Category Archives: General

My Golden Year

It’s my birthday!

29 on the 29th!

It’s my *Golden Year*.


I learned that term from my friend, Ryan. It’s the year that your birth date is also your age. I intend to live it up & make it my best year yet!

Since it is my golden year, & next year I’ll be 30, I thought I’d do a variation on the ’30 before 30′ lists I’ve seen floating around.

Here are 29 things I’d like to accomplish my 29th year:

  1. Read the Bible regularly.
  2. Volunteer.
  3. Lose weight.
  4. Get more serious about fitness.
  5. Make Spanish more of a priority at home.
  6. Throw a fancy dinner party.
  7. Go to a gun range.
  8. Go to local high school football games.
  9. Read more books.
  10. Learn a (simple) new make up look.
  11. Get more serious about my book business.
  12. Paint more.
  13. Build something with my hands.
  14. Donate blood.
  15. Grow my hair long (& healthy) to donate.
  16. Visit a new city in Florida.
  17. Fast.
  18. Pay for someone else’s coffee.
  19. Send a care package to a soldier.
  20. Bake a soufflé.
  21. Be more intentional about making new friends.
  22. Hand make (most) Christmas presents this year.
  23. Pay off debt.
  24. Go on a painting/cooking/activity date with my husband.
  25. Go see more local shows/events.
  26. Go to one of the Orlando theme parks.
  27. Work on knife & butchery skills.
  28. Write more letters to friends.
  29. Grow in my relationship with God.

Happy Birthday to ME!


It’s Not ‘Goodbye’, It’s ‘See You Later’

Last Sunday was bittersweet.

It was Cupcake’s baptism, but it was also the last day we would see her godparents for several months.

Our best friends & our sweet goddaughter have moved to North Carolina.

Hubby & I knew this day would come. We knew that David would be looking for a job out of Florida after he got his PhD. We knew that all this time since his graduation last year was ‘bonus’.

It doesn’t mean we miss them any less!


I’m so glad we are each other’s daughter’s godparents. Now we’re family!

To ease their long drive from South Florida to North Carolina (in two separate cars, I might add), I made them a little going away present.


That way they could stop for coffee & snacks along the way.

Also, who doesn’t love a good pun or two?

I’m so happy for my friends. They are closer to their families & their careers are advancing. It’s almost hard to be sad for me when I’m excited for them!


I know our girls (& future kids!) will still be close. Thankfully they moved somewhere that will be really nice to vacation in!

So it’s not ‘goodbye’, it’s ‘see you later’. We are looking in to plane tickets for next year ūüôā


I already see how much my goddaughter is enjoying the mountain air!

New Adventure – Usborne Books & More!

Last week I made a very exciting decision: I decided to become a book lady.

Book Lady

I’m super excited to kick off my new book business with Usborne Books & More!

I love that Usborne Books & More promotes literacy in fun & innovative ways.

Before they understand

I’m excited to instill a love of reading in my daughter.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t also excited to make a little extra money for our family!

I’d love to share more about Usborne Books with you! Just leave me a comment & I’ll be happy to answer any questions.

If you’re already familiar with Usborne, or are just eager to do some shopping for the kids in your life, check out my site here.




Wine Smoothies

The high temperature in south Florida today was 91 degrees. We just started spring & it already feels like summer! To combat the heat, I whipped up a refreshing treat for me & my husband.


This delicious adult treat is sooooooo easy to make! All you need is frozen fruit, sweet wine, a blender, a couple wine glasses, & some straws!

For our¬†smoothies, I used a bag of ‘tropical’ (strawberry, peach, pineapple, & mango) frozen fruit & white zinfandel. Feel free to try other fruits, such as mixed berries, & other sweet wines, such as Riesling!


We Floridians have to get really creative to beat the heat!

Wine Smoothies

Makes 2 large smoothies

  • 1 lb bag of frozen fruit
  • 1/2 bottle of sweet wine
  1. Add fruit & wine to a blender. Use smoothie setting, or blend to desired consistency.
  2. Serve in a wine glass with a straw & enjoy!


Woohoo! My 100th post!

White Margarita

It’s National Margarita Day!

Last year we celebrated with strawberry margaritas. This year I wanted to share this delicious recipe with you.


My husband found the original recipe here, & changed it just a little bit. One of the commenters nicknamed it the White Margarita, so that’s what we call it. Made with silver tequila & lemon-lime soda (Sprite), it’s a cool white color in the end.

Sprite gives it a bubbly sweetness that makes it a little different that the traditional ‘rita.

¬†My husband loves salt with his margaritas, I prefer them without ūüôā

Salt or no salt, this margarita is deliciously refreshing. You can taste the tequila just enough to know you’re drinking the real deal, but not enough to give you flashbacks of your college¬†days.

Feel free to adjust the amount of soda or lime juice as needed. My husband likes his strong & I like mine sweet, but the below recipe is just right for both of us.

Enjoy National Margarita Day responsibly!

