A good tip for new (or rather any parent) is: When someone offers to watch your kid(s) for the night, you just smile and say "thank you". Try not to run or trip on your way out from your excitement though. Desperation for some much needed alone time makes you look.... well... is there any other way to say it? Desperate. 

Since moving back to the states, I've been lucky to have my mother come visit not once, but TWICE! This last time she was kind enough to offer my husband and I a night to just go out and enjoy a few kid free hours. When date nights are rare, you want to make sure what you do is either: completely practical and/or something you can't do with the kids. So my first thoughts were... we either go baby stuff shopping without kids or we do something new. Thank goodness we decided to do the latter. 

For our night of kidless fun we decided to go to Wine and Design in Stafford, VA. 

Before we get started, let me first tell you that I made the decision to go there without consulting my husband. So call it pregnancy brain if you will or just a crazy lapse in judgement, but for someone reason I just assumed this was the perfect date night thing to do. While it was fun, I didn't realize that my husband would be the only man there and we probably seemed a little silly among a plethora of wine drinking "girlfriends."  Good thing my hubby is a good sport and didn't even think twice about putting on an apron and painting the evening away with his very pregnant wife. 

So if you've never been to Wine and Design before (or any other wine and painting type of class) let me just give you a small run down of what they do. These type of classes are set up so that in one evening you will complete a work of art that is broken down for you in baby-steps by your class instructor. At our class, our masterpiece was already outlined for us and we were given all of the supplies to finish our "lovebirds" painting. I won't go too deep in to each step of our paintings creation, but I can tell you that our instructor was very patient and gave everyone plenty of time to paint and to be creative. 

I do, however, have a few tips for anyone doing this for the first time.

1. Don't get too boxed in to thinking your painting has to be perfect! Every painting comes out different. I mean we must have had 12 people in our class and I don't think any of our paintings looked alike in the end. Think of it as a family of paintings: You might have similar features, but in the end everyone is a little different. 

2. Snap a few pics of your painting when your done. That little boggier will look like a million bucks in a fancy full filtered Instagram photo and will make you super proud of what you've just done. Slap a few hashtags on that baby and tag your painting partner in crime and I guarantee you all of your friends will become insta-jealous of what an awesome evening you just had. 

3. Lastly, do not... I repeat DO NOT.... get water to drink and accidentally wash your paint brush in your water. Your night will not end well. Just a tip from experience. 

Conclusion: Wine and Design is a super cute way to spend the evening. It was an easy class and despite the fact that I'm not creative at all, I still left feeling like I was an artist. Our instructor was funny and lively; the environment was relaxed; and I felt like it was something different to do for date night. I highly recommend going to a class if you want a fun, relaxing evening creating your own unique work of art! 

Blogging is funny sometimes. While I enjoy typing away about my latest love (usually food) I sometimes feel like blogging can be overwhelming at best. I'm an obsessive Type-A person so the moment I press "publish" on my blog, I become a typo-searching monster who is over analyzing the littlest things. It's like I become possess and start thinking about everything in terms of "what's good for the blog" and I get lost in what's going on really in my life. I started this blog about a year or so ago to help "cope" with my lack luster life in Kuwait. It helped at first to get me out of my funk there, but overtime I started to enjoy my reality in the Middle East more, so I no longer needed it.

Now here I am... over a year later and ready to start blogging again, but this time with a new perspective. My life (like always) is constantly changing. The biggest change in my life right now is the fact that after 5 1/2 years of being overseas, my family has finally returned home to the U.S. All I can say about that is "home sweet home" never meant more to me. Returning back has made me appreciate all the wonderful amenities that can only be found here.

Another big change with me is... I'm expecting a new baby!! Yup, another cute baby boy to be born in November. I'm two months away and I'm in full on nesting mode. Nesting mode for me somehow makes me want to blog again. I can't wait to write about all the fun crafting projects I've been doing and all the fun baby gear I've been coming across, so be ready! 

