Glamping Weekend with Life Intents at Eola Hills

I am sure many of you recall me sharing about how I won a night stay with Life Intents at Eola Hills Legacy Vineyard this summer. They call it glamping so naturally I had to take my best gal pal Desiree (& Hazel) for a fun girls weekend. It truly was glamping, blow up air mattress, sheets, pillow, night stands, lanterns, rugs, blankets & a welcome mat!

Upon arriving, (funny story about how close it is to my house in a minute) we were greeted by the tasting room staff and given a complementary glass of wine. From there we met Katie from Eola Hills & the Life Intents owners who escorted us to our parking spot. They then helped us load our embarrassingly large amount of stuff onto their golf cart to drive us to our tent.

So the funny thing about where we were staying, it was about 5 miles down the road from our house, ha! The Life Intents couple asked us where we were from and I giggled as I told them just down the road. Once our stuff was unloaded they handed us our concert tickets and wished us a fun afternoon & evening. The reason we had so much stuff for just one night, well partly because I had a baby with me and babies require a lot of stuff, but mostly because Desiree and I had a fun styled shoot planned!

The shoot was complete with a charcuterie board, popcorn & champagne. It was seriously so much fun! We were racing the clock to get our photos done before it was time to head to the concert. They do concerts every Friday night throughout the summer down by their pond. Their legacy estate is super impressive, I had no idea and I drive by it practically every day. If you are local you should follow @eolahills on Instagram so you can be in the loop about their concerts. (You should also follow @life_intents while you’re at it!)

Once we wrapped up shooting we grabbed our tickets and made our way down to the concert. It was quite the party! There were food trucks and everything. Life Intents also had a special VIP tent set up by the pond for us to enjoy while we listened to the concert. We were being spoiled for sure!

I am so fortunate to have been selected to win this ultimate glamping girl’s weekend and a huge thanks to Desiree (@wildhoneyvisuals) for coming with me and taking the best pictures ❤

Let’s do it again this summer, kay? 😉

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Chai Tea French Macarons with Vanilla Nutmeg Buttercream Frosting

Who else loves chai tea?? It has been one of my favorite drinks for years now. I will always choose chai over coffee, hands down. I also have fallen in love with French macarons so I decided to try and combine the two! These are seriously delicious and a perfect cookie for the holiday season.

Prep Time: 1 hour ; Cook Time: 13-15 minutes ; Yield: 12-16 macarons

What you need::

•Piping bag

•½ inch round tip

•French macaron piping template (optional)

•Parchment paper

Macaron Shells:

•¾ cup almond flour

•1 cup powdered sugar

•2 large egg whites

•¼ cup granulated sugar

•¼ teaspoon vanilla

•¼ teaspoon nutmeg

•Cinnamon for dusting

Vanilla Nutmeg Buttercream Frosting:

•1/3 cup butter, softened

•1 tablespoon strong brew black tea

•1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

•¼ teaspoon nutmeg

For the Macaron Shells:

1.     Combine almond flour and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk together. To be sure all clumps are out you can pass the mixture through a flour sifter. Add in nutmeg and whisk.

2.     In a large mixing bowl whip egg whites using a hand mixer until soft peaks form (about 3 minutes) Add in the granulated sugar gradually and beat an additional 2-3 minutes until stiff peaks form. Add in vanilla and beat until combined.

3.     Fold the dry ingredients into the egg white mixture and combine until there are no visible dry ingredients. You do not want to over fold but you want the batter to have a slightly runny consistency. When you pipe the macarons out you will want the batter to spread out smoothly.

4.     Line 2 baking sheets with your macaron template & parchment paper.

5.     Fill your pastry bag with batter (fitted with your ½ inch tip!) and pipe the batter into your template circles. *You can totally make these without a template but they may not be very uniform.

6.     Remove templates from underneath parchment paper and tap your baking sheet firmly against the counter to release any extra air bubbles.

