Cookie Party, with the Alison Show

I have found the sugar cookie recipe. The one that makes you want to have a cookie cutter stash and bust out cookies for every holiday. Bring the stretchy pants out. I'm ready. 

I've been admiring the #alisonscookieparty hashtag on Instagram for months and months now. I LOVE a good sugar cookie. I grew up spoiled with amazing homemade cookies from my mom, who, now swears that the Betty Crocker pouch kind taste just the same. They don't.

My mom's homemade sugar cookie recipe requires letting the dough chill in the fridge overnight, which always seems so much more demanding that it really it. They were also always topped with buttercream frosting, which while tasting amazing,  I could never make them look presentable when I'd attempt on my own.

Motivated by all of the success photos on Instagram, I talked to Alison about doing a mini collab putting her cookie party online course to the test. You guys, she is the best. I'm not sure who else would think to do 6 different brilliant videos walking everyone through every step of her cookie creations, but she did, and because of them, I didn't fail as much as I thought I would going into this.

For context I tried to do the Purl Bee Felt Alphabet recently and FLOPPED. The poor felt is half cutout, and a few letters haphazardly sewn. 

Sugar cookies though, I can do.

Being in the newlywed stage of life when it comes to our bank account and kitchen supplies, making this recipe work required grabbing a few things normal people have: a rolling pin, parchment paper, powdered sugar and gel food coloring. But maybe the latter is something only party people have. So I don't feel so bad. I searched on Etsy for cookie cutters and grabbed the teepee, tree, deer and cloud. 

I don't want to go on and on about each step, but my general consensus is that I am so excited by how much it all made sense and how much less effort it took than I expected.

Seeing cookies that are the same shape when they come out of the oven as when you put them in feels good.

I relied on her e-Book while getting ready then start/stopped her baking your cookie, making royal icing and decorating with royal icing as I went along. 

Seriously the how-to videos are the best. Being able to see things like the exact consistency of icing to shoot for, technique with icing or popping air bubbles and how to easily roll out the dough saved me so much time and stress.

Things that didn't work for me:

  • The deer's head is fragile. Paityn snapped a few before I could ice them. Lesson learned-- be weary of cookie cutters that are too thin and/or toddlers in the kitchen
  • The process of mixing different colors seemed like the most time consuming. I think 4 colors was perfect, and I can see anything more than that just being overwhelming. 
  • The lack of two sticks of butter in the icing. Ok ok, so I knew this wasn't going to be a buttercream frosting going into it. So the taste overall is lighter. Side note: healthier?

I honestly had so much fun beginning the process of mastering the sugar cookie. Let me know if you have any questions of if you've picked up Alison's Cookie Party too.

Utah Favorites: The Baby Cubby

I don't know about you, but local finds mean so much to me. I posted about a few of my favorites while we were still getting settled back in Utah. There are a few essentials I look wherever we live -- a gym, cute yoga studio, a place to get my hair done,  and a store that sells mini m&m's.

You know, priorities. 

Now that we've been here over a year we've found even more to love about the valley of Utah, which I honestly never expected to happen.

Enter: The Baby Cubby

If you're a local reader, tomorrow's the day to check them out. They're a baby boutique -- and I'm not sure if the word to describe them is cute, fabulous or sweet. It's some combination of all three. Within my first scan around the shop I found all of our favorites -- Paityn's crib, the newborn mitts that don't come off, all the Freshly Picked moccs, my baby bag; it felt like a curated shopping experience and I loved it. 

SO. Tomorrow, July 21 from 6-9pm they're having a pop-up shop with Taylor Joelle Designs. I hear talk of giveaways, treats, free hair-dos, and a sale off of everything in the store. Check out more here.

But stay here for a second.

Because we grabbed matching dresses for the girls and took the chance to take their first sister photos together. Oh I love those two. 

Tea Collection flutter dresses on the girls. 

The Hospital Bag

Right around 39 weeks I started thinking about the hospital bag. I was unbelievably uncomfortable, unknowingly carrying a 10+ pound baby in my womb, and hoped that doing so would help kick my body into birthing gear. We have the luxury of living just minutes away from the hospital which kept the pressure of having everything packed early on. Similar to Paityn's birth,  Landon was free to head home during our stay for anything we've forgotten and to go on a TacoBell run or two. ;) Now that Hudson is a month old and we're getting settled in as a family of four, I wanted to reflect back on what we were so glad to have with us when we needed it. Each birth is different, so if you're preparing to go into labor and want to know what you'll need make sure to read a few posts and see what resonates with you and your style. But here's what worked for me!

Landon and I packed three backpacks: one for Paityn with things she'd need while with family, one for myself and Hudson and then a third with things Landon would need along with electronics. I for sure did not want to be that mom in labor that comes in wheeling a suitcase.

For Birth Birth Playlist/Speakers Camera ^but ideally a birth photographer if you'd like photos, because you know we ended up with 0 A doula by your side. Biased! You can read my birth story here. Liquids to drink -- apple juice (supplied by the hospital)was heavenly both times for me Light snacks if you're up for something, I snacked (nibbled) on rice cakes walking in and for the first bit in the hospital till the contractions required every ounce of my concentration

Clothes that I wanted to labor and birth in were laid next to my bag and the put on once I got out of the shower at home Wednesday night and knew it was the real deal. For reference I wore a soft tee, one of my normal underwire bras, VS basic undies and sweats. I had made a conscious decision ahead of time to not wear the hospital gown and chose to go for clothes that I loved over finding a gown alternative online.

