mobile 2017The Cocooners: 2017

Baby Briggs: 1 Year Milestones {Info-graphic}

Tuesday, December 12, 2017
My smallest bundle of boy joy is one year old today!  We celebrated with a small smash cake and Briggs was not very interested.  But he made a mess, as expected.

I made a sweet little info-graphic for his one year milestones.  I hope you can find some inspiration in this as well.  It really is a great way to capture your baby's first year in a simple yet meaningful way.


Happy birthday, Briggs.  Mom, Dad and big brother love you so much!!

25 Most Popular Gifts of All Time

Monday, December 11, 2017
Just in case you need some more Christmas Gift inspiration, I've compiled my 25 Most Popular Gifts of All Time (from The Cocooners Gift Guides).

These are items that I've gotten the most comments about, have received the most clicks and that have actually been purchased by some of my loyal readers (thanks for supporting the blog!!).

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link. There is no additional cost to you. Thank you for shopping and supporting the blog*


Click on any item above to be taken directly to the product {except for #19, the Stitch Fix gift card.  Click here for that}!

Also, check out some of my past gift guides below.  You're sure to find a gift that suits your needs or crosses off a name on your list!
{Most of these items are sold out but I loved this guide.  Too funny, if I do say so!}

Of course there are more great items and gifts below.



Crazy that the gift guide series will be wrapping up next week.  Christmas is almost here and then the New Year is around the corner.  I'm hoping to get out of the house with my man but that might seriously be wishful thinking.  Perhaps I'll dress up and get all sparkly even if we stay home.  I'm not kidding.

Would you dress up for a night in?

Wanted: Carrot Cake Balls With Cream Cheese Glaze

Friday, December 8, 2017
Christmastime is great for making sweets.  Lots of people bake cookies, have cookie exchanges and even full out cookie parties!  But cookies shouldn't get all the hype for Christmas.

Enter carrot cake balls.


They are so good and so incredibly easy, you will not believe it until you make them yourself!  I'm not sure why I couldn't find more recipes or Pinterest pins about these.  Perhaps because carrot cake tends to be a bit more moist than other kinds of cake so it doesn't lend itself to being on a stick like other cake balls or cake pops...?  I actually really enjoy the soft texture of these treats.  I don't dip mine in white chocolate because I just feel a cream cheese glaze let's the cake shine.  Speaking of the cake...

My mom makes THE best carrot cake.

Hands down.  Hands up.  Jazz hands, whatever.  It's the best.  But she sells her cakes so I didn't want to ask her for the recipe just yet.  Maybe we'll put it in a cookbook one day but for now, let's let her get her retired side hustle on and just use a box mix.  My favorite boxed carrot cake is Betty Crocker.  I've compared it to other brands and it seems to be the most moist and flavorful.  It still doesn't compare to my mother's and nothing will so I've come to terms with that.  However, for this recipe, I find that a box mix actually works better.  Nobody wants to mess with the pure awesome carrot cake goodness of my mother's cake.

So here I go again sharing another shortcut recipe (remember the Mac-n-Cheese?).  Don't judge.  Just make these and enjoy the serotonin boost.









Ingredients:
1 box carrot cake mix (Baked according to package directions) 
3/4 tub cream cheese frosting

Cream Cheese Glaze:
1/4 tub cream cheese frosting

Directions:

  • Bake cake according to package directions.  Cool.
  • In large bowl, crumble cake making sure to break up any big pieces.
  • Add about 3/4 of a tub of cream cheese frosting.  I used Betty Crocker (not pictured, sorry!).  Mix well until no crumbs remain.
  • Form "dough" into small 1" to 1 1/4" balls and place on cookie sheet.  You can cover the cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper before putting the cake balls on it if you want.
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Heat remaining 1/4 tub of frosting in microwave for 30 seconds.  Stir and microwave for 15 more seconds until a drizzling consistency.
  • Using a teaspoon, drizzle the glaze over the cooled balls (insert 12 year old boy laugh).  
  • Let sit until glaze hardens up.  Serve!

Are you going to stick to making cookies this year for Christmas or branch out and make other special treats?  I think next up for me is Cream Cheese Peppermints!

2017 Holiday Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers and Petite Presents

Monday, December 4, 2017
No worthy gift guide series would be complete without a roundup of stocking stuffers.