7.     Sprinkle cinnamon over your macarons immediately after piping.

8.     Leave the macarons at room temperature for at least 30 minutes until they form a hard top and are not tacky to the touch.

9.     Preheat oven to 300 F, bake for 13-15 minutes, rotate halfway through, and continue baking until the cookies have risen but remove before starting to turn brown on the edges.

10. Let cool completely on the cookie sheet before removing. They should be able to pop off of your parchment paper when you try to lift them.

For the Vanilla Nutmeg Buttercream Frosting

1.     Cream your butter in a stand mixer until smooth.

2.     Brew a cup of strong black tea.

3.     Add powdered sugar, black tea & nutmeg and mix until light and fluffy.

Assembling the Macarons:

1.     Place your butter cream frosting into a piping bag with your ½ inch round piping tip.

2.     Pipe a generous swirl onto one shell and then sandwich it together with another cookie.

3.     Enjoy!

These little cookies take lots of practice and patience but you seriously will never go wrong on taste. I mean who doesn’t love the taste of sugar, butter and vanilla?!

Fall Family Photos

It should come as no surprise that we had our family pictures done again (my mom has made comments about how often we have our pictures taken 😅🤷🏼‍♀️)…and you can probably guess who took them 😍 That’s right, my bestie @wildhoneyvisuals

We did them on our property and then just down the road at a hazelnut orchard to give us two different looks super quick and easy.

For our first look we went with a very Christmas-y feel, reds & greens. We set up some stumps, brought some popcorn, mugs & a blanket to sit on to really give it a fall feel. Desiree taught me this trick but popcorn at photoshoots is so much fun, especially with kids!

The pictures from the hazelnut orchard turned out SO GOOD! I just love the lighting and the colors together 😍

Like I mentioned above, we get our pictures done every year in the fall (like many families) for our Christmas card. This year I found a company called Pinhole Press and they are so amazing! They do all sorts of things; photo books, magnets, calendars, puzzles AND they do Christmas cards. You guys, the cardstock that the cards are printed on is super thick and such good quality. I highly recommend them for your photo gifts!

**PS- use code MADISON25 when you shop! http://www.pinholepress.com

I am just so excited for the holidays this year! It is Hazel’s first which makes it extra special and fun.

^We had to…Hazel(nuts) on the ground 😂

Christmas Camping Styled Shoot with Harlow + Grace

This past weekend I got together with Harlow & Grace and helped with the cutest little set up for her Christmas bow launch. It was beyond adorable. Airstream, flannel blankets, Christmas cookies, candy canes, hot cocoa 😍

My parents own a vintage Airstream and they let us drive it down to Toland’s Tree Farm for the photoshoot. We got it set up out in the Christmas trees and then decorated it with lights and a wreath.

The kids all did so well, you know, for having 8 kids 3 and under 😅 They ate cookies, ran through the tree farm, decorated trees, laughed, cried and everything in between.

My mom (@simplycharmingbyjulie) makes frosted cookies that are so perfect. All of the kids thoroughly enjoyed them but Hazel might have most of all 🤣

It turned out so cute and we couldn’t have pulled it off without help from our husbands, my mom & H+G for capturing it all so perfectly. Bring on the holiday season!

Photos & Bows: @shopharlowandgrace

Location: Toland Tree Farm, Albany, OR

Cookies: @simplycharmingbyjulie

Dolls: @handmadebysarahdipity

Mocassins: @wildblackberrymocs

Styling: @hoecker.happenings

Boss Babe Styled Shoot

What happens when creatives get together…magic! Pure magic!

Desiree (@wildhoneyvisuals) and I had an idea a few months back to do a fun giveaway, she was giving away a photo session and I was giving away my styling abilities/the location of the shoot. Well things started to evolve and we asked Grace (@appliedbygrace) & Jaycie (@jc_hairologist) to join in. Grace is your makeup girl, she will make you look flawless and feel so confident. Jaycie, she is loads of fun and she has mad hair skills.

