Fashion Friday: Rock the Romper

Hey friends! It’s Michelle here. Yes that’s right, the long lost prodigal sister has finally returned! Hold you’re enthusiasm folks…I know you missed me so much.

keep calm and eat pizza
This has nothing to do with anything. I just always want pizza.

I thought I’d celebrate my first post on this blog in (ahem) three years, by doing a FASHION POST!! Whoo-hoo! And as you probably noticed in the title – I have christened today Fashion Friday. As you will learn over the course of this blogging adventure, I love fashion. I would not say that I am the most stylish, but I love clothes and colors and patterns and challenging myself to experiment with my style. However, although I do have a few pieces in my closet that I LOVE and would even dare to call them “fashion forward”, my day to day wardrobe can be somewhat basic and tame. Now, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with this – items such as a classic pair of jeans and a cozy tee are absolute staples.

Chill and fabulous at the same time? Yes, please.

However, there are definitely some things that I want to try this summer. Particularly, the infamous romper.

This is kind of cute for summer. Can't decide. I need to stop dressing like it's fall in the summer.
Also chill and fabulous, this time with polka dots.

I don’t know why, but up until recently this piece as seemed really unattainable to me. One of those things where I’m thinking, “That’s cute, but I could never pull it off.” Well that’s baloney. What it all comes down to is attitude. And with the right attitude, you can really rock almost anything.

If ever I wore a romper... I'd want it to look like this! Discover more rompers of 2015 at CUPSHE.com with factory direct price and Free Shipping!
I think I prefer the belted waistline over the elastic. Definitely more flattering.
Sleeve floral romper
FLORAL. That’s all I need to say.
Tres Chic Tribal Romper - THIS ITEM IS FINAL SALE
If you can’t tell by now, I like prints.

I’m a firm believer that you should wear what makes you feel comfortable (having taste is also an important factor, but not the point here). So I’m going to be on the lookout for a cute romper, and as long as I feel comfortable in it, I’m determined to wear it with confidence.

Black Romper
Love the fun accents with this classic black.

Are there any fashion trends you’ve been wanting to try? Am I the only one on a romper kick, or are they so last summer. Let me know what you think. Stay adventurous, friends.

You can find anything on the internet.

Images courtesy of Pinterest.com and Google.com.

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Top 5 Revolutionary Mac ‘N Cheese Recipes

I’m not a cheese fan typically, but a good old-fashioned macaroni and cheese does it for me every time.  My mother makes the most amazing mac and cheese I’ve ever tasted, hands down.  No matter the event or holiday, all of our friends and family clamor for it.  One day soon I’ll post a recipe here for you all to try!

I like to cook a lot, and I often think about having a signature dish like my mother.  In the meantime, I like trying variations on well known comfort foods, like these awesome recipes I found on the most amazing website ever, PINTEREST.  Seriously guys, Pinterest is my favorite.

Here are some recipes that I’d like to try, or have tried, from most classic to the most adventurous (at least on my saved “Dine” board):

5) Skillet Macaroni and Cheese

I think anything made in a skillet is an automatic improvement, and mac ‘n cheese is no exception.  All the edges get extra brown and crunchy and mmmmmm….

When I make this I use croutons for the top instead of breadcrumbs, and sometimes cut up a few hot dogs inside.  Classy?  Yeah, that’s me.  Five out of five cats for being delicioso Here is the recipe.

4) Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Kielbasa and Sausage

Baked macaroni and cheese with kielbasa and sausage

I think the cheapo version of this is to cut up a bunch of hot dogs-similar to the recipe above-but if you put in the effort to cook it with multiple versions of meat–like Kielbasa and spicy Italian sausage–it REALLY takes it to the next level.  Four out of five cats! Check out the full recipe here.

3) Macaroni and Cheese Muffins

Mac and Cheese muffins. Lunch box idea. Look at comments under recipe for variations :)

This is a recipe I have yet to try, but I cannot wait!  Link here.

2) Fried Macaroni and Cheese Bites

This Fried Macaroni and Cheese Bites Recipe is perfect as a party appetizer or a game day snack.

I’ve only ever made the frozen version of these, but let me tell you–they were UH-MAZING.  Especially with a nice cool dish of marinara sauce.  I can’t remember what restaurant I first had them in–it might have been The Cheesecake Factory, but don’t hold me to that.  My eyes were rolling back in my head, so I might’ve missed the name on the menus.  I give this 4 1/2 cats out of five for deliciousness (I take off a half a cat because the water runoff when they defrost might be a little much…it’s hit or miss in that regard, but still totally worth it!)

Here’s a recipe for the real thing.  I would love to try it one day!

1)Macaroni and Cheese Burger

Mac ‘n’ Cheese Burger | The 23 Most Perfect Foods In The Universe

Look at that.  Just look at it.  Gaze upon its glory.  Yes, that is probably hundreds, no, THOUSANDS of calories.  But could they be better spent?

I see this as the macaroni and cheese equivalent of the Krispy Kreme burger they serve at the state fair…sinful, delicious, and your one meal of the day.  I haven’t found a recipe for this yet, but one rainy day when I’m hungry and emotional…consider this my next palate project.

