A Day to be Thankful!


I have so much to be thankful for, but I am especially thankful for these two boys.

Wishing you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!

xo The Schue's

Browned Butter + Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies



With Thanksgiving tomorrow and boatloads of holiday parties around the corner, I started testing some new cookies recipes.  As I mentioned on Monday, we always host a cookies and cocktail party in December.  All of our guests always bring new and exciting cookies to share which puts the pressure on us {the hosts!} to get creative each year.  This is like a chocolate chip cookie on crack.  The browned butter gives it a velvety and nutty flavor and the sea salt is a nice compliment to this sweet treat.  These would make a great addition to your dessert table tomorrow...there's still time!

Recipe from Rustic Brooklyn
We cut the recipe in half to make a dozen cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup {1 stick} unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk + half egg whites from that same egg
1 1/8 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 tbsp coarse sea salt for sprinkling 

Method

1. To brown butter, heat 1/2 stick of butter in a pan over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking and swirling the pan constantly until the butter is dark golden brown with brown flecks on the bottom of the pan, and you can smell a nutty aroma. Pour it into a bowl and allow to cool completely.
2. Mix the other half stick of butter with the brown sugar and granulated sugar on medium speed for a few minutes.
3. Add the vanilla to the mixer.
4. Slowly add the brown butter, then mix on medium speed for another 2 minutes.
5. Add the egg and egg yolk and mix.
6. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add the dry mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low until the flour is just incorporated.
7. Add chocolate chips and mix for a few seconds.
8. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, then cover and chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  {I put it in the freezer for 10 minutes}
9. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and place dough 2 inches apart.
10. Sprinkle each ball with some sea salt.
11. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes

Oh and if you happen to be hosting a holiday soiree next month, be sure to enter for a chance to win $100 to Minted for their festive party decor!

xo natasha

Join us for Holiday Cheer in the Blogosphere!


Oh yes!  It's that time of year again...time to join us for our THIRD Holiday Cheer in the Blogosphere link up party!

{special thanks to Brittany for our festive graphic!}

Don't know what the heck I'm talking about?  Well no worries!  I'll break it down for you below.

On December 4th, we'll be showcasing our merry mantels by linking up with Michelle at Ten June and Carmel at Our Fifth House.

Get your holiday craft on with Michaela at Michaela Noelle Designs and Cassie at Hi Sugarplum! on December 10th.

Join us around the Christmas tree on December 12th over at Megan with Honey We're Home and Courtney at A Thoughtful Place.

Last, but not least!  Join me and Heather at The Lovely Cupboard for some festive recipes and cocktails on December 18th!

The link up parties are a great way to show off your holiday decor while also gathering inspiration from other blogs.  Have fun with it and see you all on the 4th!!  Oh and grab a button while you're at it! ;)



xo natasha

PS...wanna win $100 to Minted?  Click here!

A Very Minted Holiday Party + $100 Giveaway!




Every year, we host a holiday party involving cookies and copious amounts of cocktails.  It's a great time to get together with friends and enjoy the holiday spirit.

This year, Minted was generous enough to send along some goodies from their holiday decor line to help me get in the spirit.  Not only is Minted amazing for their holiday cards, but they have really fun and whimsical decor as well.  

Here's a little sneak peek of the fun that I have in store...


I chose the Silver and Gold Party decor for an elegant touch.  I love that it's wintery and not too too holiday'ish.  I can reuse this decor early in 2014 for another winter soiree if I choose!





I love all of the party decor elements from the garland to the table confetti and all of the other special touches.  Our holiday party is sure to be extra fun this year!

Now for the giveaway!!  Minted has generously offered to give away $100 towards their party decor.  All you have to do is enter below for a chance to win!


And before I go, I want the announce the winner of the Rodan + Fields giveaway! 

The winner is #37 Ashely Parsons!


Please email Mel at melissa_larson17 (at) yahoo.com to arrange the details.

Congrats!

xo natasha

Shop My Closet!



I'm selling some items from my closet on Instagram!  Check out the sale here or by going to shopschuelove.  Don't have an IG account?  Simply email me at schuelove at gmail.com or comment below.

I'm selling some things from J.Crew, DV Dolce Vita, Vince, Nordstrom and more!

I'll be adding more dresses, pants and skirts today, so be sure to check it out.

Thanks for your support!

xo natasha

Ethan's Christmas Wish List





Even though this isn't Ethan's first Christmas, I feel like it's 1,000 times more exciting since he's so much more aware and interactive.  He just loves figuring toys out and copying everything we do.  So of course, putting his wish list together for Christmas is super duper fun this time around.