We wanted the shoot to be fun and special for everyone involved so we had wine, champagne, popcorn & a charcuterie board for everyone to enjoy as we got the shoot set up.

The morning of the shoot Desiree and I went to the market to pick up the fresh local berries and the flowers for the centerpiece…the flowers did not disappoint!

After the model was ready that is when the real magic was created. Just check out how gorgeous this shoot turned out!

Cheers to all of you boss babes out there! If you are interested in collabs here are the ladies involved and their Instagram handles below:

Desiree – Photography @wildhoneyvisuals

Grace – Makeup Artist @appliedbygrace

Jaycie – Hair Stylist @jc_hairologist

Maddi – Design/Styling @hoecker.happenings

Harlow + Grace Styled Shoot

I had the opportunity to help with a styled shoot for my favorite little bow shop Harlow + Grace. I love a good styled shoot so I set up a little fall themed space for her to use and my kiddos (& I!) were models 🙂

Our oldest kiddos, Hudson & Oaklee, are close to the same age and our baby girls, Hazel & Harlow, are a week apart!

I can’t handle the matching mom hair tie with her little bow 😍

If you are looking for some cute bows & bow ties then go check her out on Insta @harlowandgraceshop

Model outfit breakdown:

Hazel:

Bow – @harlowandgraceshop

Onesie – @dreamstateshop

Bloomers – @knottedfern

Tights – @thelittlepair

Shoes – @amazon

Bib – @posieandplay

Hudson:

Bow tie – @harlowandgraceshop

Shirt – @oshkoshkids

Pants & Shoes – @oldnavy

Harlow:

Bow – @harlowandgraceshop

Onesie – @bravelittleones

Jean Jacket – @wrangler

Bloomers – @knottedfern

Socks – @thelittlepair

Oaklee:

Bows – @harlowandgraceshop

Dress – @knottedfern

Socks – @jamiekaystore

Shoes – @oldnavy

Even When it Doesn’t Make Sense…God is Still Good

It is crazy to look back on a year ago and realize all that has happened.

For those of you who don’t know we experienced a miscarriage May of ’17 and this is the post I shared on social media around the 4th of July:

Guys, life can hand you some tough crud sometimes.

Many of you have reached out to me over the past couple of months to see how we are doing since some of my posts hinted that things were kind of sucking. Well we are doing better and I am finally ready to share…my prayer is that I can help someone else by reading my words & hearing our story.

Let’s jump back about 8 months ago when my husband and I decided that we were ready to start trying for another baby. We didn’t want to start trying too soon since it would probably happen right away and we wanted to be sure we were ready. Well it didn’t happen fast this time. With each passing month my desire to be pregnant again started to consume my thoughts. Another month passed and it still didn’t happen. What is different this time? Why is it taking so long? It doesn’t help that our son had just turned 2 during all of this so the comments about when we would be having another baby just started rolling in daily.

Now fast forward 6 months…a few appointments & lots of questions later. It was the day before Easter & I thought I could be pregnant but didn’t want to get my hopes up. Dan had taken Hudson with him that morning so I was home alone and decided to take a test, this time it was positive! I cried. I smiled. I told Dan. He asked if I was serious. I laughed. I cried again.

All was right in our little world at last. We told Hudson about the little baby growing in mamas tummy. He prayed for baby every night. We started talking about the nursery, if we thought it would be a boy or a girl this time. I ordered a big brother shirt as we prepared to share the good news. I was on cloud nine.

Then at 7 weeks 3 days things took a turn and our world got flipped upside down. The week before Mother’s Day suddenly became filled with blood draws, doctors appointments, ultrasounds, phone calls, more blood draws. It was an emotional roller coaster. I prayed a lot and I cried a lot.

At our first ultrasound we got to see the heartbeat which I will forever be grateful for but we found out that it was beating at a super low rate. We also found out that I was measuring a week behind schedule. Nothing definitive yet, we were told to come back in for more tests in 2 days. We waited and prayed that things would turn around for this little life. Well 3 days before Mother’s Day we got the phone call that confirmed our biggest fear.

