The Halloween Candy Theory.

It’s Saturday, November 9th- over a week from Halloween 2013.

If during every other week at work you can gain the Corporate 15, the day after Halloween, you can gain the Corporate 20.

People bring their leftover candy and leave it to tempt you in order to overcome their lack of self control.

As of yesterday afternoon, most of the candy was gone. The Starbursts, Skittles, and Snickers had all been snatched up.

Key word: MOST.

There is still a sad bowl of candy sitting on the table in the kitchen. It contains countless jaw breakers and gobs of lollipops of a brand I’ve never heard of. It’s as if that candy was never touched.

When it comes to Halloween candy, you have two choices:

1)Buy brand name candy that everyone will love

2)Buy off brand candy that no one will eat

If you choose option 1, you will pay for those brand names and have 0 leftovers. If you choose option 2, your wallet will thank you, but at the end of the night, it will just be you and that bowl of candy. So did you really save any money? The candy you purchased will actually go to waste, as no one chose to eat it.

Often times, people will live their lives like option number 2. They cheat themselves…they fill up on cheap worldly highs, which in turn deprives themselves of true joy, then wonder why they’re empty inside.

So, don’t be tempted by that sour gumball surprise. Choose the real deal and choose joy.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

It’s Fall, y’all. Part One: Sweaters and Scarves.

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

I’m all for summer fun. I love the freckles, and crop tops, and the seemingly never ending nights.

But, I also love sweaters, and football, and warming up by a crackling fire.  God really knew what he was doing when he created the seasons…they creep up just in time…rewarding you with a change in weather, wardrobe, and flavors.

Texas fall can sometimes be hard, wardrobe wise. Our weather is somewhat bi polar. It can be 80 degrees one day and fall to below 50 degrees the next. (I remember wearing shorts in December last year).

Here’s what I’ve been doing to transition my wardrobe into fall and keep me from suffocating myself due to poor choice in clothing:

Pair a sweater with a skirt you’d usually wear leggings with. 

FAll 1 outfit

This gives you room to “breath” and not overheat! This chunky cable knit sweater with elbow patches I bought from here. The mini is a tweed fabric with buttons that’s from here circa 2007. Does that make it vintage? I skipped the usual tights and paired it with my favorite pair of oxfords. With a high of 80 and a low of 50, this outfit was the perfect combination for Fall in Texas.

Think Thin.

fall 12 outfitWhen shopping for fall clothing, buy thin. This lets allows you to get more versatility, because you can always layer it with boots or a scarf to provide more warmth. This is another great sweater from here, paired with my all time favorite pair of pants from my all time favorite store. (I have them in multiple colors and am not ashamed!)  My shoes are my favorite buy this fall- suede wedge booties. I found them accidentally here.

Mo Shoes, Mo Problems Less Problems.

fall shoes

*Not pictured, my fabulous Uggs, that are definitely my favorite Winter shoe! But really, shoes can make or break your outfit and boots can help you create an effortless fall look. Pair them with jeans, skirts, or dresses. They are no rules- you can even throw in a contrasting tall sock! (Pictured from left to right, Marshall’s, Indigo by Clarks, Frye, Olsenboye, Nine West, Gianni Bini, Nine West).

Now you have no excuse but to look the season. Excuse me, but I think my pumpkin hot chocolate is ready…See you next time for part two: Cookies and Crafts!

College Football Makes Me Sad.

This is my first fall without going to school. It’s weird, but then it’s not…It’s weird because it was something I did for 16 years. It’s not all that weird because I already feel like I’ve been gone for a while. Maybe I was mentally gone for a while.

I remember graduating high school and not being sad. I had friends who cried, but me? I would cry if I got out of there any later!

I loved college. It was the perfect set up. You don’t go full days *disclaimer, my last semester I went 9-5 without any breaks and had to eat lunch on the way to my next class*, all your friends are within 5 minutes and so are all your favorite restaurants. Most importantly, you got to take naps. I graduated in 3.5 years with one of the most hour intensive majors, 147 to be exact. I never took less than 16 hours, took 18 hours twice, was a leader in my sorority, involved in honor societies, and had a social life on top of studying and withholding a GPA above a 3.5.

I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy college, it was wonderful and I have the best memories and awesome friends! I just think it’s human nature to want to keep climbing and get to the next big thing and I did that. I’m not sure that I fully enjoyed where I was at the time to the complete extent I should have. Sure, looking ahead is important because setting goals is what gets you places, but it’s also important to look around and enjoy the view from where you are at that exact moment.

