Sunday, September 13, 2015

Weekly Meal Planning: Week of September 14, 2015

Hi Friends! Lots of exciting things have happened recently. One being, Blake and I got married in July. A month later, we moved into our newly renovated home (pictures coming!). It's been a busy summer, to say the least. But it's been the most memorable and special one yet.

One of the things Blake and I started enjoying together early on in our dating relationship was cooking together. We'd pour a glass of wine and make dinner together. It might be my favorite way to relax after a busy day or week.  That being said, we love to cook for health and budget reasons and also the pure satisfaction of making something delicious (not always though and all I have to say to that is #pinterestfail).

Long story short, when we got married, it was important that we take the time each weekend to plan our meals for the week including going to the store. ***Insert cheesy quote (sorry I just have to): Fail to plan, plan to fail** Thanks for indulging me for a second. I love a good quote. Anyway, I wholeheartedly believe this quote, mostly because I have failed to plan, a lot, and it has left me frazzled one too many times. Frazzled, busy, failed to plan = Taylor making really bad eating choices and surely you get where I am going here.

So, I introduce you to the Menu Board! This little guys is housed on the side of our fridge and helps us stay on track and organized with our weekly meal planning. I love this thing and guess what? It works! At any given moment, I know what meals I have ingredients for so no more last minute trips to Taco Mayo for dinner in the Elliott household :)

Sunday: Today was busy for us. Nothing fancy, leftovers!

MondaySkinny Taste's Korean Grilled Chicken and I will add a bag of 90 second brown rice and a steam-able bag of broccoli.

Tuesday: Deer Tacos
There is nothing fancy about this recipe except that we have probably 150 lbs. of ground deer meat from this past winter thanks to Blake. I am not a huge fan of deer by it's self (deer burgers, steaks, etc) but when it is mixed with taco seasoning, marinara sauce, chili, it really is so good! Not to mention, deer is very very lean so I am onboard.

For this recipe, we just cook the deer meat like ground beef and add taco seasoning. We like soft tacos so we get flour tortillas with toppings: shredded lettuce, cheese, sour cream and salsa. Sometimes we get really fancy and make guacamole, too.

Wednesday: Skinny Taste's Swedish Meatballs and I will serve over some whole wheat noodles and probably throw in a vegetable. I don't plan my side vegetables before I go to the store, I just buy what is on sale that week. The suspense is unreal! :)

Thursday: Garlic Butter Salmon Baked in Foil and I will add a vegetable and probably some brown rice. We tried this recipe for the first time last week. It was easy and very good! We had couscous with it last week so I thought I'd spice things up a bit with rice this week. We purchased a big bag of frozen salmon and I love having fish at least once a week. I know fresh is the way to go but frozen is really convenient for us right now, so if its gotta be frozen, I still make sure it is wild caught.

Friday: Always and forever our date night--who wants to cook after a long week? Not us!

Grocery shopping typically happens on Saturdays and we like to try a new recipe on Saturday too. We usually go for something a little more time consuming because we've got the time then.

Our menu board only covers dinner but I also like to throw in at least one small recipe for lunch. We also each leftovers at lunch. This week my lunch is Whole Foods Sonoma Chicken Salad. I have never tried this recipe before but I love chicken salad so I have high hopes for this one.

Menu board made by me :) and available in my Etsy Shop. More styles coming soon!

Friday, February 20, 2015

New Products!

When I first opened Design Gem I focused a lot on paper products and personalized prints. As Design Gem just turned two (Feb 18), I have been thinking a lot about the last two years and how much we've grown and the kind of products I want to continue to design in the future. I love gift products more than anything. I love finding that perfect gift for someone special and I get so very excited to give that perfect gift to them. Watching them open it makes me so excited hoping they love it. I want that feeling for my customers with the gifts I design. Something else I strive for (hang in here with me, folks!)...You know when you find a cute product and it reminds you so much of someone that you just have to get it for them? Yep. I want my gifts to be like that too. I focus a lot on niche items. Here are some examples below:

I know you know someone that would love this mug. This coffee mug is 100% me and I love it so.
A gift for your bestie, who of course, is da best!
For your littles that love Frozen, they will surely love these Frozen pencils. These were a big seller during Christmas as a stocking stuffer and now they have been selling as Frozen party favors.
I love the movie The Help and I love this quote. These pencils are perfect as a pick-me-up for a friend or for someone that just loves that movie! 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Happy 2nd Birthday Design Gem!

Happy 2nd Birthday to my small yet incredibly fulfilling Etsy shop, Design Gem. I absolutely love being creative and my shop has given me more than just a creative outlet...It has shown me my passion and love for gift product design! This shop lights my heart on fire and I cannot wait to see what is in store for year three.

Since today we are celebrating DG's birthday, I want to introduce our newest product....a TUMBLER! I am very excited about this for several reasons. 1) Well, I love tumblers and use one everyday. 2) It's so cute with it's striped straw and bright turquoise color! 3) It has a meaningful reminder and I need positive reminders on the daily! 4) There is a tiny heart in the curve of the "e" in "love". It's pretty cute!