For those of you who have experienced a miscarriage you know what comes next. For those of you who haven’t, it is hard. Still lots of waiting, lots of unknown, lots of pain, lots of changes. The past two months have been the most challenging thing I have walked through in my 27 years of life. My faith has been tested for sure but I choose to remain faithful and trust in the One who gives life and loves me best.

I realized I said “I” a lot throughout this but there is no way I could have walked through this without my amazing, supportive husband. He didn’t miss a single appointment, he took the Friday off after we got the news and the 3 of us went to the beach for the weekend. No questions, he just made it all happen. He has been my rock and just the best. We also are so thankful to all of those who reached out and came to our rescue in so many ways. Family, friends, church family. For those who cooked us a meal and hung out with us, had us over for dinner and prayed for us. Our community is so amazing and we love you guys. My prayer is that these words are helpful to those who are walking through something similar…you are not alone. If you are the praying type please pray for us as we continue to walk through this journey

What I didn’t know is that I was already pregnant again when I shared this heartache. I would find out August of ’17 that we were expecting again and be in complete disbelief…just three months after our greatest loss. How amazing our God is. He is in all the the details.

If you have been following me then you know that our little miss was born in April and just the most perfect little red headed thing.

I realize not everyone’s story will have such a wonderful outcome…I pray that you can still lean in and trust the One who loves you best.

*If you have experienced a loss and want to share, I find it incredibly helpful to talk about it. It made me realize that I was not alone…don’t walk this alone friend ❤

Getting Different Looks For A Mini Session

If you don’t already know I love having photos done with my bestie Desiree, owner of Wild Honey Visuals. We got together the other day to create a mini session showing how to get different looks with just a few accessories. I brought a hat, a cardigan and a basket to give us three different looks super quick and easy.

Here is look number one…the basket.

Here is look number two…add the hat

And here is look number three…add the cardigan.

Easy peasy.

I also brought along my Thieves Fruit & Veggie Spray so I would have something to do with my hands for detail shots. It was super cool that I was able to get a few shots that I can also use for my business all in our 30 minute mini shoot.

So if you have a mini session coming up I hope this was helpful…or if you are thinking that you need one I happen to know someone 😉

Oily Pregnancy: My Must Have List

I have had a few people ask me if I would share what all I used during pregnancy, labor & postpartum and there is a lot to talk about so I figured I would do another blog post all about it 😊

If you know me then you know I have been trying to transition to healthier options of caring for myself and my family for a couple years now. We love Young Living and all of the oils & products they offer because they are so amazing for our bodies!

I will go through and break down what I used for each stage of growing and getting sweet Hazel into the world.

***back story for those who don’t know. I experienced a miscarriage in May of 2017 which was so incredibly hard and my heart goes out to any of you reading this who have had to walk that road.

Pregnancy

In May of 2017 I started using a product called Progessence Plus to help my body get back on track after having walked through a miscarriage and I found out I was pregnant again in July, only 2 months later! Pro+ basically gets your body and hormones all functioning how they are meant to by using a form of natural progesterone found in wild yams mixed with essential oils. You also need a healthy level of progesterone to maintain a pregnancy so it is just awesome for women’s bodies, pregnant or not, you should be using this product to keep you balanced.

I started taking prenatal vitamins before I got pregnant and of course continued to take them my entire pregnancy. I had read about folic acid vs folate and I decided I wanted to find a vitamin with folate instead of folic acid. I won’t go into lots of detail on the difference, you should go google it for yourself. I ended up taking SmartyPants Prenatal gummies, I love them!

None of us get enough greens in our diet so I take Young Living’s Multigreen capsules to make sure I get enough greens in my body.

NingXia Red. This stuff is seriously amazing. It is the highest antioxidant drink on the market, it is made from Wolfberries and also includes plum, aronia, cherry, blueberry and pomegranate juices and extracts. In addition to these antioxidant ingredients, NingXia Red includes pure vanilla extract, Lemon, Orange, Yuzu, and Tangerine essential oils. I took this most days (if I remembered – pregnancy brain). You can get them in 2oz packets which is my favorite, I keep some in my purse & diaper bag so I always have some on me.

