outfit envy.

i am dying over this little get-up.
it has my name written all over it. 


isn't it just the most darling little outfit you ever did see?
i am a big scarf girl. i wear one nearly everyday.
and this scarf is just so spot on. 
love the colors. love the dots. love how it is tied in a great big bow. 

you better believe i am now on a mission to replicate this outfit. 
love. love. love.

{image courtesy of allpeople via classy in the city}

in the red.

i am just loving red right now.
it is so sublimely merry in the most lovely of ways.
loving red blouses. & red shoes. red lips & red party dresses. 


a chic red jump suit. 
one would never be mistaken for santa in this sexy little number.
i am loving the cutout detail & the length of sleeve.


loving this look.
equal parts chic & comfy. 
a red cable knit paired with crisp winter white trousers.
going bold with color. but simple in style.
perfection.


and if winter white is not your cup of tea. no need to fret.
black & red is always a bold fashion statement.
there is so much to love about this look.
the polka dot tights. the red trench. the ombre sunnies. the oversized fur collar.
love. love. love. to the tenth power.

so how about you?
how are you wearing your reds this holiday season?

{images courtesy of gastrocghic. sex and the city. unknown}

i've got the blues.

i am feeling sorta blue today.
 
but not the blue you are probably thinking of.
quite the opposite actually.
 
my day has been filled with thoughts of sweet baby boys wrapped in soft blue blankies.
blue little rompers. blue little boppies. & blue little onsies.
 
that's right, my friends.
 
lovie & i are expecting a sweet little boy.
our world is wrapped up in a big blue bow & we couldn't be more thrilled!
 
we had a doctors appointment yesterday
& the ultrasound tech said she could give her best guess as to the gender...
but let me tell you...
there was no guessing about it.
our sweet baby boy was way too excited to say hello!
 
we are just over the moon.
& i couldn't wait one more minute to share our joyous news.
little baby boy snuggles are just months away!
 
yipppeeeeeee!
 
 
 


mackenzie-childs christmas.

lovie & i are hosting our very first christmas eve dinner.
in the brett family. christmas eve has always been a big hoorah.
& seeing as how i am now a married woman. and have just settled into our new home.
it seems most appropriate that christmas eve dinner be held at the mills residence.

you can imagine my excitement. 
having twenty people over to our house for a fancy little soirée.
sounds like a perfectly swell idea. if i do say so myself.

with the big night only a few shorts weeks away.
i am already trying to design a lovely menu & create a most merry home.
the christmas lights have been hung. the halls are decked with christmas decor.
the tree is perfectly placed. & the stockings are hung. 
the mills home is a cheery little place.

except one thing. 
i am swirling all sorts of table scape ideas around in my mind.
gold & glitzy? a snowy winter wonderland? traditional red & green?
the decorating possibilities are endless...

but if i could create my most perfect. most beautiful. most lovely christmas table.
it would most certainly be a table overflowing with mackenzie-childs pretties.
a black. white. & gold. christmas table would be just divine. 


each & every piece of the mackenzie-childs courtly collection is stunning.
i am coveting every last piece of this ceramic collection.
the black & white check is so my style.
& the gold fluted edges just send it home for me.
table scape perfection to the max.


this might be my very fave of all the pieces.
i mean honestly. is there anything lovelier than this fluted. gold-rimmed. bowl?


tea anyone?
absolutely darling.


the fluted dinner plates are stunning.
the teacup & saucer are just out of this world.


these have my name all over them.
black & white checkerboard. gold trim & polka dots.
this cheese serving set belongs with me.

can't you just imagine it?
a perfectly black. white. & gold christmas table?!
it would just be too good to be true.

so. the question is...
would lovie ever be convinced that this was a necessity for our hosting debut?
... a girl can dream.
& this girl dreams in black. white. & gold.

a giving heart.

there is something about the holiday season that really touches my heart.
it reminds me how deeply blessed i really am & how rich these blessings are.

bountiful. abundant. undeserving blessings surround my life daily.
& i will never completely understand why i am so blessed.
while i wish i had this overwhelming sentiment all year long.
i have to admit. it often times gets lost in the day-to-day.

that being said.
i am making this next month one of a giving heart.
giving of each & every part of my being.
heart. soul. energy. time. money. care. & prayers. 

after much thought.
i am choosing to bless the children's dream fund this year.
not only is this organization near & dear to my heart.
but my amazing mother is also a dream coordinator. 
so. i sincerely hope that you will join me in this great effort. 

the children's dream fund is a most wonderful local non-profit
that blesses terminally ill children with their biggest & wildest dreams.
i have had the joy of helping plan dreams & present dreams to these precious children 
& there is nothing sweeter or more humbling than bringing happiness to the lives of
these sick children & their loving families.
it is heartwarming. 

really. think about it.
if most of us made a list of our daily struggles
it would pale in comparison with the burden & fear that these families live with.
each & every day.

two years ago 
my small group bible study adopted a dream fund family for a christmas blessing.
the generous girls in my bible study collected tons of presents 
to surprise one sweet little two-year old girl.
i can only imagine the joy the mother experienced as she surprised her terribly sick little baby with more christmas presents than one could ever imagine. 

it was the simplest act of generosity that we could do....
but it will leave a lasting impression on this family as shortly after that happy morning 
this precious little one went on to be in Heaven with our Heavenly Father. 

so my friends.
i have a challenge for us. 
let's see how much money we can raise to support the 
many. many. many families within the children's dream fund. 
let's see how many gift cards we can collect to donate to the children's dream fund.
starting now. ending on december 15. any amount is wonderful.
visa cards. american express cards. target cards. wal-mart cards.

just think of all the families who will be deeply touched from your giving heart. 

if this is something you would like to participate in. {and it should be}
here is how you can make it happen.

first. go get your gift cards. {visa & american express are top choice}
second. mail your gift cards {or checks} to the following address:

Kim Brett
Children's Dream Fund 
1 Progress Plaza
Suite 820
Saint Petersburg, FL 33701

{if you are local. feel free to just drop the gift card off at my house}

third. 





a child of god.

the Lord has really been trying to get my attention these past few weeks.
i just love that about Him. 
He is totally & completely persistent until i get the point. 
in all seriousness. how utterly gracious of Him.

it is not like i have been praying for Him to reveal some sins.
i have not particularly been longing for another refining period. 
i am not really wishing to be stretched at this given time.

really. in my mind. i have much bigger things to be praying about.
like. the little babe of a blessing growing in me.
and my exponentially more tear-filled eyes these days.
or my diminishing patience in my classroom.
and my lack of energy to be a really great wife.
{all of which i blame on this first trimester}

now those were all on my shortlist of my prayer requests.
but it is just like our great big God. just like Him.
to turn the tables around on us. 
turn it around from the focus being on us. consistently inward.
to the focus being on others. completely outward.

as i mentioned before.
He has really been trying to get my attention.
sending his one strong & true message loud & clear.
my wise & impossibly faithful mother has been His little messenger.
bible study lectures have been His little messenger.
even joel osteen on national television has been delivering God's message to me.
{yes. i happen to adore joel. my friends may or may not laugh at me for this}
it is coming up everywhere.
 thats how why i know i need to be listening. 

He is telling me.
to be viewing each & every person as a child of God.
to focus on only that which resembles the image of Christ.
when a friend. a family member. when anyone
lets me down. reveals a sinful heart. shows their flaws.
to immediately cover them in love.
hiding their shortcomings. protecting them in their weakness.
loving them in spite of their decisions. 
& choosing only to see the goodness in them.
only acknowledging the child of God that is within them.
no judgement. only love.
always love.

after all.
i would hope that others can look at me.
a sinful. selfish. weak. girl.
& still see that i was made in the image of Christ.

i am so grateful that the Lord has put this on my heart.
it is so much easier just to simply love. & love unconditionally. 


that being said.
having a daily reminder for myself would be lovely way to start each morning.
a daily promise that i. too. am a child of God.
{wouldn't this etsy wallart be darling in a little babes nursery?! love it}

for my lovie.

happy. happy. happy. anniversary to my little lovie of a hubby.
thank you for a most wonderful year.
it was a year with an abundance of 
love. compassion. & devotion.
and for that i am eternally grateful. 


love you so.
xoxo.

oh joy!

i have been an admirer of joy. the girl behind oh joy! for a long time now.
i simply cannot help but adore her girlie &whimsy style.
 
i completely adore her what i would wear series.
which features fashion sketches of her dream outfits.
but here is the real kicker.
not only are the outfits she sketches so stinkin cute.
but she also links you to each & every item.
just so that you. too. can scoop up the fashions for yourself.
 
this could be brilliant. but it could also be t.r.o.u.b.l.e.
but either way. i just love it.
check out her thanksgiving outfits.
one casual. one fancy. whichever suits your needs.
 

 
i am loving those drawstring ikat pants.
so chic. & oh so versatile.
thanks joy for your daily dose of inspiration & your darling sketches.
 
y'all head on over to see the oh joy! blog for yourself.
it will surely be a new daily read.


the most wonderful time of the year.

words can hardly express my excitement.
it is officially the most wonderful time of the year.
my christmas music is ringing.
my frasier fir candles are burning.
and peppermint hot cocoa is a daily treat.
 
if i knew it would last through the next two months...
i would certainly be picking out our christmas tree today!
 
 
are you as excited as i am about this merry little season?
joy. joy. joy.


a french baking lesson.

i simply adore time spent baking in the kitchen.
there is just something so lovely about tying on an apron.
whisking away. creating sweet treats for the sweeties in my life. 

the other day i had the absolute pleasure of taking a private baking class
with the french pastry extraordinaire from the cassis bakery.
i instantly became dear friends with monsieur daniele.
the most darling. most lovable. most cheerful man.
the artist behind those beautiful pastries that line the windows of cassis.

you can only imagine my intense joy
to be working in the kitchen with such a culinary genius.
to be testing all the goodness as we went along.
& to learn a few secret tricks of the trade. 


we whisked the most decadent mocha mousse. 


and filled buttery tart shells.


the beginnings of completely indulgent mocha tartlets.


we dipped them into the finest of all chocolates.


and made rosebuds out of almond paste.
which he makes look so simple.


however. it was not so simple.
{daniele is a very patient man}


nevertheless. we kept trying till i mastered 
the art of the almond paste rosebud.


then we topped our mocha mousse tarts.


to create the loveliest. prettiest. sweetest little treats.
aren't they just the daintiest pretties you ever have seen?!


then we moved on to the fruit tarts.
we filled the chocolate glazed shells with cream.


and sliced fresh fruits.
i just love how vivid these colors are.


we meticulously placed each little piece of fruit.


and then glazed them with a piping hot melted marmalade.
these were absolutely divine. 
{and unbelievably beautiful if i do say so myself}


i cannot think of anything sweeter than a box full
of sweet treats that are just as pretty as they are delicious!

thank you. sweet daniele. for our wonderful little baking date.
i can hardly wait for round two in the cassis kitchen.
xoxox.

made just for me.

i feel quite certain that this little number 
was made most especially just for me. 
it has my name written all over it.


latte & black velvet stripes topped off with an oversized bow.
with polka dotted. gold embellished. ankle strap shoesies.
complete & utter holiday party perfection. 

where is to hoping that my little bump will fit in this come december?!

in this very room.

today we all celebrate sweet patrick.
& we remember the precious young man that he was.
the most loving. most compassionate. most genuine boy imaginable.

a few years ago. 
which seems like both an eternity ago & just simply days ago.
all of our friends & family gathered to celebrate the life of sweet patrick.
and while uncle mike & uncle darrell sang in this very room.
we wiped away tears. held hands. wrapped arms around one another.

last year.
when lovie & i got married.
all of our friends & family gathered to celebrate the union of our lives.
and while uncle mike & uncle darrell sang in this very room.
we wiped away tears. held hands. wrapped arms around one another. yet again.

but this time it was in complete honor of patrick. & our Lord
to show our love. our joy. & our hope.
so we all gathered together. as close as we could possibly be.
each one of us holding a candle for our sweet patrick.
as we sang these most precious words.



in this very room.
there's quite enough love for one like me.
and in this very room.
there's quite enough joy for one like me.
and there's quite enough hope. and there's quite enough power.
to chase away the gloom.
for jesus. lord jesus. is in this very room.

and in this very room.
there's quite enough love for all of us.
and in this very room.
there's quite enough joy for all of us.
and there's quite enough hope. and there's quite enough power.
to chase away the gloom.
for jesus. lord jesus. is in this very room.

in this very room.
there's quite enough love for all the world.
and in this very room.
there's quite enough joy for all the world.
and there's quite enough hope. and there's quite enough power.
to chase away the gloom.
for jesus. lord jesus. is in this very room.

and so my precious patrick. 
shining down on me from heaven.
i just know your sweet spirit & the Lord's glorious spirit 
is in this very room with me.
today & everyday.


love, nina jane giveaway winner.

i am beyond thrilled to announce that 
the most lovely patricia van essche
is the winner of the beautiful love, nina jane bracelet.

i cannot think of a more deserving lady to win this little pretty.
as she epitomizes grace. compassion. & generosity. 
plus. she has got style to boot. and incredible artistic talent.
{you must check out her darling sketches over here.}

special thanks to the ladies of love, nina jane.
xoxo.

pumpkin cheesecake.

there are few things sweeter than a rich pumpkin cheesecake.
& this recipe happens to be my families all-time fave fall treat.
for years & years my mom has baked us this delectable goodness.
every thanksgiving. every christmas. & even a few in between.

i can promise you. hands down. this will be your new go-to fall dessert.
it is perfectly creamy. deliciously decadent. with the perfect bit of pumpkin.
each & every bite is just bursting with cinnamonie-spicy deliciousness.

the crust is absolutely divine. 
the perfect mix of pecans. brown sugar. & graham crackers.
{and it is even better when the crust is doubled up for extra crunch in your bite}
the cake itself is so perfectly creamy. so rich. & so wonderfully indulgent.


crust:
¾ cup graham crumbs
½ cup finely chopped pecans
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
½ stick unsalted butter. melted & cooled
mix. press into 10” springform pan. freeze 10 minutes

filling:
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 ½ t cinnamon
½ t nutmeg
½ t ground ginger
½ t salt
1 cup sugar, 6 T sugar
24 oz creamed cheese
2 T heavy cream
1 T cornstarch
1 T vanilla

whisk first 7 ingredients together.  
in separate bowl. cream the cream cheese and all of sugar.  
beat in heavy cream, cornstarch and vanilla.  
add the first 7 ingredients to the cream cheese mixture. 
pour into crust.  
bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes or until center is set. 

run knife around edge.  
cool in the refrigerator. 
top with whipped cream. cinnamon sugar. and crushed toffee.



{i had the most beautiful images of the entire baking process that i was just dying 
to share with you... but the camera card went ca-put on me. so this is all i've got. so sorry. 
you will have to use your little imagination of me whisking. beating. & taste testing}

pure. pumpkin cheesecake. perfection.
do let me know if you try out this sweet little recipe. 
i just know it will be a huge hit.
so. enjoy!

joy.

my life has such an abundance of joy in it. 
it is overflowing.
i have always led a joy-filled life. 
but the past three years have been especially joyful.

i met my lovie. & we fell in love.
he brings so much joy to my days.
we joyfully got engaged & promised to love each other forever. 
vowed to years & years ahead of sharing in one anothers joys.
we bought our forever home. 
& have every intention of filling it with the utmost of joy.

it is most appropriate that my life is captioned 
joy. joy. joy.

we had a great big family dinner this weekend.
with the bretts. the mills. & a few very special friends.

& it was evident to everyone around us that we were all full of joy.

















the smiles were big & the laughs came easy.

celebrating the announcement of our
little bundle of joy.
baby mills coming in june 2013.

oh. what a miraculous joy! 
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