For this guide I also wanted to include small items that can go under the tree.  I just love the way small sized presents look mixed in with bigger ones.  And, I tend to buy our stocking stuffers much closer to Christmas so selfishly in doing research for this post, I actually got inspired to shop and not wait.


My aim, however, is to inspire you so I made this guide inclusive of different types of giftees.  You can click on the picture in the graphic to take you right to the item to shop!

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link. There is no additional cost to you. Thank you for shopping and supporting the blog.*


1 ~ 2 ~ 3 ~ 4 ~ 5 ~ 6 ~ 7
8 ~ 9 ~ 10 ~ 11 ~ 12 ~ 13
14 ~ 15 ~ 16 ~ 17 ~ 18 ~ 19

Happy December 2017 + Life Update

Friday, December 1, 2017
December is here!

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link. There is no additional cost to you. Thank you for shopping and supporting the blog*

~Sweater (under $25!!); Lipstick (fancy but awesome)~

For me, it really is the most wonderful time of the year.  This girl right here loves Christmas and all that it truly means.  Celebrating Jesus in the spirit of giving, peace, hope, joy and above all love, makes me feel warm and fuzzy.  My baby Briggs is about to turn one!  Dax loves Christmas too... still trying to get my Mr. in the spirit even half as much as me. He's gotten much better and more jolly through the years, especially after we had kids.  I think now that this will be my first Christmas as a stay at home mom, I may go a bit Holiday crazy.  And I'm absolutely ok with that!

Online Black Friday Sales Cheat Sheet

Friday, November 24, 2017
I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!

Wow, I'm still full!  I may have eaten too much broccoli rice casserole.  Worth it!  #AmIRight?  I certainly have so much to be thankful for this year.  I'm certainly thankful for you!  I appreciate anyone who reads the blog and gives me a bit of their time.

I'm extra thankful this year for my little family.  It's our first official Thanksgiving as a family of four.  It's still so surreal to me that I'm a stay at home mom.  I'm grateful I get to pick Dax up from school and spend more than 2 hours a day with him and Briggs.  Seriously, when I worked full-time, I would spend about 2 hours each day with the kids.  That included getting them dressed and fed.  Heck, I want 2 hours of snuggles alone, not running around barking orders at my 5 year old and just stuffing a bottle in my baby's mouth.  I felt so disconnected from them and from my husband.  So today, I am so thankful for this new found time with my family.  I will not take it for granted and I will relish in it!

Friendsgiving Brunch Recap + Bundt Cake Bread Pudding

Wednesday, November 22, 2017
I'm going to be honest here, this is not much of a Friendsgiving Brunch Recap.  I forgot to take pictures!  Who, but me, plans a Brunch for her blog and forgets to take pictures?  Do better girl, do better.  

I was running late and chatting and cooking at the same time.  I totally forgot about pictures.  And what ended up happening?  I had a great time!  Funny how that happens when you are in the moment and not worried about social media or blogging.  But now I'm in deep regret mode.  I was able to get a couple of selfies with the homies at least!


2017 Holiday Gift Guide: Rose Gold Jewelry

Monday, November 20, 2017
Rose Gold is so pretty and feminine.  I can't get enough of it, as evidenced here and here.  I love that even though it is a bit trendy now, it is still non-traditional and eye-catching.  The last jewelry Gift Guide I compiled did quite well (meaning it had a lot of page views) so I thought it was way past time to do another one. 

Here it is featuring Rose Gold Jewelry for the win!

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link. There is no additional cost to you. Thank you for shopping and supporting the blog*



1. ~ 2. ~ 3. ~ 4. ~ 5. ~ 6. ~ 7. ~ 8. 
9. ~ 10.

How To Make a Sensational Shortcut Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Friday, November 17, 2017

There needs to be a bit of a background here before I share the Shortcut Macaroni and Cheese recipe so that you don't judge me.  Well, you may still judge me but this blog is all about keeping it 100 and authentic so if you're here to judge, I'm sure I have lots of material for you.  Ha! 

I am one of those rare people who has no shame.  Ok, I have a little at times but for the most part, I do me, boo!  See above about keeping it 100.  So I may preach to the choir about how amazing Sara Bareilles is and then still jam out to Slave For You by ol' Brit Brit.  I will pair a killer ALC top with some Old Navy jeans and MIA ballet flats with a quickness.  I also love Starbucks on the regular but I buy instant coffee for the house quite often.  I do hi-lo in every aspect of life!  That's all I mean when I say I have no shame.  I just keep it real.