Lately I’ve been wishing Peter Pan was real and he could whisk me off the Never Never Land so I could get away for awhile. Sadly, he hasn’t showed up and I’ve been doing more and more “grown up” things. In the past 2 weeks I have:

-paid my credit card bill

-went to the gynecologist

-got my oil changed

-picked up and paid for my prescription

-paid rent on my storage unit

-got in  wreck and had to deal with the offender’s insurance

-paid my toll tag bill

-attended two different alum meetings: one for Baylor and one for Tri Delta

-attended a bridal shower

-got my car booted and had to pay a $113 ticket

-purchased anti virus software for my computer

I could keep going, but I’m pretty sure you’d fall asleep and I’m pretty sure you get the gist.

The point, is bloom where you’re planted. I could list some more cliches, but I think Texas girl,(Baylor grad!) singer-songwriter, Jillian Edwards Chapman says it best in her song Nonfiction Love Song:

“Used to want time to run so quickly
Now crawling is fine
Cause the older I get the more
I see I need every moment
To let my roots grow down deep”

So, no. College Football does not actually make me sad- fall, football, and sweater season give me the warm fuzzies inside. It makes me nostalgic for Baylor University and my time spent there. So much happened there and so much of it made me who I am today. Yes, I like my job and getting paid for my time, but that time will mark one of the greatest in my life.

It’s your life. Enjoy it for what it is. Thanks and Sic ’em Bears!

“Make the most of your opportunities because these are evil days.” Ephesians 5:16

Dessert is Stressed Spelled Backwards.

I spent my entire Saturday in College Station, Texas. Day trips are always tiresome; needless to say, my Sunday nap was highly anticipated.

The only thing that got me out of my bed after church, was that I knew there was a batch of these brownies in the kitchen. Unfortunately do not have Elastigirl’s arm-stretching talent…yet.

Now, not all of the sweets I partake in are 100% bad for you…

I received a lot of good feedback on this post, so I thought I’d write something similar. Here’s a couple not that bad for you yummies.

I was scheduled to attend an apartment warming party for one of my friends who is gluten-free. It’s kind of my thing to bring desserts, so I whipped up this blackberry oat goodness and served it with ice cream. There was zero, zilch, NADA left when it was time to go home.

blackberry oat

Blackberry-Oat Treat

2 1/2 cups oats
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup butter
2 cups blackberries (1 pint)
2 tablespoons corn starch                                                                                                                                                   Vanilla Ice Cream
Preheat oven to 375ºF and spray an 8×8 inch pan with Baker’s Joy. Combine the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, cornstarch, and salt. Add the butter and vanilla and mix until crumbly. Reserve one cup of this mixture for the top and press the rest into the pan. Toss the blackberries over the crust. Sprinkle on the remaining crumbs. Bake for 35 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

I love pancakes, but I also know that most are made with white flour and that it is terrible for you. So,I made a pancake recipe inspired by my favorite breakfast place in Waco- Cafe Cappuccino. They have a wonderful whole wheat-apple pancake!  I’d like to order it with chocolate chips, but apparently that isn’t possible, so I decided to make it myself.

WWCCPancake

Whole Wheat – Oat -Apple- Chocolate Chip Pancakes (A mouthful. Literally.)

3/4 tsp baking powder                                                                                                                                                       1/4 tsp baking soda                                                                                                                                                                 1/2 TBS Truvia                                                                                                                                                                     1/4 tsp cinnamon                                                                                                                                                               1/4 tsp nutmeg                                                                                                                                                                   1/4 tsp salt                                                                                                                                                                          1/2 cup oats                                                                                                                                                                       1/2 cup whole wheat flour                                                                                                                                                    1 egg white                                                                                                                                                                         3/4 cup milk                                                                                                                                                                        1/2 a small apple                                                                                                                                                             dark chocolate chips

Mix baking powder, baking soda, Truvia, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, oats, and flour. Stir in milk and egg white. Mince the apple and stir in as well. For even amount of chocolate chips, drop them on top of the pancake while cooking.

You can also add/sub items in this recipe. I sometimes leave out the apples and add 1 tsp of dark cocoa powder and 1 tsp of instant coffee crystals. I never leave out the chocolate chips, of course;)

This last recipe is not for those with lack of self control. If you’re on a diet, this is definitely NC-17 rated. I brought these to work and was scorned for doing so.CCCD cupckaes

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

COOKIE DOUGH FILLING:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips

CUPCAKES:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

COOKIE DOUGH FROSTING:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) Cookie dough filling : In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to stir together the butter, sugars, milk and vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips. Refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes, or until the cookie dough is firm. Scoop out dough in 2 tablespoon scoops and place it on a cookie sheet. Freeze until firm, at least 30 minutes.

2) Cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with 12 liners. Place the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda and salt in a blender. Blend to combine. Add the water, oil, egg and vanilla. Blend to combine, scraping down the sides as needed a couple of times until all is well mixed. Divide the batter between the 12 cupcake liners. Drop a ball of frozen chocolate chip cookie dough into the center of each cupcake. If you would like the cookie dough to bake up slightly, keep the top visible as pictured in the post. If you’d like to keep the cookie dough somewhat raw, push it to the bottom of the cupcake wrapper, making sure that the batter comes up and over the dough. Bake the cupcakes for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcake portion of the cupcake (not tested through the center where the dough is), comes out fairly clean. Cool the cupcakes completely before adding the frosting.

3) Cookie Dough Frosting: In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the butter and sugars until smooth and creamy. Mix in the flour, milk and vanilla and continue to mix until all is well combined. Frost cupcakes with a knife or scoop the frosting into a piping bag and pipe it on decoratively. Sprinkle mini chips on top. Then go back and eat the leftover frosting…It’s SO good.

So, yeah, that last one isn’t good at all for you…well it’s probably good in your tongue’s opinion to say the least. I’d apologize, but I don’t think Julia Child would.

“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.” -Julia Child

Dear Ex-Boyfriends,

If you clicked on this post thinking I was taking a note from T-Swift’s book, you thought wrong.

…Though, now that I think about it, maybe I should write a book about “Red” flags in the dating world. (excuse the second Taylor Swift Reference)

Chapter One: if a guy tells you that you’re “proud” and the first example that comes out of his mouth is “because you have a blog”, his aspirations obviously don’t match up with yours. He needs a sugar momma and that’s not you.

Not that this has happened of course…or has it? you’ll never know. Why? Because that book would definitely be under a pen name. (so their mothers wouldn’t want to spank disown them).

Anyway, that wasn’t the point of this post. the point of this, was to address menswear! As I have mentioned before, I am a merchandise coordinator for custom shirts, at J. Hilburn.

J. Hilburn is revolutionizing the way we look at menswear, especially custom and made to measure. Less than 2 weeks ago, we had our annual conference in Las Vegas.  A large number of our style partners (we have over 3,000), EOs of Esquire and Mens Health, as well as Scott Bedbury ( THE guy responsible for helping Nike and Starbucks become household names) attended.

We are fixing to (I’m Texan and can’t help it) release our fall shirting fabrics and I am so excited about them. Our fall suiting will be awesome as well, but I work with shirting so that is what my mind turns to. Paisleys, and polka dots, and perfect autumn solids, all available under one roof! My favorite fall item isn’t shirting though- it’s our new grey flannel tuxedo. They make me want it to be winter already!

 

We cut out the middle man and make more affordable custom shirts, made to measure trousers, personalized sport coats, and quality ready to wear merchandise. We are looking to release other collaborations in the future, which the customer is really going to like. Our newest partnership is with J Brand denim. We will offer them in addition to our AG denim options.

Recently I was in some dear friends’ wedding and was able to dress the groomsmen, groom, and father of the bride in our tuxedos. They looked stunning to say the least.

      *Copyright Erika Pinkley

So, there you have it boys. (and girls, gotta be PC you know…)

I work for a menswear company that produces garments with some of the top fabric mills and most advanced factories in the world. Pima cotton, Egyptian Cotton, Super 120s wool…the list goes on and on.

Oh. AND I get a discount on everything. Did I mention that?

To the well-dressers, sorry your closet missed out on such a deal and a half.

To the slobs, sorry you missed an opportunity to look this good.

And to the somewhere inbetweens…eh. We’re all past this now, aren’t we?

Hope you enjoyed this tongue-in-cheek (no pun intended…oh wait, that wouldn’t be a pun anymore I guess) post.

Of Rabbits and Rush Hour.

Well. It’s been awhile blogosphere.

For over  a month now, I have been rushing around helping plan parties and showers, and for the most part it all ended last weekend. I now have time to sit and write, craft, and run at my own schedule again.

Don’t get me wrong; weddings are fun and a joyful time. But, in this year alone I have mastered the “three times a bridesmaid, never a bride” art. (And my bank account could use a rest, too!)