White Margarita

Serves 2

  • 1/2 cup silver tequila
  • 1/2¬†lime, juiced
  • 1/4 cup triple sec
  • 1/4 cup lemon-lime soda such as Sprite
  • salt for rimming glasses (optional)
  • lime wedge, for serving
  • ice¬†
  1. Rim 2 glasses with salt (if desired), & fill with ice.
  2. Pour the tequila, lime juice, triple sec, &¬†soda into a shaker filled with ice. Be sure to¬†hold your hand over over the top of the shaker so that it¬†doesn’t pop off from the carbonation.
  3. Pour into prepared glasses, serve with a lime wedge, & enjoy!
In The New House Designs

today is fat tuesday

My lovely friend Caroline, who constantly points me to Jesus, wonderfully describes my attitude about Lent. She’s taking on prayer, I’m taking on reading (& giving up a few dumb things).

I do wish protestants treated Easter as ‘special’ as we treat Christmas. Without Easter, there is no Christmas.

hands with holes

Sometimes I don’t think about Lent until the day before but fortunately this year I was not taken off guard.  I have been reminded of Lent through friends and articles and even my own body really wanting warmer weather and the good change of spring making everything green and alive.

Lent is not Roman Catholic.  Lent is Christian.  It’s not our role to criticize what a tradition has become but rather to exemplify what it ought to be.  Lent is important.  We are reminded of Christmas coming for weeks on end so when it finally arrives and you get to that candlelight service, your heart is ready to contemplate the divinity becoming a small baby.  Messiah performances focus us on the great tradition of inviting Jesus to join the winter festival.  Easter gets forgotten.  I see Peeps marshmallows in the store but as much as I love Peeps, they…

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Photos For Life

The crowd was smaller this year, but the heart was bigger.


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Before the March & the snow.


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Two of my favorite people in the world, who both inspire me to always be better.

The Students for Life conference got canceled because of the blizzard. Lots of students & groups got stuck in the snow on their way home. It was definitely not a storm to take lightly.


I am so glad that we made the trip & went to the March.


We were able to safely make it to Caroline’s house before the blizzard started.

The blizzard couldn’t stop the pro-life generation!

March For Life 2016

This Floridian is travelling to DC tomorrow night.

Yep, even as Major Winter Storm Jonas approaches, seemingly promising to hit hard on Friday Рthe anniversary of Roe vs. Wade -the day of the march. Even if the forecast was worse, as long as I could physically get my ass to DC I would still go. Hundreds of thousands of people agree with me.

The cause is so worth it.

March For Life 2015

March For Life 2015, Photo by Matt Barrick from the March For Life Facebook page

5 years ago I attended a pro-life group meeting in college. My friend Caroline was very involved with the group & asked me to come. I did it just because she was my friend, not because I felt strongly about the subject, though I’ve always considered myself pro-life.

During that meeting, someone decided to read the first chapter of Abby Johnson’s book unPLANNED. I strongly suggest you click that link & read the first chapter for yourself. I have not yet read the rest of the book, but that first chapter changed my whole life. ¬†I believe God put me in that meeting & laid this cause on my heart.

It was relatively easy to be a pro-life college student. Sure, most people around me were pretty liberal, but I had a great group of friends around me & plenty of outreach opportunities Рsidewalk counseling, tabling demonstrations around campus, bringing in guest speakers, articles in the campus newspaper, etc. I was president of our on-campus club my senior year & attended my first March For Life that year & went to the Students For Life Of America conference & everything. At times these activities were emotionally draining, but I always had a pro-life friend near by for support.

March For Life 2012

March For Life 2012

It is much harder to be a pro-life adult. Sometimes I’m more vocal than others, but these conversations are much more difficult without the catalyst of a campus event. This is one of the reasons that going to the March For Life is so important. It is a sacrifice of time & money. It requires taking time off from work & life & traveling to DC in the winter. Am I going to have fun on this trip? Of course I am, but that doesn’t mean I lose sight of the reason I make such a journey almost every year. I get to spend time in our nation’s capital & reconnect with old friends who live in the area. I get to¬†hear amazing pro-life speakers – from senators to Silent No More. But I think what I enjoy the most is that I get to be a part of something much bigger than myself. And then I get to share about my experience.

March For Life 2013

March For Life 2013

Last year I did not write¬†about the march. I had just recently started blogging & I didn’t want to make this “too political”. Well, this isn’t a political issue, or a religious issue. This is literally a life & death situation. Yes, I believe that God is the author & creator of all life & that He has given me this mission. However, I’ve become increasingly more involved with Secular Pro-Life¬†because ALL life is precious & ALL people should come to that conclusion regardless of their beliefs (or lack thereof). Yes, I lean to the right, but I follow groups like¬†Democrats For Life¬†because it’s really not about politics. Do politics play a role? Absolutely. It is up to our leaders to pass laws to defend life while also providing funding to programs like welfare, medicaid, & DCF. The scenarios that drive women to choose abortions are never easy or black & white, & it is important for the government to be able to help its people.

