spot in the future . . .

My final advice: talk to Chris Harrison. The man knows what all went down anyway. I don’t know why the guys don’t utilize his wisdom more often.

5. Zac W:

Crazy-man Zac is right on the cusp of skating into the finals, especially after translating his “naked-man” intro into the thoughtful, always-smiling optimist he seems to be.

My advice: you have to find a way to make a deeper connection, whatever that may be—perhaps help Des understand why you decided not to enter the priesthood, or whether or not faith is still a big part of your life. (Something I’m interested in finding out, btw.) If Des started cutting away dead-weight in the house, you’d be the second one to go . . .

. . . right after #1:

6. Juan-Pablo:

The former professional soccer player (as impressed as I am by that) is the heaviest dead-weight in the house. He barely gets any screen time, and the only thing keeping him around is that he is drama-free . . . which, by the look of things, is making his stock more and more valuable.

My advice: GET SOME SCREEN TIME! Granted, he got the Lone Ranger date a few episodes back, but since then he’s been like that guy who is in the background of every candid yearbook picture, but you can’t remember his name. Juan-Pablo, if you’re going to make your move, make it soon.

7. Michael:

You got a rose. You got rid of Ben. Not sure how you did both . . . so I guess I should congratulate you on that.

My advice: get a really big shovel, my friend, because getting rid of Ben put you in a giant hole and you gotta dig yourself out. I understand controlling the witness on cross-examination, as well as slipping cutting and snide remarks into statements in an effort to influence the jury . . . but this wasn’t a courtroom, and Desiree was partial (at least in part) to the defendant. You succeeded in sending Ben home, but now you’ve got to repair your image. Get to work.


8. James:

At the end of this episode, James is in a really good place: Desiree likes him, he’s getting roses, and he feels confident about his chances moving forward.

(but then I saw the preview for next week . . . )

My advice: Find a way to leave the show gracefully—because Kasey and Drew are going to call you out. Whether or not you meant what you said to Mikey T. in the limo, you’re going to be held to task about “becoming the Bachelor,” and there’s no good ending for you on the show. Save as much face as you can, because that way when you get back to Chicago, you’ll still be desirable enough for women to want to go out on Mikey T’s boat with you.

(To the guys who left the show tonight:


I hope you find what you’re looking for man. I think Desiree could’ve fallen for you in the end. Good luck.


You did a good job keeping your cool on the “Hot-Tug” and then again at dinner, but Michael ruined your chances in the end.

It wouldn’t have worked out anyway—guys need to get along in the house or it spells trouble.  I’m glad you get to see your son again, albeit sooner than you had planned.

Mikey T.:

I need to say it—you had a great attitude (almost) the entire time you were on the show. Keep on keepin’ on, ‘cause James is going to call you when he gets home.)

Rachel’s top three now:


Monday, June 24, 2013

katie & grant’s wedding

On Saturday, we went to Steve’s cousin Katie’s beautiful wedding. She and Grant have been together for seven years, and were more than ready to tie the knot!

They were married outside on the golf course. Her dress was stunning!

The candy/cookie/dessert table.

Enjoying hors d'oeuvres—moving his cheese from one plate to another.

These were the place cards to find your seat at the reception. The table names were “Butterfly Garden, Zen Garden, Herb Garden, Rose Garden, Tropical Garden, Japanese Garden, Tree Garden”, etc.

The beautiful cake and mini cupcakes made by Grant’s mom.

Our table facing out onto the golf course.

ALL of the flowers and centerpieces were done by Katie’s mom (Steve’s Aunt Debbie). Each centerpiece was unique and amazing. The favors to take home were tiny succulents in silver pots.

Blurry, but still good!

Nolan dancing with his cute cousins!

With my sister-in-law Dana, brother-in-law Phil, and brother-in-law Josh.

Nolan had such a blast!

Thank you, Katie & Grant, for a lovely wedding! We wish you all the happiness in the world. Enjoy your island honeymoon!


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