This may be TMI but here we go. In the 3rd trimester I used a Young Living product called Claraderm. So Claraderm is known to help prep things “down there” for birth if you catch my drift #teamnotear. I sprayed it on my perineum every day and I can proudly say that I had less than a 1st degree tear. With Hudson, my first born, I had a 3rd degree tear and I can tell you right now that recovery this time has been SO much better. Hazel was even a bigger baby and she came super fast so I give lots of credit to Claraderm for that!

The last week of my pregnancy I started taking evening primrose oil capsules. Not sure if they did much but again, my delivery was so quick and relatively easy (see that story here) that I am giving lots of credit to all of the products I used.

Red raspberry leaf tea. I drank this all of the 3rd trimester. I am a tea person so I really enjoyed drinking tea already, I would have 2-3 cups a day towards the end.

Labor & Delivery

I brought my diffuser and a couple of oils with me to the hospital, Frankincense & StressAway. Once we were admitted I got my hubby to get the diffuser set up and started diffusing Frankincense while I labored in the tub.

In my mind I was planning to rub some StressAway on my chest once I got out of the tub but things progressed so quickly I didn’t think about it. Hind sight I should have grabbed that instead of asking for an epidural but oh well!

I brought NingXia Red & NingXia Zyng, Young Living’s carbonated drink, to the hospital as well. Dan and I enjoyed those once we were settled into our room on the mom & baby floor.

Baby Hazel

I brought Young Living’s baby shampoo (the hospital will use Johnson & Johnson and I say heck no to that junk!) We ended up opting out of a bath at the hospital all together but for her first bath at home that is what I used, it is the best! Everyone comments on how amazing Hazel’s skin is for a newborn and I have to give credit to the baby wash. No harsh chemicals have been used on my girl and that makes me a happy mama.

I also brought a pack of the Seedlings baby wipes, for me & for Hazel. They are great for washing your face & as makeup remover wipes.

Other Goodies

Other items I had in my bag:

+Bralette & robe

+Swaddle & bows

+Phone charger

+Sweatpants, nursing tank, hoodie

+Flip-flops & socks

+Hair goes & bobby pins

+Thieves Hand Purifier

+Lavender lip balm

+Thieves toothpaste (actually I had the whole Young Living travel kit!)

+Savvy Minerals Makeup

Young Living released a whole line of toxin free makeup a year ago and it is the best makeup I have ever used, hands down. I also love that when I snuggle my babies I am not exposing them to any harsh chemicals. I can smooch them all day long with no worries.

I think that about does it. I’m sure there are a few things I forgot…I am running on little sleep these days after all.

I hope you found this helpful! ❤

Hazel Anne

We welcomed our sweet little daughter, Hazel, on Tuesday, April 24th and we are so in love!

The story:

Things all started around 11pm on Monday the 23rd. My sister had come up earlier that day and was going to stay the night so she could watch Hudson for me while I went to my midwife appointment on Tuesday afternoon. Well we all ate dinner and hung out for a little bit and then everyone decided we should get ready to head to bed. I wanted to take a bath before I got in bed to help relax me (I had been feeling like something could be starting but didn’t want to get everyone’s hopes up just yet) I took my bath and then got ready for bed. Dan was already falling asleep when I came into our room so we said goodnight and I climbed into bed….he started snoring & I started having what I was sure were mild contractions.

Fast forward to 1am, I had been trying to sleep but the contractions were uncomfortable enough and close enough that there was no sleep happening for me. I started to time them and they were about 5 minutes apart. I decided to wake up Dan and just let him know what was going on. He loving said why don’t you just keep laboring and wake me up again in an hour to let me know how things are going. Well since this wasn’t my first time I knew I had a ways to go before it was go time so I did what he suggested and just kept laboring at home. I walked, drank some tea, read my Bible, prayed and before I knew it it was nearly 4am.