March For Life 2015_1

March For Life 2015

This year is a little different. This year most¬†of my coworkers know I am going to DC to march for life. This year I am writing about it & will share some photos from the event when I return. This year will be my 4th time at the march; my husband’s 2nd. I am incredibly lucky to¬†have such a supportive partner in life, for the rest of my life, fighting for life with me.

So bring on the snow, Jonas. A little bad weather cannot stop the truth about LIFE from spreading.


If you are interested in seeing what the march is all about from the comfort of your own home, please check out the March For Life website¬†& click “Watch the March For Life Livestream” on Friday, Jan 22.

Happy One Year Blog-Aversary!


What a great year it’s been!

I’ve come a long from my first post¬†last year. For one thing, this year it’s Stanford vs. Iowa at the Rose Bowl. My husband & I have been married for 377 days & are no longer newlyweds. I’m writing this blog from my very own house where I’ve hosted many a gathering – the biggest one being today, actually!

I would say that I accomplished the goal I set out for myself last year: to honor God & love my husband while making cookies & writing about it.

I am no longer new to wife-hood & new to blogging. I’m not a seasoned professional by any means, either. I still think I’m a rookie in a lot of ways, but life is a journey.

Happy Blog-Aversary to me &!

(pictured above is my New Year’s Chocolate Mousse, recipe here!)

Camping In St. Augustine, FL

Last weekend I went camping for the first time ever!

Camping in St. Augustine, FL - Mrs. Dessert Monster

It was my husband’s birthday, so we decided to get away from it all ¬†& go camping in Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine, FL.

The campsites there have water, electricity, & bath houses. We were hardly going to be ‘roughing it’, so I knew I could handle it.

My husband has had many camping experiences throughout his life, so he has tons of knowledge on what to do & what to bring. I looked up camping on Pinterest. So between the two of us we came up with our list of supplies.

He let me plan the food – more on that later!

Camping in St. Augustine, FL - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Holy moly I did not know you had to bring so much stuff! I mean, it all makes sense, I just had no frame of reference – I had never done this!

Thankfully, I have a Jeep ūüôā

Camping in St. Augustine, FL - Mrs. Dessert Monster

I was a little worried when we first got to our campsite. As soon as I opened the car door I got bit by TWO mosquitoes. I am a mosquito magnet РI got that sweet blood (probably from all the desserts).

Once we sprayed ourselves with bug spray & set up the mosquito tent, we were fine.

Camping in St. Augustine, FL - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Camping in St. Augustine, FL - Mrs. Dessert Monster

The mosquito tent took longer than the sleeping tent to put together – but it was SO worth it!

I feel obligated to mention that while St. Augustine is in North Florida, it’s still Florida. Meaning that even though it’s almost November, it’s still decently humid outside & there are still bugs around. Sure, the temperature has dropped from the 90s to the low 80s/high 70s, but the air still has quite a bit of moisture in it. I have been reading all these other blogs about crisp autumn air & leaves changing colors – none of that here! On the plus¬†side, I¬†got to walk around in a tank top in late October (though I did get a little too much sun our¬†last day there & am a bit red as a result).

Our trip wasn’t very long, just¬†Thursday to Saturday. Thursday night we stayed in the park & just enjoyed the great outdoors. Anastasia St. Park is beautiful! We decided to take a leisurely stroll through the nature trail about an hour before sunset. That was probably not the best idea.¬†The mosquitoes I mentioned earlier were swarming us! They didn’t bite because we had on some really good bug spray, but it was bothersome enough to turn our leisurely stroll into a brisk walk. The good thing was we worked up an appetite, so we got to work making dinner once we got back to the campsite. Cooking outside somewhere other than the¬†backyard is fun! We had our dinner, drank some wine, & had marshmallows by the fire.

Camping in St. Augustine, FL - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Since the campsite had electricity, we brought one of those box fans with us. The nights were chilly, but the fan was nice to circulate the air inside the tent.

Friday morning I woke up & realized I had survived my first night sleeping outside! The only momentary panic ensued when my husband went to the bathroom around 7AM¬†& I definitely heard something roaming around outside our tent. I didn’t think it through when I sleepily told him to go ahead without me because I wanted to sleep a little more. I was wide awake after that! I’m sure it was something harmless like a¬†raccoon, or even a squirrel. I just had the ‘I’m sleeping outside in a plastic bag’ jitters.

The bath houses at Anastasia State Park were pretty clean! I thought it was going to be at least a little icky to shower there, but I was wrong. This park was just what this first time camper needed!

Friday after our outdoor breakfast, my husband & I headed out of the park for a day full of fun in St. Augustine. We came back to the campsite after dark, lit a fire & enjoyed our last night outside. After another yummy al fresco breakfast on Saturday, we packed the car up to go home.

There are plenty of things to do & see at Anastasia State Park. My hubby & I didn’t get to all of them! Besides our brisk walk on the nature trail, we also walked along the beach boardwalk & visited the coquina quarry during our stay.

It was a great weekend away! I think my husband made a camping lover out of me & I’m very much looking forward to going again soon!

Stay tuned to find out what else we did in St. Augustine!

In The New House Designs