Friday, January 19, 2018

Recipe: Choco Mint Popcorn Balls

Happy National Popcorn Day everyone! Today I'm sharing a new recipe with you - ChocoMint Popcorn Balls. Think rice krispie squares meet popcorn and mint chocolate. Sounds tasty, right? The best part is that they're super easy to make. Below is the recipe to enjoy your own popcorn balls tonight.

½ cup butter
2.5 cups mini marshmallows
2 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
12 cups popped popcorn
⅓ cup Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips

1. Pop your popcorn (I popped one bag, which was enough).
2. In large mixing bowl, add popcorn and mint chocolate chips.
3. Melt butter in saucepan.
4. Slowly add in marshmallows, continually mixing. Stir until completely smooth.
5. Mix in vanilla and salt.
6. Pour mixture over popcorn.
7. Mix until popcorn is covered in chocolate and the marshmallow mixture.
8. Let cool slightly (so you don't burn your hands).
9. With greased hands, form balls with the mixture.
10. Cool until set.

Hope you enjoy this quick and tasty treat!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Weekend Recap: California Girls

This past weekend, three of my best friends from university visited! I hadn't seen them in eight months, but as soon as we were together, it was as if we'd been together minutes before. There is something so comforting to be surrounded by the ones you love most. I experienced so much happiness this weekend with them, constantly laughing and telling stories.

One bummer, however, was the weather. My poor California-living friends. It was ten degrees without wind chill most of the time they were here. The amount of times I heard "How do you live like this?" and "Why do you live here?" was hilarious. Thankfully, on Sunday, it warmed up to 30 degrees. Still not warm, but better.

Enjoy my recap of our weekend below.

The girls got into Chicago at 6AM, so when we got back to my house, we all went to bed for a couple hours. Once we were awake, it was time for brunch - fresh baked muffins and cinnamon swirl cake. Overall, Friday was a very relaxing day. We stayed in our comfy clothes to watch some Friends and play Yahtzee. We did, however, brave the cold for dinner. We went with my parents and two of their best friends to Board & Barrel in downtown Naperville and then to Le Chocolat for hot chocolate and dessert. We were so unbelievable full!


After we had eaten breakfast, the four of us headed to my work to have a tour of the plant. My friends and I were able to walk through the different lines, seeing how the alcohol was made, bottled, and packaged. (There are definitely some perks to working with your dad, who happens to run the site!) When we returned home, we got ready for our traditional "fancy-dinner night" so that we could take photos before my parents headed out. Once our photos were taken, we changed into comfies and played Phase 10. Rather than getting back into our skirts and dresses, we threw on jeans and sweaters. Safe to say that fancy-night lasted about 20 minutes. ;) For dinner, we went to The Ivy in downtown Wheaton. It's an old church that's been converted into a restaurant and man, was it tasty! We were all raving about our food! Our plan was to head back home after, but my friends texted me that they were at the bars - and ran into two of my other friends. Talk about my worlds colliding! I had work friends, Bible study friends, and college friends all in one place. I was so glad the girls were able to meet some of my Naperville friends.

Sunday morning was our crepes day! Every time my friends come to visit, we always have crepes at some point throughout the weekend - a tradition I love. After breakfast, we finally played in the snow! Although it was still in the 20s, it wasn't too painful to be outside. From there, we decided to play a second round of Phase 10, and let me tell you, it was intense! If you've never played before, make sure you have strong friendships - it can get ruthless! Once we finished the game, it was time for the girls to head to the airport.

This weekend was amazing. And for once, when we said goodbye, we knew it wouldn't be too long until we saw each other next. At the end of February, I'm headed to them!

Friday, January 5, 2018

My December Recap & January To Dos

Today marks my first To Do List of the new year! My January is quickly becoming very busy - something I just love. Between visits with friends, the start of The Bachelor, and upcoming birthdays, I think my first month of 2018 is going to be great. Below is my last To Do List recap of 2017 and my first 2018 list.

Start reading The Message: SOLO Women's Devotional with two of my friends.
We are officially three weeks in and loving it.

Create gift guides to help in your holiday shopping.
Had so much fun putting these together! You can find a complete list at the end of this post.

Visit the Morton Arboretum's Christmas light display, Illumination.
Visited with work friends as part of my epic Christmas kick-off weekend.

Have an ugly Christmas sweater party with friends.
We had brunch and played White Elephant in Chicago.

Explore the Christkindlmarket in downtown Chicago.
Most of the exploring revolved around drinking gl├╝hwein and taking photos.

Host a table at an Advent Tea.
I decided on a cozy theme for my decor. Such a fun afternoon!

Have a blast at my first company holiday party.
We ate, drank, danced, took photos in the photobooth, and hit up downtown Naperville afterwards.

Attend my church's Christmas Eve service.
It was a candlelight service featuring an interactive Christmas story.

Spend quality time with my family during Christmas.
We had a wonderful day enjoying our traditions and opening gifts.

Plan something fun to do for New Years Eve.
I decided to stay home this New Years. I've been feeling pretty sick lately, so I rang in 2018 with a Game of Thrones marathon. ;)

Enjoy a girls' weekend when my college best friends visit.
Attend a women's group reunion dinner.

Celebrate a friend's newest addition at her baby shower.

Celebrate my dad on his birthday.

Pray every night before going to sleep.

Begin my calligraphy bootcamp course with Loveleigh Loops.