So dear readers (do I have any readers? lol)... be prepared because I'm back and ready to start posting and ranting and raving about all the wonderful things in my life. 

When I tell people that I make my own buttercream, usually the reaction is the same: why would you go through all that trouble? A store-bought can of frosting may seem quicker and more convenient but in all reality buttercream made from scratch tastes better and is super easy to make! All you need is 5 simple baking ingredients plus about 10 minutes of your time. That's it!

Here's how easy it is:

Soften some butter. I like to leave it out on the counter overnight and forget about it until you need it. Don't try to cheat and pop it in the microwave-it just won't be the same as when the butter slowly comes to room temperature.

Now whip your softened butter in a big bowl for about 3 minutes. You'll notice that the butter will almost appear lighter in color and fluffier!

Now add in some sifted powered sugar. Yet again, don't cheat: sift that sugar! By sifting it, you're reducing the chance of ugly looking sugar lumps in your frosting.

Mix the butter and sugar together.

Now add your salt and vanilla. Also you're going to add some milk, ONE tablespoon at a time. How much milk you add will determine how thick or thin your frosting will be. Then, mix it all together.

That's it. Seriously. Now you have delicious and homemade sweet buttercream ready to go!

**Bonus tips**
-Add more sugar if you accidentally make your frosting a little too thin
-If your buttercream is a little too thick, add one tablespoon more of milk and mix it together. Repeat until you have the perfect consistency.
-Buttercream's main ingredient is butter (haha) So this means if it starts to get all warm and runny when you're frosting, pop it in the fridge for a little to let it firm up again. After it's had some time to chill out (pun totally intended), then you can continue on with your buttercream frosting creation.

Vanilla Buttercream

1 cup softened unsalted butter
3-4 cups of sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract (or any other flavored extract)
A pinch of salt
Around 2-4 tablespoons of milk or heavy cream

1. Whip softened butter on medium for 3-4 minutes.
2. Add sifted powdered sugar to the butter. Mix together until smooth.
3. Now add vanilla extract, salt, and about 2 tablespoons of milk. Mix together well. Add more milk (one tablespoon at a time) as you see fit, to make the buttercream thicker.

It's been twelve days since I last posted. I wish I could give you a great reason why I haven't posted, but honestly, I don't have one. These last twelve days have just been jam-packed--between preschool graduation, a Memorial Day BBQ, birthday parties, and a couple of "farewells" to some new friends, I feel like this last week and a half had little room for anything else.

However, today (day 12) I'm ready to get back on track. Tonight's post: how to make homemade buttercream. Tomorrow's post: how to make adorable "Hamburger" cupcakes.

As for the rest of the week: who knows... but I know I'm ready to get back into the swing of things and I'm looking forward to blogging once again :)

How do you usually say thank you to someone? Or tell someone that you're thinking about them? What do you do when you're feeling stressed or over-joyed? What's your favorite hobby? Favorite thing to do with the kids? What do you catch yourself looking at the most on the internet? 

For me, all those questions can be answered with one word: Baking! Something about pulling out flour, sugar, and butter to make something delicious, brings me so much joy. I love testing out new recipes and buying new baking supplies. I love that the moment my kids see me pulling out my Kitchen Aid mixer that they come running to help measure and pour. Lastly, I love the look on someone's face when you just drop by with something special because you were thinking about them and wanted to bring them something that you hope will brighten up their day. 

Last night I decided to make my favorite blueberry streusel coffee cake as a thank you present for my husband's co-worker who brought me all those delicious clams a couple of weeks ago. This cake is a perfect mix of cinnamon, blueberry and just a touch of lemon. Oh yeah and the streusel topping is divine, if I do say so myself. You can make this recipe in a 9-inch round pan or spring form pan and it will make a cake that is the perfect size for a family. Sometimes I double the batch size to make a monster-sized coffee cake that is so pretty looking I almost feel bad slicing into it.**

So here's my recipe for the best Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake. Make it at home and tell me what you think! 


