How to Host a Pretty Brunch + One Essential Brunch Recipe

I’m all for pretty things. My life would be so dull without pretty dresses, desserts, and dinnerware. Wouldn’t you agree? It doesn’t have to be expensive, just pretty. Well, I like to have that mentality to many aspects of my life, hosting is one of them. I love the idea of hosting. It’s a perfect occasion to take out the seldom-used teapot, dinnerware, and go all out with serving napkins. I mean, there are no objections to doing that on the regular, but then you’re stuck with extra dishes and more laundry -not fun!
So with my obsession with hosting and the holidays coming up, I thought I’d share a little insight and tips. Today ill be sharing how to easily host a brunch party. Why brunch? Because it’s the most important meal of the day, forget breakfast. And brunch is a perfect excuse to have desserts so early in the day!
One of my favorite things to make for breakfast/brunch is a baked omelet. It’s easy, extremely savory, and totally appropriate. So if you’re planning to host an upcoming brunch, or just need a reason to wake up, how about you try this baked omelet recipe? (Scroll down for recipe)
I’m excited to introduce a sweet friend of mine on the blog today! Meet Ema, she’s the photographer behind many of my photos, someone who knows a bunch of random facts, and who has a great eye for detail and presentation…talk about a resourceful friend, huh?! Well, this brunch get-together wouldn’t have happened without her. Today she’s sharing a few tips on table presentation.

Like Ina mentioned, I enjoy setting an attractive table and having those special touches. Setting a beautiful table is not about putting one’s self on display, rather making guests feel special, welcome, and honored. With that being said, here are a few rules I follow to set a gracious table:

1. Include fresh flowers. Buy one type of flower. I usually choose hydrangeas or roses. When you get home, choose a clear vase and fill it with cold tap water. Trim the flower stems at a 45 degree angle to the size of your vase and remove all leaves below the waterline. Sometimes, instead of using one large vase, I break up the flowers into smaller arrangements using either small vases or drinking glasses. If using hydrangeas, know that they sometimes will get a little limp the following day. If that happens, simply trim the stems about an inch and put them in new, fresh water. The hydrangeas will usually perk right back up in a couple hours. If the flowers still look limp, repeat the process.

Avoid pre-made arrangements. Grocery store arrangements often include flowers that are dyed or dipped in glitter or feature too many garish color combinations. Stick to a single kind of flower and you’ll take the guesswork out of how to arrange them.

2. Include unscented candles. Candles always add a flattering, sparkling light. Small white votives are perfect for daytime or evening get-togethers.

Avoid scented candles. You don’t want to mix food aromas with a strong, overpowering candle scent. Leave the pumpkin scented candle for when you are reading or watching TV.

3. Include a finishing touch. The type of finishing touch will vary by occasion, but include something that will unite your table aesthetic. For our girls brunch, I tucked bougainvillea stems into the napkins to bring the colors of the table together. For your own table, you can use any greenery, herbs, or even a pretty ribbon.

Avoid clutter. The point is to keep things simple yet elegant. Take anything off the table that doesn’t add to it and use only what you need.

 

There you have it. A beautiful table setting and tips you can use to host any upcoming party! Now lets get back to this baked omelette recipe, shall we?

Baked Omelette

I like to make mine in a cast iron, but a non stick pan will do as well. I also like to use ground sausage, but you can definitely change it up to add chicken, bacon or add hash browns. You really can’t go wrong with this savoury omelette.

Baked Omelette

Ingredients

  • 1lb of ground sausage, cooked
  • 6 whole eggs
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/3 cup of salsa
  • 1 cup pf cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup of feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of chopped green onions

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven at 400 F. And grease cast iron (I used 12in).
  2. Fry the sausage, set aside to cool off.
  3. Mix the remaining ingredients together, adding the sausage last. sprinkle with some more cheese, sliced tomatoes, and bacon (optional).
  4. Place mixture in cast iron, and place in oven.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until ready.
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Apple Pear Pecan Pie + Homemade Pie Dough

Christmas is six weekends away and I’m sharing a pie recipe! Yup! Cause although this whole pumpkin spice and Fall vibe is coming to an end, my obsession with pies has not. Paaa-leezzz just serve me some pie on a platter and I’ll have it all year round, thank you very much!

But in all seriousness, pie really does have that cozy Fall, harvest feel. So, if I have one more week until Thanksgiving to share my all-time favorite pie recipe, then here it goes!