I love the idea of giving fun and functional gifts.  So...with that in mind, here are things that Ethan is wishing for this holiday season!

Snow Boots: These would fall under the category of being highly functional since we get a lot of snow here.  We need to be able to allow Ethan to get out in the snow and go sledding and make angel wings, right?
Noah's Ark: Both a fun and functional toy...I love the idea of Ethan playing with the animals while also being introduced to religion.
Classic Doodler: I think Ethan would have a heyday with this doodler...he'll surely grow with it as well.
Dyson Toy Vacuum: Gosh, need I say more on this topic?  Ethan LOVES vacuuming and he would LOVE this toy.  Oh and did I mention it actually has suction?  Amazing!
Toaster: Another functional item that Ethan is always trying to get his hands on is the toaster, so clearly, he would love this.
Brush Buddies: And Ethan LOOOOOVES to brush his teeth.  I think he would like it even more {if that's possible} if he had this Cow brush buddy!
Where Is Baby's Belly Button Book: Ethan has become really good at pointing to all his body parts on his head, but when it comes to his belly button, he goes a little too south!  We need to get it right and I'm sure this book would help.
Color & Shape Sorter: Back to function, Ethan loves plugging things in and make things fit so I think he would love this toy.
Fox: And clearly, this is the year of the fox.  We need this.

Anything fun we're missing?  Time to get our shop on!!

xo natasha

Pumpkin Spice Banana Bread



Thanksgiving is NEXT week and so now is the time {particularly this coming weekend!} to put your pumpkin purees to work.  A couple weeks ago, I had a leftover can of pumpkin and some ripe bananas so I set out to make a warm fall treat.  I believe the pumpkin made this banana bread extra moist and flavorful.  I topped my slice off with some pumpkin butter from our local pumpkin patch and served with some coffee.  MM MM MM!  Delicious!

Recipe adapted from Glossing Musings

1 extra-ripe banana (the skin should be very spotted brown, and the insides should be fairly mushy)
1/2 can pumpkin puree
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease one small loaf pan with cooking spray. Beat butter, eggs and brown sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add in dry ingredients, bananas and pumpkin pie filling, blending until combined.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is brown and cracked and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool, then slice and serve with pumpkin or apple butter. If you want to store for breakfasts during the week (which come on, of course you do), wrap in plastic wrap, then in tinfoil and store on the counter.


Hope you enjoy!

xo natasha

PS...don't forget to enter my Rodan & Fields eye cream giveaway here...and my burlap print giveaway here!

A Time for Giving...Yes! Another Giveaway!


Hold onto your mittens people, I have ANOTHER awesome giveaway to share with you!  {If you missed it yesterday, click here!}  This time I'm partnering with my girl Megan, over at Hello Newlywed Life, who just opened her own Etsy shop, Dolce Ave!


Megan has a ton of adorable burlap inspired prints {and yes, it's printed on real burlap!} for the holidays and beyond.  I just ordered the Merry & Bright {pictured above} and can't wait to style my mantel with it!

She is kicking things off right by giving away a holiday print to one of you!  You must check out her Thanksgiving selection as well.  Be sure to enter below and good luck!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

November is for Giving {A Giveaway That Is!}

Hi Friends and Happy Monday!

Since it's November...and ThanksGIVING is right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to feature a couple giveaways!  First up is Mel...an adorable mama to three cuter than cute kiddos {seriously, check out her blog}.  Please give her a warm welcome!  :)


Hi! My name is Mel & I blog at The Larson Lingo.
I am so excited about doing a giveaway on Natasha's blog!
She lives in one of my favorite places in the world, Lake Tahoe.
And, her Ethan and my Luke are just a month apart.
A little bit about me...I'm a California girl, born & raised!
I love Jesus, wine, coffee, photography & throwing parties.
Target is my Happy Place.
I am a part time 7th grade math teacher and have been teaching for 10 years.
I just recently became an Independant Consultant for Rodan + Fields.
I have been married to Kevin for 11 years and we have 3 sweet kids.
 Kate is almost 7, Claire is 5 and our baby boy Luke is 15 months old.