What are your favorite macaroni and cheese recipes?  Are there any twists on classics you consider to be your signature?

Cheesily,

Noelle

In Which Noelle Asks, “Where Are We Going?”

A non Christian coworker today mentioned that he read an article (he’s a news junkie) saying that the number of Christians in America is on the decline. I did a bit of searching and found this NPR article published this morning… “Christians In U.S. On Decline As Number Of ‘Nones’ Grows, Survey Finds.”

The article is pretty short, and mostly stats, but I did make me a bit sad, for two reasons I think. I don’t know if I believe that the actual number of Christians have decreased all that much–I think it’s more that people are no longer self identifying as Christians if they don’t believe. It used to be that if you were raised in a Christian household you were both externally and self-identified as being Christian. Thankfully, that is no longer the case. The idea of a “cultural” Christian is going away. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing; I mean if someone is not behaving or showing the fruit of salvation, I believe it is probably better that they label themselves as a non-Christian. Perhaps that is insensitive to say–I don’t see Christianity as a club that must maintain its exclusivity, but in a world in which we already face persecution and ridicule and accusations of hypocrisy, I feel it can only help us to have those who are not striving to be Christlike abandon the title.

On the other hand, I find it saddening because I feel that popular sentiment now views Christianity as being out of touch, or “uncool”. As many debates rage in our nation, Christianity is now viewed, at its worst, a raging, frothing, hatemongering, pitchfork wielding group of extremists out to wrest civil rights from the cold dead hands of innocent Americans; and, at its best, the out of touch religious equivalent of the slightly drunken and racist uncle at the family picnic, whose hugs from behind should be avoided at all costs, and whose whisky soured offensive jokes should be met with teeth-grinding–to use the buzzword of the times–tolerance.

Conservative Christian values are just not trendy anymore. They are seen as oppressive and/or a damper on one’s moral compass. To be fair, this could probably be attributed to religion as a whole. Religion is seen as an additional authority figure; in a land that got its start from bucking religious authority it perceives as being unfair, it seems that has extended from not only unreasonable authority, but ANY authority. That thought is backed up by the fact that religious affiliation as a whole has decreased since 2007.

What do you think? Do you agree that Americans see Christianity as no longer being trendy, and religion as being oppressive? What explanations do you have for those statistics? In other words, where are we going? Leave a comment and let me know!

Prayerfully,

Noelle

Music Mondays: “Romantic Works”

Hi everyone!

I thought I’d kick off the Music Monday series by reviewing one of my favorite albums…”Romantic Works” by British musician Keaton Henson.

keaton henson

I was a big fan of Keaton’s first two albums (Side rant: Am I the only one who doesn’t like when articles refer to people by their last names only?  I know that’s technically “professional” to do, but whenever I read articles with multiple people, I’m always scrolling back up to see who is who.  For me, the first name is the memorable description, not the last.  I’m alone here?  Okey-dokey.  Moving on.)–“Dear…” and “Birthdays”.  “Romantic Works” is the only one of the three that is instrumental.  If you are the type of person who inexplicably doesn’t enjoy instrumental music, please do not read on; I don’t want to torture you :-).

This cover perfectly sums up the album: sweet, soft, a little nostalgic, and a lot melancholic.
This cover perfectly sums up the album: sweet, soft, a little nostalgic, and a lot melancholic.

Keaton suffers terribly from stage fright, and has been honest about how it’s sometimes difficult to translate all of his emotion into lyrics.  This album represents, as he put it, “the in-between moments when I found it all too much to write a clever rhyme.”  Most writers have experienced that bubbling up of feeling that somehow doesn’t flow immediately into art.  I appreciate Keaton’s soft, delicate, fragile emotive voice, but I also appreciated hearing all the things he could not bring himself to say.

Keaton Henson singer-songwriter and artist

A large number of songs on the album feature cellist Reinoud “Ren” Ford.

Isn't he adorbs! He looks like the quiet guy you'd be paired up with in chemistry class that suddenly comes back for the high school reunion as a millionaire Cello God with miracle musical fingers.
Isn’t he adorbs! He looks like the quiet guy you’d be paired up with in chemistry class that suddenly comes back for the high school reunion as a millionaire Cello God with miracle musical fingers.

I had never heard of him before, but I loved the minimalist melancholic ethereal feel he added.  It almost felt like each song could serve as the backing songs for “Another Earth” trailers.  Haven’t seen that trailer?  It’s awesome.

Here it is.  You’re welcome.

My personal favorites on the album would probably be “Josella” and “Elevator Song“.  Buuuut I also love “Earnestly Yours“. And “Petrichor” is really awesome too.  But if I had to pick a song on this album to be the soundtrack to my life, I’d definitely pick “Josella”.  It makes me wish I was in love so I could slowly and heartrendingly fall out of it to this song.

keaton henson 3

I listen to most of my music on Spotify, but the album is also available for purchase here on Keaton’s website.

Listen to it, and tell me what you think!

Contemplatively,

Noelle