So you’ve heard of apple pie, but have you heard of apple pear pecan pie? Ok, maybe you have but I really wanted to feel special! If you know anything about me by now, you know how much I love adding nuts to pretty much every dessert I make (check out this Salted Pecan Chocolate Cake). It’s kinda become an essential item I think of when making up new recipes. And if it’s not pecans, it’s walnuts… or almonds! Call me nuts, I know. 😉 But growing up in a European culture, there was no shortage of nutty desserts (try this Nutty Wafer cake). I mean, thank God for Costco for selling bulk packages of assorted nuts because they can get pretty pricey otherwise.

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How to Be Joyful In Motherhood: A Believing Mother’s Perspective

So here I am. Sitting on my couch, exhausted, and anticipating another sleepless night. I really have two options: 1) dread the thought of waking up 2-3+ times, or 2) pray, and hope for the best. The latter is kinda hard, isn’t it? Well, you’re not alone.

Let me just start off by saying that I think motherhood is wonderful. It’s everchanging, beautiful, and exciting moments are priceless. I am nowhere near the Proverbs 31 wife or mother I would love to be, but I try to aim for it every day, humbly by God’s grace alone. Next, all my efforts and advice is based on the strength I have in the Lord, none of which I achieved on my own.  None of which I can brag about or say I’m some kind of superwoman because Lord knows, I’m not. I simply want to give a ray of hope in your moments of weakness or despair, because let’s face it, as mothers, we all have those moments. Lastly, this is a journal from my heart, this is what I feel, and am compelled by God’s work in my life—giving me passion—to share some good news with you! So here it goes.

Today my little Evalyn Mae turns 6 months. The thought of that just brings tears to my eyes. I can’t express the joy she has brought into our lives, I truly thank God for her each day. I knew motherhood would never be easy, but there have been moments so far that have been very very challenging. I feel fortunate enough to say we have never experienced any major life-threatening situations, but there have been other challenges that have made some days/moments very hard.

First off, we are 6 months in with minimal sleep at the night, waking up at least 2-3+ times a night. Teething, a boatload of soiled diapers…and stained clothes on the regular (ha)! The joys of motherhood, right? Well, most mornings I am awakened by my sweet baby’s cry and I don’t want to get out of bed. Physically I’m a wreck, mentally I’m a blur. But naturally, I take my little Ev into my bed and I try to entertain her with singing, oo-ing, and rattles. It works for a little, but then it’s time for this tired mama to get up! If it’s not those sleepless nights, it’s those moments of sudden crying, or screaming while driving home…etc…you name it! But, in those anxious moments, what do you do?

Well, personally I try to remind myself to pray and rely on the Lords strength – I say that humbly…I try but often fail. I definitely don’t pray as much I ought too. I don’t remind myself enough of the Lord’s sufficiency but I’m striving to. I’m striving to have joy in moments of exhaustion, I’m striving to have peace in moments of anxiety, and I’m striving to be more selfless in moments of selfishness. It takes time. But I do think it really comes down to these two things: choosing to be joyful and depending on God’s strength. Personally, the best way for me to maintain those two things is reading and meditating on God’s Word, and praying daily. Motherhood is such a sanctifying process. When you realize the faithfulness of God and the rich promises of power and strength we have in Christ, we can remain joyful and at peace even through tough times! Not that we rejoice in the emotional, spiritual, and physical struggle itself…we are human, and of course, pain does not feel good…but we rejoice knowing that God is working something great in us, maturing and perfecting our faith, and ultimately is being glorified through our remaining faithful in the midst of hardships! Not only that, but it’s our duty as obedient Christians to be joyful and thank God always, listen to Paul has to say about our duty to be joyful:

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 

-1 Thess 5:16–18

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law.”

  • Gal 5:22–23

You no longer have reason to lack joyfulness. When you realize our strength in Christ by His Spirit (2 Tim 1:7; 2:1; 2 Cor 12:10; Eph 6:10), your perspective starts to change, and your focus turns from your trial (the difficulties of being a mother itself to the God who supplies all our needs richly in Christ (Phil 4:19).

In those moments I’m so thankful for His promises. They’re so fulfilling! I also then realize that this little child is fully dependent on me! And I ought to delight in providing her needs, just as our heavenly Father delights in providing ours. I sure don’t want to look back one day and regret not choosing joyfulness in this precious time. Time goes by so quickly, and we don’t have time to lack joy!

Below I have listed a few ways you can remain joyful throughout your day. They’re basic, but they go a long way. These are a few things that I have applied to my life recently that have really been life-changing.

How to Maintain Joyfulness:

  • Devotion: Wake up, get your coffee, find a cozy spot, read Gods word, meditate, and pray. Just try to do this every day, or every other. Even if it’s a matter of 10-15 minutes, it helps so so much. If you’re a working or on-the-go mom, try listening to sermons in your car!