{This was our family photo last Fall}

Growing up in California, I was in the sun. A lot.
Especially playing soccer my entire childhood. Most of the time I wore sunscreen, but sometimes I didn't. When I got to college and played soccer at University of Colorado, we had soccer practice everyday from 1-4. Peak sun hours. Sometimes I wore sunscreen, sometimes I didn't.
My skin took a beating, for sure.
 Fast forward to when I turned 30 a few years ago.
My body wasn't feeling older, but my skin was.
I had to get some pre-cancerous skin cancer spots removed from my face.
I should have taken better care of my skin when I was younger...
All those times without sunscreen were taking it's toll on my skin.

I never really had a "good" skin care routine.
In high school/college/20's I would just use cheap face wash/moisturizer.
Once I hit 30, I realized I needed to take better care of my skin.
Sun damage & fine lines were starting to rear their ugly heads.
I tried out several products, but it wasn't until last year that I found a product I was happy with.
It was 14 months ago when I started Rodan + Fields.
I had just given birth to Luke and I decided that my skin was worth it...it was the skin I was going to have the rest of my life and I better start taking care of it. Plus, I had the "mask of pregnancy" with him. It needed to go!
I started using the Redefine products and couldn't believe how much better my skin looked and felt after just 1 month. I continued to use Redefine twice a day for a year.
This past August, after I stopped nursing Luke, I started using Reverse in the morning and Redefine at night.
I am so glad I started using Rodan + Fields. I can't say enough about their products.
My skin has never felt or looked better! 

Rodan and Fields is a skin care line from the doctors who created ProActiv.  What they did for the acne market with ProActiv, they are doing again with the Anti-Aging market.  Along with an Anti-Aging line they also have products for erasing sun damage and dark spots, soothing sensitive skin, as well as products for acne.

Rodan & Fields has 4 product lines:
For wrinkles, pores and loss of firmness.
(Click HERE to read more about the Redefine products)
 
For brown spots, dullness and sun damaged skin.
(Click HERE to read more about the Reverse products)

For sensitive, irritated skin and facial redness.
(Click HERE to read more about the Soothe products) 

For acne and post-acne marks.
(Click HERE to read more about the Unblemish  products)

Want to know which regimen is best for you?
Take this quick 30 second questionnaire HERE!

We offer these four different product lines with a 60 day empty bottle money back guarantee.
You can literally return the EMPTY bottles after 60 days for a full refund if you don't like the products.  Most companies don't offer that.  But, R + F does!

Check out Before & After photos from this video:
Because I love Rodan + Fields so much, I want to give away one of my favorite products, 
 This eye cream combines powerful peptides to minimize the appearance of crow’s-feet, helps reduce the appearance of both puffiness and dark under eye circles while special optical diffusers noticeably brighten the eye area. Ophthalmologist tested, this formula is ideal for maintaining the delicate skin around the eyes.


Use the Rafflecopter below to Enter the Giveaway!

I love the products so much, I decided to become an independent consultant for them. 
What I love about being a R + F consultant is that I believe in the products, there are NO parties, NO stocking inventory or delivery.  Everything is ordered from the your website! 
And, it is a great way to earn extra money each month, something you can do while your kids nap or at night! It doesn't take away from family time.
If you are interested in becoming a consultant & joining my team, send me an email:
melissa_larson17{at}yahoo.com

There are some great holiday specials going on right now and it's a good time to take advantage of them, especially if you become a PC Perks member (Preferred Customer)
Want to buy Rodan + Fields products?
You can do that  HERE.

Have Questions about any of the products? 
                                             Send me an email, I'd be happy to answer them!

Mama + Mini Plaid for Fall

Mama + Mini Plaid

Mama: Sweater // Pants // Glittens // Necklace // Heels
Mini: Shirt // Trapper Hat // Pants // Shoes // Scarf

As the temps have cooled off, the days have gotten shorter and the holidays peek around the corner...I've found myself drawn to rich patterns, like plaids and fun textures like this marled effect.  I was delighted to see that Gap makes these beyond adorable plaid pants for baby and of course, I would love to match his style.  I think this "mama" outfit would be great for Thanksgiving or your holiday card, don't you?

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  I'm off to San Francisco to celebrate one of my best friend's 30th birthday!

xo natasha

Linked to: Friday Fancies

11 Years ago...


I met this guy!

And it's been pretty great every since.

I know our "dating anniversary" doesn't really count now that we're married, but it's pretty cool to think about all that we've been through together and the amazing life we still have ahead.

And really...any reason to bust out the old photos seems like a good one to me.  We're just babies here!

