My Favorite Etsy Finds

I absolutely love Etsy.  It is my go-to for gifts, home decor, jewelry & truly unique finds.  I love supporting small businesses when I can & Etsy just makes it SO easy.  One of the best parts is being able to interact with the store owners, especially when working on custom orders for gifts or wedding related items.  I've been contemplating curating my own shop, but that would require I know how to make something.  Small details.  Recently I've found & purchased some really great pieces so I thought I'd share some of them with you today. Sorry bank accounts!

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{Recipe} Thanksgiving in the Crock Pot

So, I think I need a lesson in photographing food in the crock pot.  There is just no way to take a pretty picture.  At least I haven't figure it out yet.  Please do not judge this recipe based on the pics. Seriously.  Ok, let's get to it.

It is currently 102 degrees outside (that is not an exaggeration) yet, all I can think about is fall.  My heart is craving cooler temps, brightly colored trees, trips to the cider mill & crock pot cooking.  Over the weekend, my friends & I were discussing Thanksgiving & the craving for Thanksgiving dinner hit my stomach HARD.   I'll be hosting my first Thanksgiving this year (a lot of posts will be coming on that adventure) so I know I need to start getting in the spirit. In an effort to recreate one of the best meals of the year without putting in all the effort, I decided to give this recipe a whirl.  It. Is. AWESOME. This meal was super easy to throw together, the house smelled AMAZING while it cooked & it was SO tasty! I did out sub turkey breasts for boneless chicken breasts because, truthfully, I don't know where one buys turkey breasts...I've never seen them at our grocery store.  I also served this with a side of cranberries (not pictured) because turkey/chicken & stuffing without cranberry is just WRONG.  Next time, if I'm not feeling lazy I might make some mashed potatoes, but that takes more effort than I was willing to put in.  This really was the perfect comfort meal to satisfy that Thanksgiving craving until November but J is ready for me to make it again!

Serves: 4
Cook time: 4.5 - 5 hours
How difficult was this for me? EASY!

  • 4 Large boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 10.5oz can of cream of chicken soup (we used low sodium)
  • 8 oz. light sour cream
  • 1 6 oz. box stuffing mix (we used Stove Top cornbread stuffing mix)
  • 6 Tbsp cup chicken broth (with a bit more if necessary)
  • 1 12oz bag frozen green beans
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Lightly grease slow cooker with cooking spray

Place chicken breasts at the bottom of the slow cooker. Lightly salt & pepper the chicken

In a separate bowl, mix together the cream of chicken soup, sour cream, stuffing & chicken broth

Place mixture over chicken & spread out as evenly as possible

Place string beans on top of stuffing mix.  

You will want to periodically mix the stuffing. If you don't want to mix the beans & stuffing, then place the beans on the sides. I did not care one bit.

Cook on high for 4 hours. 

I did mix the stuffing probably 3x during the 4 hours.  If you're finding your stuffing to be a bit dry, add a little more broth.  My crock pot kept the stuffing pretty juicy, so I didn't require any extra.

Remove from cooker & EAT.



{Travel} Honeymooning in the Maldives

We've been back from our honeymoon almost 2 months now, so it's about time I got around to posting some pics of paradise.  If you follow along on Instagram, some of these are repetitive so I apologize for that. If you don't follow me, then you really should (@raalph120).

For our honeymoon, we traveled half way around the world to the Maldives.  If you're unfamiliar with the Maldives, it's a tropical nation made up of over 1,000 coral islands located in the Indian Ocean.  We stayed at the Centara Grand for 9 amazing nights.  It took a little over 36 hours to get there with the time change, but it was worth it!  We flew 16 hours to Dubai,  from Dubai we had a 6ish hour layover & then we took another plane into the capital, Male.  From Male, we took a smaller plane to another island (could NOT tell you the name of it) where we then took a boat to our hotel. Our hotel made up the entire island; there were no roads, only sand walkways. Our room jutted out over the water & included a private balcony with stairs leading straight into the water.  It was really quite nice to be so disconnected from the real world. We chose an all-inclusive package which is really the way to go.  The resort staff could NOT have been nicer. Overall, it was an incredible trip that went WAY too fast! Here's just a glimpse into heaven.


{Design} Decorating with Maps

Happy Thursday! One more day until the weekend...we are SO close!  Lately I've been spending a lot of time window shopping instead of actually shopping. SO BORING, but so very necessary.   One of my favorite places to waste a lot of time browse for gems is on eBay.  You really never know what you're going to find when you type in the word "vintage".  When I'm not searching for glass, (see here) I've been searching for vintage maps. They're so unique & visually interesting to look at, plus you can do so much with them! But one of my favorite things about maps? They're relatively inexpensive!   We currently have three maps up in our house, a fourth will be in the works when I magically find a new wall in our house, yet I still think we might need to add more.  There are so many fun & different ways to use maps in your house. Here are some of my faves!

I always love a good gallery wall. A gallery wall of maps? Perhaps that's in our near future...

While on the gallery wall kick, I'm super into the idea of making a gallery wall of funkier vintage maps of LA/California like these pretties I'm currently crushing hard on.

I also love a gallery wall that just has one map accent on it


If you don't want to go full gallery wall, you could always do a quad like this or one giant map

One of the maps we have in our house is actually from this company I found while browsing for maps on etsy. They will take a piece of a vintage map & cut out any quote you want!

I also LOVE the idea of having a map in your house with pins of every place you've visited. This one is a current work-in-progress for us

I've also seen these scratch-off maps that are a cool version of the map above 

If you no longer live in the same city/state you were born it, it would be fun to have a map from where you grew up.  This Michigan map would make the perfect accent to a gallery wall.  J & I currently have 2 matching maps of Chicago & LA.  I think you can guess why.

This 1924 map of Detroit might need to be purchased. Like, now.

I've also had my eye on a hand painted globe for quite some time...though these tend to be much pricier than maps :(

This post really could keep going...maybe I'll create a Part 2. Have you decorated with maps? I'd love to see what you've done!