  • Join a women’s Bible study group: this really helps you connect with other moms or fellow believers who may be going through the same struggles. You are always united with other believers! Honestly, I never really joined a “formal” Bible study before until recently (mainly because I was a student/working crazy hours before that never seemed to work). But now, after joining, it motivated me to study God’s word, to come prepared, and to engage in discussion. It’s extremely helpful!

  • Pray for your child: you prayed for your child in the womb, now continue to do so! Before bed, I like to walk over to Ev’s crib look down on her sweet angel face and pray for a restful night, and in the morning, I pray for protection. When you pray for your child you realize you have every reason to rejoice, all this effort, pain, dedication is all for this precious gift the Lord gave us! What a privilege!

  • Remind yourself of the privilege of motherhood! When you realize the privilege and high calling of motherhood, your perspective really changes–at least it did for me. God specifically chose us to mother your child(ren). And as every privilege, it is a gift.

  • Listening/sing songs of praise (aka worship music): create a playlist (I like modern hymns), or turn on some background worship music to keep your thoughts centered on Christ and his promises all day!

  • Try to memorize a bible verse each day/week: Try to pick one that’s personal to what you’re struggling with that week/season. I started doing this recently and I love it. After my morning devotion, I write down a verse that I felt was personal to my current circumstances, and I try to memorize it throughout the day, and by doing that it’s a great way to meditate and pray based on that verse! It also helps with mommy’s brain haha.

I by no means fulfill all the above, but like I said, I try. And that’s the best I or you can do. We are all a work-in-progress until the Lord returns!

Here is my closing prayer. Pray it too if you are unable to find the right words.

Heavenly Father,

I humbly come before you.

I look to you for all my needs. You are sovereign, perfect, majestic, holy, righteous, all-powerful, love, faithful, and full of mercy and loving-kindness! I ask that you would create in me a joyful heart because I know that is what pleases you.

I confess that I am nothing without you…nothing without the grace of forgiveness you’ve given me…in Christ…and the grace of power and strength to live the kind of life that pleases you. I thank you for it, knowing how short I fall of your glory each day.

Please your perfect work in my life. Help me to see motherhood as a privilege and an honor that you have granted me! Help me to rejoice when it’s hard to…when I’m exhausted, irritable, angry, bitter…not rejoicing in the trial itself, but in knowing you’re working something wonderful in me that will ultimately bring you glory!

I thank you that you are the Sovereign God who created me and sustains me. You are my strength, refuge, and wisdom…the one I look to for all things. Help me to keep my eyes on you, and on Christ, and on what I can do each moment today to respond to my circumstances with joy and humility because I know that is your will for your children, and that is what pleases you.

I ask these things in the name of your Son, my Lord, and Savior, Jesus Christ,

AMEN

FYI- I  have a journaling Bible, you can find it here.

 

XO I.P.

Luxurious Hair Extensions From Luxy Hair

Today, let’s talk hair. I don’t know about you, but hair has always been a big deal for me. And I’ve got a little secret that I’d like to share. 😉

From as long as I could remember, I always wanted long, luscious, thick hair. I mean, don’t we all? I specifically remember this being a prayer of mine growing up, aha! I would see beautiful hair all over the media: magazines, TV shows and I was always so envious of thick and long hair. There is just something so feminine about long locks. Wouldn’t you say so?

But, I always had thin, fine, flat hair. Although I have good hair texture it was not enough to satisfy my desire for long thick locks! I know, I know, you always want what you can’t have…

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Nordstrom Weekend Sale Picks under $25

Hey friends!

Today I’m highlighting a brief overview of my favorite Nordstrom Sale items happening this weekend (ending Nov.12/12). All these items listed below are under $25 dollars (before tax). That’s my kinda deal. Going forward ill try to set up blog posts on a weekly basis when I find some great items on sale.

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Fashion Finds With ThredUP

Who doesn’t love finding fashion finds for less? I know I can get an AMEN from one of you reading this. Well finding nice items at a nicer price is just what I like, and that’s what I found at ThredUP. ThredUP is an online consignment (second hand) store which carries a ray of well-known brands, like some of my favorites, ZARA, Kate Spade, Forever 21 and sometimes Valentino too! To be honest, I was never much of a second-hand shopper until I got older (and wiser…just kidding). And it wasn’t because of the prices- because I always find killer deals. It was more so the idea of shopping second hand. Most consignment stores I have walked into in the past had an awful smell that is similar to an old folks home or a cat litter box. Ok, I’m sorry. That’s a little extreme but I’m sure I’m not alone. So when I discovered this online consignment shop, I thought…it’s about time something like this came into existence… and how convenient! I don’t know about you, but anything to do with online shopping gets me excited (my husband can attest to that too). 🙂