Happy Throwback Thursday!

xo natasha

Homemade Acai Bowl



I wasn't planning on posting a recipe for my homemade acai bowl I made over the weekend, but several of you asked so nicely that I wanted to deliver.  The truth is, I just threw all of the ingredients into a food processor and wished for the best...no real measurements or exact science.  Luckily for you...I've made it a couple times now, so I think I can give you at least an "idea" of what to include.  

This really is SO easy and you can mix and match ingredients that you have in your kitchen or that you prefer.  I think the secret ingredient here is peanut butter...it makes the bowl more creamy and adds a nice boost of protein too, not to mention yummy taste!

So bare with me as I suggest the following measurements and ingredients:

5-6 frozen strawberries
1 banana
1 frozen acai packet {I used this brand from my local supermarket}
1 large scoop peanut butter {or almond butter}
1/2 cup vanilla cashew milk {give or take based on how creamy you want it}

Blend all ingredients together until thick and creamy.

Top with sliced banana, gluten free granola, and shredded coconut.

So there you have it!  Let me know if you try it and what you think!

xo natasha

Crazy for Credenzas


As some of you may recall, we're evolving our living room...not only for practical reasons {hello babyhood!} but also because some elements are just plain ugly.

Case in point...


This monstrosity of a media center.  

Scary right?  I mean, there is just nothing appealing about it!  Not to mention, it's completely unsafe for our climbing maniac of a toddler.

We're fortunate enough to be inheriting a new tv from our inlaws, which is finally forcing allowing us to find a pretty replacement.  We plan to move the electronics to an adjacent room, which allows us to have more of a dresser...or credenza for a media console.

I've always been drawn to mid century pieces and now I'm dreaming of finding the perfect one...

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There's just something so perfectly balanced about these pieces...they're classic yet retro and masculine yet fashion forward.  I love them!  I actually had my heart set on this version from West Elm, but alas, it's ONE inch too wide.  Le sigh...

If you know of a furniture store worth checking out {that ships!} let me know in the comments below!

xo natasha

Five Things: Our Weekend


Ate This:


I made my first homemade acai bowl this weekend...it included acai, frozen strawberries, banana, almond butter, and vanilla cashew milk...topped with banana, gluten free granola and coconut.  SO delicious!

Did This:


I completed my first week of bootcamp this weekend and thankfully got to enjoy it outdoors thanks to our gorgeous Tahoe weather!  :)

Watched This:


Such a classic movie...I haven't watched A League of Their Own in SO long but I loved every minute of it this past weekend.

Ordered This:


I took advantage of the Gap Friends & Family sale this weekend and ordered the above dress as well as these flannel-lined skim khakis for baby.  And on a random note, I also ordered this trash can for the kitchen...Ethan has suddenly become interested in all contents related to the wastebasket, so it was time to make the switch!

Enjoyed This:

video

Melt my heart...Ethan learned how to blow kisses on demand.  He even makes the kiss noise.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

xo natasha

The Kelly Kapowski Dress is Back in Style!


I don't know about you girls, but if you grew up anywhere near the 90's, then it's likely you had a major lady crush on Kelly Kapowski from Saved by the Bell.  I mean, what's not to love?  She was pretty, stylish, nice and had a cute boyfriend!  If you didn't love her, you definitely loved to hate her!  ;)


I noticed in my last stroll through Nordstrom that the KK {short for Kelly Kapowski} dress was back in a big way!  She had a "classic" style which would often include a form fitting, short dress.  They're everywhere!


I can't even talk about Lisa Turtle's jorts right now...


 Don't believe me?  Check out the below?


So what do you say?  Would you rock the KK dress?  I think a pair of spanx and a boost of confidence would make it work for me!

And what say you about the killer lacy jorts or awesome pleated man pants?  Oy!!

Happy Friday!

xo natasha 

Mealtime is Quality Time + $100 Giveaway!


Mealtime is an important occasion at the end of a long day, to gather together and decompress, share stories and, most of all, spend quality time together.  But if you're anything like us...two full-time working parents, with a young toddler, two pets and a household to run...you know that mealtime is not only precious but also fleeting.  At the end of our day, we're exhausted, so to cook a full meal is not always realistic.  What's more likely is that we rush home and squeeze in as much time with Ethan between dinner, bath and play before it's time for bedtime.  And oftentimes, when we're cooking, that cuts into time we could be spending with Ethan.

Anyone else with me?!

And of course, you see me post recipes here, which are usually thanks to my dear husband.  He's the cook of the family...I just document and take credit for it!  ;)  But in all seriousness, we don't cook like that every night.  It's usually something easy and healthy and quick!