This tumbler would be the cutest gift filled with candy for a friend or add some of Design Gem's pencils for a different yet sweet touch.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

More From Our Trip to Breckenridge

Breckenridge, Colorado is my favorite place to vacation for many reasons:

1) It's gorgeous year round, you must try both summer and winter in Breck and let me know what's your favorite. I am still deciding which is my favorite. 

2) It has awesome local restaurants, bars and shops.

3) It's just a hop, skip and a jump from Denver which is full of culture and awesome places to dine and shop.

4) The people in Breck are so nice and laid back which makes it a fun time. 

5) There are truly hundreds of activities to do while vacations in Breckenridge. Here are some of our favorites:
  1. Skiing in the winter
  2. Renting a bike and cruising around the town or renting a bike closer to Lake Dillion and biking around there. Gorgeous views!
  3. Hiring a guide and going fly fishing
  4. Driving around and looking at all the beautiful homes
  5. Getting a crepe at the Crepe stand on Main St.
  6. Going to the outlet malls (we have outlet malls here in OK but for some reason, they are just more fun in Colorado!)
  7. Hot-tubbing it with a glass of wine.
  8. Take a drive on Swan Lake Road or Dillion Dam Road for the very best scenic views
And a few things I would still like to try!
  1. Tubing down a (small) mountain
  2. Hire a guide and go snow shoeing
  3. Hire a guide and go snow mobiling
  4. Zip lining in the summer

First day skiing pre helmet hair and frozen face :)
We stopped for Bloody Mary's at Seven's Restaurant and Bar on Peak 7.

Panoramic view...we stopped often to simply enjoy the beauty of the Rockies.

Design Gem is Now Doing Wholesale!

Exciting news for Design Gem! We are now accepting wholesale orders for retail stores and online shops! Please contact us for wholesale inquiries! We know your customs will love Design Gem products!

Monday, February 16, 2015


Happy Monday, Blogettes! I am back from a fabulous vacation in the lovely mountain town of Breckenridge, Colorado where the amazing Blake proposed to me! (insert engagement ring, heart and celebration emojis!)

Breck has always had a special place in our hearts as a couple. It was our first vacation spot together as a couple and since then, we have visited several times in the summer and winter time.

In particular, we have a very favorite restaurant there called The Hearthstone. I highly recommend it for anyone going to Breck. Anyway, we tagged along with my parents on this trip so they got to join in on the fun! I had made reservations for The Hearthstone and it ended up that we were running late for our reservation and I was not a happy camper but I soon learned that it was part of the plan. Because we were running late, my parents dropped Blake and I off at the front door. We were directed to our awesome table in which we sat down. Blake told me that he had recently realized we had been dating for 1,113 days and that each day I have become more his best friend and how much he loved me. Blake is pretty frequent with his sweet words so I did not think much of this. Then, the waitress brought us some champagne! I thought that was so sweet but I truly had no idea a proposal was in store. We drank our champagne and as I sat my drink down Blake said, "what's that right there?" and pointed to a very sparkly and gorgeous ring! We pulled the ring out and he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Blake's main objective was the catch me off guard and he did for sure. Side note: He asked if we could go look at rings next week so I really thought there was no way that we could be getting engaged on this trip!

Champagne glass that my ring was sitting in the bottom of. Blake was worried I would see the ring in the champagne as the waitress brought it. I did not see a thing and Blake actually had to point the ring out to me. Haha.

Right after we got engaged, Blake called my parents and said they could come in. They were in on the plan the whole time. It meant the world to me that Blake included them in the proposal.
My parents and us. Such a special night.

Now Breckenridge holds a more special place in our hearts. As beautiful and as special as Breck is, we have decided to get married there! 7/17/15 here we come! 

Monday, November 10, 2014


I recently added pencils to my etsy shop. It was torn between producing a product with cute saying and producing a product with something meaningful. I chose meaningful. I am still trying to figure out why that was such a tough decision for me.

Gratitude Changes Everything. This is my life motto. Seriously. I hate to admit it on the world wide web but I am selfish. I lack gratitude, a lot of it. I am coming to terms with the fact that I compare my life to "perfect people on social media" and it leaves me so not content, wanting more and very selfishly not gracious for what I have. I made these pencils as a reminder to myself and hopefully to others, too.

I often let myself be defined by the clothes I wear, the designers things I think I "need" to fit in, what the inside of my house looks like etc. It's my fault for choosing to put my worth in these materialistic things but what I am learning is that I want to change because my worth is not in these things. It's exhausting trying to put my worth in material things, too. Clothes, purses, jewelry and decorating my home are so fun--but they do not define me. My heart, my compassion, my love for others and my servants heart are the things I want to be defined by.

I have been trying hard to be grateful and name off everything I am grateful for as soon as that itch of not being content strikes. My family, my boyfriend, my puppy, my etsy shop, my full time job, a home I own, food on my table, genuine friends, a car...the list could go on. As soon as I start naming off the things I am gratitude for, a wave of hope and calmness comes over me. I immediately feel better and happy for all the blessings in my life. Gratitude does indeed change everything.

Contentment and gratitude are my struggles. But they are almost my opportunities for deep growth.

Do you ever struggle with contentment and lack of gratitude? Leave me a line.

Hope you have a wonderful Monday. xoxo -Taylor


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