ThredUP has a bunch of items on their site. From maternity to baby clothes, and shoes! It’s pretty cool. Sometimes you really have to search until you find something “trending” so here are some tips that I recommend:

  1. ThredUP gets hundreds of clothes each day; their website is daily updated, so if you’re looking for the best of the best, check throughout the day under “new arrivals” because the cute items go quickly like hot cakes!
  2. If you have an indecisive nature (like me), “heart” the items you like while browsing and it’ll stay on hold for 24hrs- make sure to make an account to do so.
  3. Order a “Clean Out” bag and use it towards your next purchase!

So what exactly is “Clean Out?”

ThredUP doesn’t just sell clothes, they buy them too! After discovering this, I did a major closet clean out and got rid of a bunch of my not-so-mommy clothes (it was bitter-sweet) and many more clothes that have been sitting my closet untouched. You can order a “Clean Out” bag, fill it up with like-new clothes that aren’t getting the love they deserve, ship it back to them (for free), and get money back for them (see guidelines here). Pretty cool. 

My ThredUP items: #ad

After using those tips, I finally came across two styles that I love, a romper and embroidery detail.

Romper: Forever 21 fashion find for $9

Embroidery Top: J. Crew fashion find for #12

I wasn’t able to wear a romper for months because I was recently pregnant, so I was very eager to be able to wear one again! I mean how cute is this navy floral romper? And because it’s no longer summer, I styled it by wearing a button up blouse underneath. Now I can wear it all year around!

Next, embroidery. I’ve always loved embroidery details on clothes. It’s so classy, feminine, and unique. It almost saves you from wearing jewelry- especially if you’re like me and are a minimalist when it comes to jewelry. Embroidery clothes are great to style because you can always dress it up or down while still maintaining that classy look.

Shop similar items:

Now it’s your turn! Check out ThredUP , sign up today and get $10 towards your next purchase… you can thank me later. 😉

Au revoir,

♥ I.P.

 

Pumpkin Pecan Dark Chocolate Cheesecake

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I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers, aren’t you? (Quoting my all time favorite, Anne of Green Gables). But I’ll be honest, it hasn’t been much of an October here in So Cal, it feels like the hottest point of summer to be most accurate. Although we just got back from visiting Niagara (my hometown) I got all my Fall feels. I love Fall time in Niagara, it’s so magical.

October is just so exciting, it’s like that happy in-between from goodbye summer to hello Christmas, right? It’s kinda crazy to see at the grocery stores stocked up with pumpkins and Christmas decor. But I really don’t mind because it really gets me into the baking mood. And Fall just isn’t the same without some pumpkin spice…everything. I think it’s become a social norm now, thanks to Starbucks!

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Baby Essentials + Where I Shop for Baby

Our sweet little Evalyn Mae turned 5 months last week. Life is sweet, ever-changing, and a handful (clearly because of my delayed 5-month update). Being a first-time mom, I remember thinking I had no idea what to expect the first time around. I mean how could anyone? There are no books, no advice, or experience that can fully prepare you for having a baby. You just need to take it one day at a time, with a coffee in one hand, baby in the other, and the Lords grace daily. Seriously.

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Anniversary Bliss + How We Found Out I Was Pregnant

Today marks a very special day for us. Today is our second wedding anniversary and our little Evalyn Mae turns 4 months! Whoever said 13 wasn’t a lucky number?

As I reflected on the Lords’ goodness for carrying us through to another wonderful year of marriage I can’t thank Him enough for all he has done for me and my family. Although life hasn’t been perfect, it’s been filled with so many beautiful moments.

 

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Roasted Stuffed Peppers with Feta Cheese

Whatcha making for dinner tonight? How about you try this delicious stuffed pepper recipe?! Easy to make, no mess, healthy option with a gourmet outcome.

First off, let me say I’m sorry for not posting a recipe for months… or completing my “frozen meal series”. With baby Ev who came sooner than expected and my first months of mommyhood, I really haven’t had the time or desire to make/share my favorites recipes. Sleep deprivation will do that to you people. But since hubby and I are on a mission to eat healthier dinners, I have been trying to spice up the menu..cause eating healthy can get a little bland time after time. Another healthy alternative is stuffing the peppers with quinoa- which turned out great! But I have to admit the rice is a classic, at least for me.

I grew up loving stuffed peppers. It was always a treat when my mom had them baking in the

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