For The New Mama, Recovery

Comfy Sweater --

This one from Mulberry Press Co

only seemed fitting

Cheapo Leggings

Cozy socks

Granny Undies

 No I take that back, take the nurses up on their offer of mesh panties, Tucks, Dermoplast spray or whatever else they suggest if it helps. Sorry mama.

Belly Bandit

-- I wore the Bamboo in a size S till I needed an XS at 4 weeks again like last time but didn't want to shell out the $$. So grab two ahead of time if you can!

For Baby

Newborn Onesies -- Carter's are my favorite Footie Pajamas Aden + Anais Swaddles -- so soft, perfect for pictures and making your babe feel like your own. Hairbows Goumi Kids Newborn Mitts and Booties

For The New Dad  Toothbrush/Toothpaste A few changes of clothes depending on your length of stay Snacks/caffeine

Toiletries

Shampoo/Conditioner Hair Dryer + Straightener Moisturizer Makeup Makeup Remover Wipes Hair ties Toothbrush/Toothpaste

Misc

A RedBox or two to watch during downtime during your stay

A phone charger or two, don't forget!

Laptop -- for playing movies if your room doesn't have a DVD player, uploading/emailing photos, etc

and socks and shoes for your toddler doe when she comes to visit and you realize you dropped her off in footie pajamas and forgot to add those to her backpack :)

I know this may sound like a lot looking over it, but I promise i was grateful to have everything with me and it really only took up two smaller sized backpacks. My mentality going into labor is to make it feel as much like home as possible without making the labor staff's life difficult. If you're pregnant and getting ready to meet your new babe, congrats mama! I'm getting excited just thinking about the point of life that you're in. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below, I'd love to hear from you!

Summertime Sandal Favorites

Happy Hump Day! I am excited to announce that I am back with an amazing group of bloggers to bring you the second installment of Hump Day Highlights. The hosts this week are myself, Misty,April,Shannon,Amanda,Danica,Candice+Kaitlyn.  Each Wednesday we will list some things or moments from the past week that we are loving. We would love for you to add your post to our link up at the bottom of this post of what you are loving this week, too. This week I have summer on my mind, and wanted to share the sandals I've been loving as I browse online for pairs to grab for future posts and Utah adventures. This search began as I tried to put together photos for our Growing Love Series that is coming back! Being 9 months pregnant just sounded like the perfect time to you know, start that back up.

Favorite-Sandals
Favorite-Sandals

Here's the thing -- it was harder than I thought to find something I loved! All I wanted to find was a pair of brown leather Gladiator sandals that zipped up the back and it turned into a huge process, probably partially due to how picky I can be. Along the way though I found a handful of sandals that I fell in love that I wanted to share with you this morning.

Budget friendly: BC Gladiators | Nine West Fischer || Italian + Quality made: Joie Bastia || Summertime Staple: Sam Edelman Gigi || Flashback to the 90's: Teva Original Sandals || Colorful Options: Steve Madden Evict | Splendid Crete | ++ the Birkenstock Gizeh in Purple Nubuck

Seriously, try to tell me those Teva's don't make you want to go on all the summer adventures this year?? And shoutout to Barefoot Blonde for being the reason I'm now in love with the Pink Steve Madden sandals. Me and every other girl now, huh?

Please spread the love by following the other blogs in the link up/commenting on their posts. This is such a great way to meet like-minded ladies and make new friends, all while showing off your blog, too. I hope you link up and follow along!

Hello Hoop Art | Embroidery

I mentioned in my January goal update post that I'm currently working on broadening my view of art from just sketching to other mediums. Sketching regularly last year sounded like a great goal to shoot for but it wasn't for me without the structure of an art class like I'd had a few years ago; so I didn't make the time for it. So far already this year I'm making steady progress on teaching myself to knit but also started + finished my first of four craft projects  -- an embroidery project. Back in that day I learned how to cross stitch and worked on a few hoops as a 10 year old. I tried picking it back up a few years ago, working on a project for a birthday present for a friend, but it was just too time-consuming and felt never-ending. It honestly would've taken me months to finish. A typical cross stitch pattern is full of counted stitches, all in an x shape, that paint a picture. It usually includes items that are not only outlined, but filled in completely.

This go round embroidery designs appealed to me for how simple they were and for all of the white space. I looked around for a bit trying to find designs that were similar to an Instagram account that I followed: Cinder and Honey, and then realized I should just hit her up since I loved those the best.

Cinder and Honey Embroidery Etsy
Cinder and Honey Embroidery Etsy

I contacted Caitlin, the girl behind Cinder and Honey, explaining my goal, and asking if we could work together. I: purchase everything from her minus the stitches -- the materials, the hoop, and the design predawn on the fabric. I was cautious to acknowledging that this could be overstepping artistic boundaries and no worries at all if it wasn't something she was interested in! Thankfully she was game and said, "let's do it!"

She typed up instructions and tips for me that she included in the package, and suggested I hopped on over to YouTube to fill in the rest. Here's one of my favorite video that I found explaining 7 basic beginner embroidery stitches should you want to venture out on your own embroidery project.

Within a day of starting on the hello design, I had finished, and it felt so good. This included attempting to do the entire "hello" portion in the split stitch that you'll see in the video I linked above. It didn't turn out how I liked it so I carefully un-stitched it all, then used the same thread to do the hello again, this time in the basic back stitch. For a first timer, I love how it turned out!

Cinder and Honey Embroidery Hoop Art
Cinder and Honey Embroidery Hoop Art

All that is left to do now is to cut the excess fabric around the hoop, glue it to the frame, and hang near our door. Have you done an embroidery project before? Let me know if you have anything fun or designs to attempt next!