I had started to time my contractions again since they were getting a little stronger and they were now about 2 minutes apart. I decided it was probably time to really wake Dan up so I got him up and told him to get showered so we could head to the hospital by 6am. I started to gather all the last minute things we needed, get dressed, get Hudson’s bag ready to go & tell my sister what was happening. Thank goodness she just so happened to spend the night that night 🙏🏻

By 6am we were in the car driving down the driveway & I was texting the photographer, Desiree, to tell her what was happening. My contractions were still about 2 minutes apart but so far I wasn’t having any back labor like I did with our son so I was feeling good! We parked and got ourselves up to labor & delivery to check in by about 6:30. All of the triage rooms were full so they decided to stick us in a labor room “just in case we got to stay” as the nurse said. Well it became apparent that we were most likely staying once she checked me and found out I was already at a 5 and I was indeed having contractions about 2 minutes apart. They called the midwife to tell her I was there so she could come and check on me as well. About an hour later she checked me and I was a 6 so they admitted us and started running a bath so I could labor in the tub. I told Desiree it was go time so she could head in to the hospital. I was still feeling so good at this point. No back labor, contractions weren’t super intense and I was over halfway there!

The tub was ready so I jumped in. The midwife said sometimes the tub can really get things going but it didn’t with our son so I wasn’t expecting it to this time. Well after a few contractions in the tub things did start to pick up and feel more intense. I labored in the tub for a few more contractions but decided it was time to get out.

I decided to try to walk around again but the contractions got super intense and I was starting to freak out a little bit. I had a few more and then told Dan I wanted to get the epidural. He went and told the nurse so she could grab the anesthesiologist. We found out he was in the process of giving an epidural next door and was supposed to go into a c-section from there but he would come get mine going before he went to the OR. Praise the Lord! Since he was going to be a few minutes the nurse asked if I wanted fentanyl to take the edge off and I said heck yes! The contractions were getting so intense now I wanted to do whatever I could to make the pain stop. Well as soon as I got the fentanyl I felt like I was about to throw up. I grabbed a barf bag and threw up a couple times (it was transition but I think I was in denial). Well pretty quick the anesthesiologist came in. I sat on the edge of the bed and tried to hold as still as I could between contractions. He was seriously the sweetest man but I honestly did not care what he was trying to tell me I just wanted him to get it started already! As he was getting ready to insert the last piece my water broke. That was a strange feeling!! Dan says I was freaking out as I said “I feel like I need to push!” The nurse and midwife both said in a sweet voice, “okay honey, that’s great!” To which I replied, “no, I need to push RIGHT NOW!” The anesthesiologist finished his part and they got me to my back. The urge to push was so strong at this point. The nurse and midwife asked if I felt like I could push through the next contraction and I said yes. I gave one big push and they said she was right there ready to come. I pushed again and they said “her head is out!” A couple more small pushes and she was here!

It was so quick this time around. The epidural was pointless so I had my natural birth that I had always wanted mostly by accident. No matter how it happened I was so glad she was finally here! Miss Hazel was absolutely perfect and her daddy and I were just so in love.

Hazel Anne was born at 10:15am on the dot, she weighed 7lbs 15oz and was 20 and 1/4 inches long. We got to snuggle her, admire her massive head of hair, order some lunch and wait for our turn to move to the mom and baby floor. We told our families that she had arrived and that we would love for them to come meet her later that evening. We ate our lunch and then loaded up our things so we could move floors. Hazel was already nursing like a champ and I was feeling amazing. The Lord had answered our prayers for a quick, smooth delivery.

It was a crazy feeling…I was so in love with this new little girl but I was also missing my first baby. I couldn’t wait for Hudson to come and meet his new baby sister and have all 4 of us together. Desiree was still around waiting to document the two of them meeting and the look on his face when he first sees her is the best.

Now a family of 4! We are so blessed ❤