Enter Bertolli.

Bertolli recently introduced new recipes to its frozen line of skillet meals, perfect for two (or three in our case!) that literally come together in under ten minutes.  It's so easy and takes away all the time that goes into prep and cooking.

Intrigued, we chose to try the Chicken Parmigiana & Penne.


Looks tasty!


The meal comes with penne pasta, parmigiana chicken, tomatoes, and chunks of mozzarella.


And in less than ten minutes... it looks like this!


There was plenty of food for Ryan and me...and even enough for this little guy...


Ethan gobbled up the pasta and chicken...it was a total hit!

What's more important is that we all got to have quality time together the evening we made this meal.  Not only during mealtime, but also for playtime, bath time, story time and bedtime.  It really opened up our evening for quality family time.

I know frozen meals aren't for everyone, at least not all the time.  But for us, it was a great compromise.  The pasta tasted great {even Ryan, the resident chef, gobbled it right up and couldn't stop talking about how good it was.  That's a score in my book!}, it was quick and easy, and it fed everyone for dinner.  It was a great win-win for us.

In celebration, Bertolli and BlogHer is offering one reader a $100 gift card.  For a chance to win, all you have to do is tell me...

Which Bertolli meal is your favorite or which would you most like to try?

Be sure to check out their website for their meal selections or Facebook for updated info.

xo natasha

This is a sponsored post, but as always, all opinions expressed are my own.  And in this case, who doesn't love great Italian food?!  ;)

Sweepstakes Rules: 
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 11/7/2013-12/4/2013.
Be sure to visit the Bertolli brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

Our New Ottoman!


Remember my previous living room?


We had a pretty massive coffee table {read: hard baby bumper} in the middle of our sectional.  It really wasn't functional as it was so large that it was hard to maneuver around...and then of course, there was the baby who hit that corner more times than I care to admit to!

As you can tell above, I'm attracted to neutrals, so I was in a real predicament when it came to figuring out what color to choose for the ottoman:


Well, I'm happy to reveal that I finally made a decision and pulled the trigger when West Elm was having a recent sale!

And we went with...


None of the above!!  Surprise!  But West Elm recently introduced the upholstered tufted ottoman in one, ready to order color and that made my decision super easy!


The color is actually called "pine" but it's a dark teal in person and blends in perfectly with my existing decor and is dark enough to hide any stains or smudges from a 16 month old toddler!  ;)


I tried to get a couple different angles so you can see the rich color...keep in mind these are taken with my iPhone {bad blogger!} and later in the day.  The square shape allows for a lot more space and actually fits into the shape of our sectional well.  It's well made and was super easy to put together.


And keeping it real...you can see our dining room play room in the background!


So what do you think?!  Did we make the right decision?  

Next on the list is to turn the wall behind the couch into a gallery wall and we're even considering painting the wall an accent color.  Any suggestions on color?

xo natasha

PS...It looks like the ottoman is back on sale...definitely worth considering if you're looking for a great ottoman.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup



In the mood for something warm and toasty?  Well look no further...this roasted butternut squash soup is flavorful, creamy and healthy too!  The perfect comfort food for a cool fall day.

Ingredients:

1 large butternut squash, peeled and seeds removed, roughly chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cups no sodium added chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1 tsp grated nutmeg
sea salt and pepper to taste
pumpkin seeds for garnish

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
On a baking tray lined with foil, toss the butternut squash and onions with olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper.  Spread the veggies evenly, making sure they are in an even layer. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until veggies are tender and golden brown. 
Transfer the roasted squash and onions to a large pot; add the chicken stock and nutmeg. Simmer for 25-30 minutes.
Purée the soup using an immersion blender or working in batches with a blender or food processor until you have a silk smooth soup. Careful it is pipping hot! Adjust seasonings to taste.
To serve, ladle into bowls and top with 1-2 tbsp pumpkin seeds.

Recipe adapted from edible sound bites.

Enjoy!

xo natasha

Links to Love



If you follow me on Instagram {schuelove} then you likely saw this gem of a photo above!

I'm about to embark on a 5 week virtual bootcamp thanks to Tamara at The Workout Mama!  Can't wait to share my experience with you all!

This baby's reaction may be the sweetest thing...ever!

Have you seen this latest Target collaboration?  Scooping up a 2014 planner stat!

Just picked up this dress over the weekend...can't wait to wear it for a special occasion!

We finished Orange is the New Black and I am officially obsessed.  Love these 23 surprising facts about the show.

xo natasha