Enjoy National Popcorn day by making popcorn balls.
Fill out my Janu-Arie Bachelor bracket.
Attend a lady's clothing swap party.
Go out for brunch at least once with friends.

Have a wonderful first month of 2018 everyone!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

My Year to Live Intentionally

Happy New Year!

I love the beginning of a new year. It's a time to start over and look at how you want the next year of your life to transpire. Although a new year often brings resolutions, I'm not a big fan of them. That being said, I still want something to set my year off right. What I've decided to do this year is choose a word to live out throughout 2018.


This next year, I want to live my life with intention. I want to set goals and a plan for my life and go after it. This past year, I experienced a lot of changes. I spent my year going with the flow, without much a plan (something very outside my wheelhouse); I want this year to be different.

Ashley Wilhite of Mind Body Green described living with intention best: "I want to mindfully choose how I spend each day, how I exert my energy, what thoughts fill my mind, what food fills body, and what environment surrounds me. I want to choose my thoughts because I know they create my feelings. I want to choose the direction I'm headed and where I'll end up in the future."

That, right there, is what I want my 2018 to look like. I want to take better care of my body, with both what I eat and how I work out. I want to develop my relationship and spirituality with God. I want to create a path for my future, both in regards to my job and where I start building my life.

Here's to a great year of living with intention.

What are your plans for the year?

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Year in Review: 2017

This past year has been a whirlwind! There have been a lot of changes, experiences, and excitement that have occurred throughout the year. Looking back over the past 12 months, I'm reminded of how blessed I am. Below, I'm recapping my year, filled with my top 8 experiences of 2017.

Back in February, Lavender Elizabeth came to fruition. I had been toying with the idea of combining previous blogs to make one lifestyle blog, and this year, I finally took the plunge. Having this blog has been so much fun! I love creating posts and sharing about my life. I can't wait to see where Lavender Elizabeth takes me in 2018.

Despite living in a different state, I was able to see my friends multiple times this year. I started off the year in Southern California with my OG best friends; Marie came to Chicago in February; my college besties visited Illinois for Memorial Day; Keiko and Lindsay came to Chicago in May; I saw Camille (and her beautiful daughter) in July; and saw Shannon in November for work. I love that I have friends from each place I've lived - it makes for some wonderful visits and the closest of friendships. Already in 2018, I have my college best friends coming the first week of January and I'm headed back to the Bay Area in February. I can't wait!

On top of the above visits, I was also able to spend extra time with my Southern California besties thanks to one of them getting married. In April, I headed down to San Diego for an epic bachelorette weekend and in July, I watched my best friend marry the love her life. The four of us have been friends for 17 years, so being able to see them multiple times this year was pure bliss.

This September, Southern Magnolias celebrated its one year anniversary - and what a year its been! Throughout 2017, we participated in 5 styled shoots, coordinated 5 weddings, styled a photography conference, and grew as a creative team immensely. Not only that, but our work was published 4 separate times: Jewel Shoot on Artfully Wed; Spring Shoot on The Perfect Palette; Boho Shoot #1 on Cake and Lace; and Boho Shoot #2 on Borrowed and Blue

Two stories in particular stand out to me. The first was sharing about my battle with depression. Although I'd referenced it before, I had never dedicated a full post to something so vulnerable on my blog. This year, in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, I shared my story. The second was my purity ring story. I've worn my ring for 4 years and was so proud to finally share the why behind it.

Moving to Naperville was a big deal for me. I was sure that I would be headed back to California, but God had other plans. In June, I moved back in with my parents and started a job in human resources. What started as a three month internship turned into one that would last nine months. I fell in love with my career path, my company, and my new town. And best of all, I made work friends and church friends, both of which have kept me nice and busy.

Joining my church, Community Christian, was the biggest blessing. I quickly joined a small group for young adult women, which introduced me to some amazing women. Not only did they love Jesus, but they loved to explore and have a good time. We went apple picking, went into Chicago for Halloween, had an ugly Christmas sweater brunch, and so much more. 

This is one of my favorite experiences of 2017. Traveling abroad with my best friend was surreal. We met up in Barcelona for a week and explored the city together. I hadn't been on a big trip in a couple of years, so this sparked the travel bug in me quick! I cannot wait to travel to another part of the world in the coming year (now to just determine the where).

2017 was a great year - can't wait to see what 2018 brings!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Gift Guide for the Christmas Fanatic

It is officially two days until Christmas and I am so excited! I can't wait for my family to all be together, opening gifts, listening to music, and enjoying the magic of Christmas. If you're on the hunt for that final gift but can't decide what to get, this gift guide is sure to help. For those in your life that love Christmas, get them something perfect for the season.

1. A print with their favorite Christmas song lyrics.
2. A set of seasonal sheets for a magical night's sleep.
3. A new ornament to hang on their tree.
4. A festive pillow for added decor.
5. A pair of Christmas earrings to wear.
6. Themed wine glasses for some liquid magic.
7. A reed diffuser so it always smells like Christmas.
8. A candy dish to hold their favorite sweets.
9. A pair of slipper socks to keep their feet both festive and warm.
10. A travel mug perfect for hot cocoa.
11. Sugar cookies sure to make Santa smile.
12. A sleep shirt to stay cozy throughout the night.

Even more variety below!













For the Home Decorator
For the Cozy Girl

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone!