Monday, October 16, 2017

easy vegan chili

even if you are not vegan/vegetarian/a chili lover - I am pleading with you to make this chili recipe! right before hurricane irma came our way in georgia, the temperature got really chilly and of course, my basic self, just knew we needed to have our first chili batch of the fall season. a few days later, we were back into the 80s but hey, that chili was life-changing. I will totally make this for company and not tell them it's vegan. my parents and stephen were blown away with how good it was, they all got seconds.

all I did was swap ground beef in my tried-and-true chili recipe for my favorite vegan sausage. the rest is the same way that I've always made it.

told y'all it was easy...

not real meat, but totally looks good right?!


-1 package of 4 field roast italian sausages (or 1 lb. beef) 
-1 onion, chopped 
-1 T. minced garlic, to taste 
-½ t. taco seasoning (only if you use beef, the vegan sausage is already seasoned)
-2 (14.5 oz) cans diced stewed tomatoes with chili seasonings 
-3 (16 oz) cans chili beans, undrained 
-1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce 
-1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies 
-fritos corn chips and grated cheese (vegan, if you want) for garnish


1A. [vegan] break up the vegan sausage into chunks and place in a food processor. pulse until ground but still chunky, resembling ground beef. move the sausage crumbles to a warm soup pot with olive oil. 

1B. [non-vegan] place ground beef into a soup pot over medium heat, and cook and stir until the meat is browned, breaking it up into crumbles as it cooks, about 10 minutes. sprinkle the meat with taco seasoning mix.

2. stir in onion and garlic, and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 more minutes. 

3. pour in the tomatoes, chili beans, tomato sauce, and diced green chilies, stir to combine. 

4. simmer for 30 minutes. serve with fritos and cheese.

*leftovers are awesome!

Friday, October 13, 2017

atlanta home tour: entry way update

I have a funny story for you today and I'm wondering if this has happened to any of you before too?! I have a healthy obsession with my home - I am constantly thinking about ways to make it more comfortable for both guests and the two of us, even subconsciously. so you can imagine my surprise when... a couple weekends ago, my parents were leaving my house and they both sort of looked at the hooks in our entry way and casually remarked that they should go. you mean to tell me that it took you 1.5 years to tell me the builder-grade hooks in my entry way should go?! to make it worse, stephen agreed immediately. sometimes it's the smallest things that go unnoticed to you, right?

so of course, removing these hooks became my #1 priority and I promptly removed them the next day. because I'm always so focused on the end result, I almost never get good "before" photos - but you can see this one on the left from instagram. notice the inordinate amount of hooks and bare wall space above the wainscoting. bye hooks, bye!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

lauren alford design // etsy shop updates

happy hump day, y'all! I wanted to take a quick moment and share that I've made some pretty drastic updates to my etsy shop. maybe you didn't even know I had an etsy shop... well, things have picked up quite a bit lately and I've been wanting to make some changes to the shop. finally, I got some time and energy to make those inventory changes, take photographs, and update the shop - and I'm super excited about it!

when I first launched the shop in early 2016, I offered boxes to celebrate: engagement, baby boy, and baby girl - but all I ever sold was the engagement box. recently, I decided to go with what the people want and expand on the engagement occasion. so without further ado, the shop now has four engagement boxes! I would seriously love to hear what you think...

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

what I read in september

september was a big month for me, ya'll... being that I was able to finish two books! normally, I'm a consistent one-book-a-month type gal, but the labor day holiday allowed me to spend more time reading. we drove down to jacksonville for the long weekend, I finished liars, inc quickly and luckily, my father-in-law's girlfriend loaned me a stranger in the house. I hadn't heard of it before and was glad to have the chance to read it for free. I love a good book swap.
linking up with steph and jana, happy 3 years to show us your books linkup!

a stranger in the house by shari lapena
karen and tom krupp are happy—they’ve got a lovely home in upstate new york, they’re practically newlyweds. but one day, tom returns home to find karen has vanished—her car’s gone and it seems she left in a rush. there's a knock on the door—the police are there to take tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. she had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town. the accident has left karen with a concussion and a few scrapes.  still, she’s mostly okay—except that she can’t remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. karen returns home with tom, determined to heal and move on with her life. then she realizes something’s been moved. something’s not quite right. someone’s been in her house. and the police won't stop asking questions. because in this house, everyone’s a stranger. everyone has something they’d rather keep hidden. something they might even kill to keep quiet. 

my take: A
this book grabs your attention immediately and builds from there. I've definitely never read a book with a plot like this, which kept me interested. as creepy as this book ends - I could actually see it happening in real life.

liars, inc by paula stokes
max cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money. so with the help of his friend preston and his girlfriend, max starts liars, inc. suddenly everybody needs something, and the cash starts pouring in. who knew lying could be so lucrative? when preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, max doesn't think twice about it. but then preston never comes home. and the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead to preston's body. terrifying clues that point to max as the killer…. {}

my take: B
the start of this book seems pretty basic and sort of underdeveloped, but it definitely has twists and turns that surprise you along the way. in general, I don't like young adult books and I think the fact that the main characters where in high school is why I didn't like this book more. a quick read for sure!

have you read either of these books? what are you reading this month?

Sunday, October 8, 2017

fall home tour ed. 2017

I'm going to be honest with you... getting ready for fall in georgia this year has been slightly uninspiring. every day, I see beautiful images of "real fall" on instagram and I just haven't felt fall yet since it's been so hot. I know the cold will come and I shouldn't wish away what we have, but I am so ready to feel and dress for fall.

even though the season turned to fall "officially" a few weeks ago, I didn't decorate for fall until last weekend on october 1st. I normally don't do too much around the house, but I definitely add a few subtle touches and change up the porch. so c'mon fall, we're ready {and waiting} for you!

Friday, October 6, 2017

our wedding // ceremony

our wedding day flew by like every bride says it does, but one thing I will never forget is our wedding ceremony. the day had been overcast all day, but luckily, we didn't have to use our rain plan. the gray and dreary day meant that at least there was a breeze outside. by the time we said our vows, there was the most calming breeze floating through the trees that totally put me at ease so I could just take it all in and remember the moment. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

atlanta home tour: master bathroom

don't you love a good before and after photo? side note: before and afters will always make me think of my time working at spanx since customers loved seeing before and after photos, and how much better people look in their clothes with spanx on. anywhooo, we are not here to talk about spanx - we are here to talk about my master bathroom update and the before and after photos below! another side note, I am pretty sure that I had a brain malfunction and sort of leaked a part of this post a few weeks ago... oops. if you saw that, I'm sure you thought I was losing it.

Friday, September 29, 2017

our wedding // bridal party

both stephen and I were active in the wedding planning process, and I was totally happy with it being a collaborative effort. after finding my dress, I immediately went on to search for bridesmaid dresses. I knew I wanted a biscotti, cafe au lait, soft hazelnut [you get the picture] kind of shade for the dresses, but I had a hard time finding the color. I even went to home depot and picked out paint cards to pull together colors of suits and dresses in my head. after a few stops, I finally found the perfect color at alfred angelo. I popped in the store since it's right by my work and was sold! {sad note, RIP to alfred angelo and if any of you were affected by the bankruptcy, I am so sorry!}

Monday, September 25, 2017

atlanta home tour: master closet update

recently we painted our master bedroom, bathroom, and closet which led us to rethink a few things - especially in the closet. we had a standing shoe rack on a blank wall in the closet, which was always about to fall apart [the shoe rack, not the wall] so we decided to do something more permanent with floating shelves.

Friday, September 22, 2017

our wedding // getting ready

I am pretty sure all wedding days go something like this: "oooh we have so much time... let's relax and have a mimosa"......... then all of a sudden, it's "oh crap, y'all go-go-go we need to leave in 5 minutes!!" I am fairly certain all the weddings that I've been a part of have gone like this and mine was no different. that last hour of getting ready is STRESSFUL, especially if you have to travel to the venue after getting ready.