  • For the Cake
  • * 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • * 3/4 cup sugar
  • * 2 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • * 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • * 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • * 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • * 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • * 3/4 cup milk or half & half
  • * 1 egg
  • * 2 cups fresh or frozen, unthawed blueberries
  • * 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • For the streusel topping
  • * 1/2 cup sugar
  • * 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • * 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • * 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • * 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. 2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg to make the streusel topping. Cut in softened butter with fingers and mix until topping is combined and crumbly. Don't over mix it though or else your topping will be more like a spread and a less like a delicious crumble topping. Place the streusel topping in the freezer until you're ready to put the cake in the oven. 
  3. 2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. 3. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the melted butter, milk (or half & half) and egg. 
  5. 4. Now add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients with an electric mixer until thoroughly combined, scraping sides of bowl if necessary.
  6. 5. Gently fold in blueberries and lemon zest by hand, transferring batter to a well-greased and floured 8 or 9 inch square baking dish, or 9 inch spring form pan.
  7. 4. Top the cake with the streusel topping and bake the cake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife inserted near center comes out clean. **If you double this batch, your cooking time will be around 60-65 minutes. 

So time for me to confess: I have two conflicting personality traits. One: I definitely have a type A personality--I like thing done in a certain way, in a certain amount of time, and with a certain amount of attention to detail. My only problem is I'm lazy. Crazy thing to admit, but it's true. I have an insane drive to do all these things, but nine times out of ten I simply just give up for various reasons.

When we moved to Kuwait, I vowed that things were going to be different. I wanted to be organized and on top of things. However, after six months of living here I can tell you that I got lazy about not being lazy. Literally every drawer, closet, and open available space in my house has things CRAMMED into. 

This morning I was almost pulling out my hair out when I saw how bad our "junk" drawer had gotten. It was so cluttered! I think I was using it more as a trash-limbo-land rather than an organized drawer of pens and various knick-knacks that I need around the house. Me being me though, when I get annoyed  with something like that, I just focus all my energy and obsess about it until it's done. So today I decided to clean that sucker out and type A that mother. 

In the middle of it, I thought it would be helpful if I gave out some tips to you guys if you want to clean out your unorganized mess and not go crazy in the process. So here you go:

  • Pull everything out. Do yourself a favor and take EVERYTHING out of the drawer(s). It will seem crazy at first to have that big pile of junk sitting there staring at you, but there's two reasons you should do this. One: Once you've pulled all that junk out, it'll all have to go back in. It'll force you to put it away in a proper place. Two: Junk drawers are dirty. You'll be surprised what kind of stuff you'll find in there. No joke, I found cereal, a chuck e cheese coin, and every receipt ever given to me in there. Wipe the whole drawer out and start fresh. 
  • Don't go out and buy a fancy organizer. There's no need to buy a fancy drawer organizer unless you absolutely feel the need for one. I used a silverware holder (cost me $2 at the store), some old tupperware, and a pencil case to organize my stuff. Just use stuff around the house or buy something cheap at the dollar store, no need to be fancy. Serious organizers just want all their stuff to have a home, who cares about whether the organizer is black or pink. **Extra tip** All of my tupperware and organizers are 3M taped to the drawer. This way when I open and close the drawer everything doesn't roll around and get disorganized again. 
  • Group like things together. Sounds silly, but it works. You're ten times more likely to put something back where it belongs if you know exactly where it goes. Since most junk drawers are filled with odds and ends, it's easier to visually know where to put things if they're all grouped together. Example: all adapters and cords go together. Pens and pencils are together. 
  • Make a pile for trash, shred, keep, and an "I don't know" pile. I know you're saying "duh" right now, but just do it. At the end it'll be easier to sort through the random "I don't know" papers when they're the only ones you're dealing with. Most of the time, my "I don't know" papers are things like User Manuals and Warranty paperwork. Today I decided to just throw all that in a binder and store it on a shelf in my laundry room.