Ever since I graduated college, I’ve tried to be more dedicated in my running schedule,as to not lose the distance and time I have accomplished. (which isn’t much) While a gym works great, one of my favorite things to do is run outside (that may change once the summer heat really kicks in. today is the first day of summer, after all).  I have to drive about 30 miles to work, so mornings don’t work that well for me, so I’ve grown to enjoy the coolness (is that possible?) of evening runs.

Running every day around the same time, you grow accustom to the scenery…The usual walkers and runners, people fishing in the pond, cows chewing their cud, and even a frog or two. (I’ve debated if they were my frog prince coming to find me or just some playful amphibians that want to play a real life game of Frogger) Though it’s different every night, it is always the same.

One constant, are the rabbits. My suburban neighborhood is filled with rabbits. There are even baby rabbits in my backyard! I do not consider my self a quick  or threatening runner, yet the rabbits still look at my with their frightful, empty, dead shark eyes, as Tina Fey calls them. When they see me rounding the bend, they either:

a)Start running as soon as I am in sight

or

b)Stay very, very still until I get about 2 feet away and then they take off like they’re competing in the 100 yard dash.

Why do they do that?

I’m not Elmer Fudd, nor am I out to get them.

Wait a second.

Isn’t that what we as humans do? We are placed in unfamiliar territory  or in new circumstances and instead of trusting The One who put us there, we get skiddish.

We run off.

We get nervous that we aren’t actually supposed to be in certain situations, when if we would just be still, we’d realize that it is alright. That it isn’t so scary, or lonely, or hard. That if we are living according to God’s plan, we are right where we are supposed to be. Why would you want to run from that?

“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’ “

Psalm 46:10 a

What Guys need to know about Wedding Etiquette.

While most of my friends, are getting asked the question, I just got wished a happy anniversary by my blog.  No need to fret. It’s a good relationship. I write when I want and even when I’m gone for a month, it still welcomes me back!flower girl

In all seriousness,  weddings are a huge part of my life right now. It’s like I graduated and they just started happening. Only five months after graduating from Baylor I will have been in three weddings,  invited to eight ceremonies, attended ten showers, and been a part of countless engagements and parties. (and this is only the current count!) My mom even told me that I needed to get more magnets for the fridge to hold all the invitations…

Between my wedding duties and working at a mens clothing  company, I have run into multiple wedding feaux pas committed by gentlemen, who I assume didn’t know any better.

Whether you’re in the bridal party, an attendee, or the groom himself, do yourself a favor gents, and make sure you abide by the following:

1)RSVP CARDS

If  the invitation has your name, along  your long term girl friend’s or a “plus one”,  then you’re set to bring your girl. If it is addressed to you solely, then you are the only one invited. Do not, I repeat do not, RSVP for more than yourself. You’d think that this is common knowledge, but it’s not. For example, one of my friends who is getting married, recently had a guy RSVP to bring himself and three friends he wanted the bride and groom to meet. Not. Okay. Ever. Most of the time, people have a limited amount of seating and you cannot bring more than you are allotted. Plus, if you’re  not seriously dating anyone, then why would you want to bring a date? Don’t you know weddings are good places to meet girls? I for one do not bring a date if I don’t have to- weddings are more fun when you don’t have to baby sit someone!

2) Wedding Shirts

I work mainly with J. Hilburn Custom shirting. At least once a week, I receive desperate please from grooms, groomsmen, and wedding guests who must have their shirts in an extremely short  and impossible amount of time. Why must guys wait until the very last minute to order something they have known  months in advance about? More importantly why do they think our custom shirts are made by wizards and could miraculously be produced in less than two weeks, when we advertise three to four weeks.  I’ve even known guys to wait until the last minute to purchase off the rack shirts. It’s insane. Guys, if you can’t remember to get your shirt in time, get your girlfriend or mother to take you. I’m sure they’d be overjoyed to help you!

3) Groom’s Family’s responsibilities

Sometimes due to different cultures and sometimes ignorance, the groom’s family doesn’t know that there are certain things that they traditionally pay for. Here is a list of the main things that the groom’s family traditionally covers:

-rehearsal dinner invitations

-rehearsal dinner

-bride’s bouquet

-female family members’ flowers

-usher/groomsmen flowers

-marriage license and officiant fee

-honeymoon

Obviously this is not an extensive list, and it is certainly not followed 100% of the time.

I have a few bridesmaid-ships under my belt, so I have witnessed these issues first hand. It’s not a lot, but in wedding planning, every little detail counts.so try and be courteous of your bride to be!