Excuse the ugly lighting on this picture. It's late and I'm too tired to fix the awful coloring in this photo. 
For the user manual binder, I decided to put each manual in its own page protector. Then I typed up a title page and BAM instant "User Manual" binder. Fancy, fancy. 

If you want to download this title page for your own User Manual binder, feel free to download it here. 

All in all, my organization rampage only took me 40 minutes. And now my type A side is pleased because my drawer is pretty now and the lazy side of me is happy because I did all of this while watching the new episode of Glee.  

I've always been somewhat insecure of my body. Surprise surprise, right?! Let's be honest, most women these days have some sort of body issue. Whether you think your arms jiggle, you have "thunder thighs", or you simply think you're fat... the reality is you and I aren't the first (or the last for that matter) to dislike something about our bodies.

One of my biggest insecurities is what I look like in a bathing suit. Okay, I know, most women feel the same, right?! Don't write off this post just yet. I'm  going somewhere with this.

I actually remember the first time I thought I looked terrible in a bathing suit. I was fourteen years old and I was at the local community pool. My two friends and I had just arrived and we're quick to jump into the water. That day I had decided to wear my favorite hot pink bathing suit and I thought I looked cute. However, the moment I splashed into the pool, one of my well meaning friends said what I thought was one of the oddest things ever, She asked me why my bathing suit made it look like I had a fat pocket near my arm pit. I was so embarrassed that she even noticed. Somehow that moment spurred a long running series of insecurities. I would think things like my ribs stuck out in a weird way or I would obsess with the fact that my thighs touched. I was constantly comparing myself to the girls around me. I was ashamed that I wasn't stick thin and hated that I wasn't curve-less.

Sadly, I think this teenage sob story happens to a lot of girls. The worse part of it is: insecure girls grow into insecure women. Some of us grow out of it, but most of us will never forget that first boy who calls you fat or those girls at school who talk about the way you look behind your back. I'm in my late twenties and I still try to cover up as much as possible. I remember when I was in my early twenties, I hardly ever wore a bathing suit. It got so bad at one point that I wouldn't even go to the beach without a sweatshirt on because I thought I looked too fat. I mean for goodness sake, it wasn't until three years ago that I got over my fear of wearing shorts!

So where am I going with this? This blog, this journey, is meant to create a new mindset. Be more open and let go of things. My main thing is I'm trying to say "yes" more than I say "no" so this means when my daughter asked me a couple of days ago to go swimming (despite the fact that I didn't want to go), I gave in and said yes. That day I forced myself to put on my bathing suit and to get out of the house for the day.

Once we were at the pool, it didn't take long for my family to start begging me to get in the water. Usually I avoid, at all cost, other people seeing me in a bathing suit and on that day the pool was filled with people. I felt so shy getting into the water. I felt like everyone was looking at me, even though no one really was.

It wasn't until I was swimming around with my kids for a couple of minutes that I realized something. I don't care what other people think about me. Teaching my daughter to swim and watching my son playfully splash everyone in the "big pool" are memories I'm never going to want to forget. More importantly, I realized I wanted to be apart of the memories, not watch from the sidelines. It made me think about all those years that I said no to going to the pool or the beach. How many times have I said I can't or I don't want to because I felt fat or thought I didn't look great. Please tell me I'm not the only one who let fear hold me them back.

The moment I got home I began searching on the internet. In my mindset I kept thinking: Mama is going to buy a NEW bathing suit. No more sitting on the bench watching everyone else have fun. I don't care what my excuses were before. Every day I waste thinking like I used to is another day I don't fully enjoy my life.

So here's my message to all the women who may feel the same: Follow suit. There's no reason too big or too small to miss out on the best parts of life. Start off small. Buy yourself a new bathing suit. Jump into the pool. Have fun and forget the rest.

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