So using a box for Thanksgiving Mac and Cheese is just how I roll.

2017 Holiday Gift Guide: Best of Buffalo Plaid

Monday, November 13, 2017
You know someone who loves buffalo plaid.  I know someone who loves buffalo plaid (I'm into the black and white version myself).  It's such a "thing" for Christmas!  How festive and cute do ladies look in an oversize red and black check button down tunic with leggings and UGGs?  Pretty darn cute!  And how cozy is it to be wrapped up all snuggly warm in big, black and white check throw blanket.  Pretty darn cozy!  

Those images that are now in your head totally evoke the cold weather, Holidays and Christmas.  I just know it.  I also know that gifts in a buffalo plaid print will still be hot this year.  Trending, I tell ya.

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link. There is no additional cost to you. Thank you for shopping and supporting the blog*

Did you know you can click on the picture of the item below in the graphic to shop?!
1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8. 
9. (here and here) ~ 10.11.12.13.

Natch, I scoured the interwebs so you wouldn't have to.  Hey, it's my job.  You have your very own gift shopper here.  Utilize me.  Looking for something specific?  Email me here or ask away on Twitter.

I found so many super cute buffalo plaid gifts that this Gift Guide ended up being pretty busy and full of great items!  There are gifts for almost everyone including babies, moms, uncles, coworkers, and furbabies even (like this cute pet collar)!  More great finds below so shop away!



My Fall Mom Uniform + 5 Coziest Fall Sweaters

Friday, November 10, 2017
I live in this outfit.  It has been on repeat now that the mornings here in North Texas are cooler, meaning I wear it about once a week.  This outfit formula (oversize sweater + jeans + kicks = comfy cute) is my go-to drop off the kid at school in the morning uniform, especially when I run errands right after.  I do break out the leggings as well but I have more jeans in my closet than leggings. Crazy right?


Friendsgiving Brunch Inspiration

Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Thanksgiving is a time for reflection, family, celebrating the harvest and reveling in comfort food.  Friendsgiving is a time for the same but with lots more booze!  I'm hosting a Friendsgiving Brunch the weekend before Thanksgiving and I'm in full planning mode.

Friendsgiving brunch Thanksgiving picture quote

2017 Gift Guide: Gift Sets Under $50

Monday, November 6, 2017
I'm so excited to kick-off this year's Gift Guide series with Gift Sets under $50!  

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link. There is no additional cost to you. Thank you for shopping and supporting the blog!*

There are a couple of reasons why I like gifting and giving gift sets for Christmas.  First of all, they are more substantial than a single item gift therefore you get more bang for your buck.  Or, depending on the type of gift set, e.g. this lip gloss kit, you can split it out and gift to multiple people.  #ChristmasGiftHack.  I found a good assortment of really affordable sets for almost anyone on your list.

Christmas Gift guide gift Sets Under 50

How To Wear Red for the Holidays and Not Look Cheesy

Thursday, November 2, 2017
Before I begin, I have to make a bit of a mea culpa.  Remember when I said that here at The Cocooners, I will focus more on lifestyle posts and my new blog, V-Necks and Vices will be more about fashion and parties?  Well, V-Necks and Vices is going to have to wait awhile.  I want to make sure I give The Cocooners all I can and although I'm no longer working outside of the home, I still find myself fairly busy during the day.  Duh, keeping a 10 month old occupied all day is work!  And Dax too after 3 p.m.  So I may have over estimated myself... Apologies, if you care, lol.  If you have no idea what I'm even talking about or could care less where I post about fashion and style, then we can move on and here's a new Style post just for you.  It's been a while!

Today, I'm talking about Red!

Happy Halloween 2017

Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Happy Halloween friends!

I was such a cheapo this year with the kids' costumes but when you're on a budget, you have to get creative.

Dax wanted to be a Vampire.  Don't ask me what a five year old knows about a Vampire but I went with it.

I bought the cape for him and used my own makeup for his face (this picture was a trial run of his makeup so it will look better tonight.).  That was it.  I didn't buy a shirt or pants so we'll see how that all works out.  #SorryNotSorry.  Luckily, he absolutely loves his "costume".

Best Halloween Treats for Pinterest Moms

Friday, October 27, 2017
It's great when Holidays fall on the weekend but sometimes I actually like it when they fall on an early weekday like Monday or Tuesday. 

Why you ask?


Sunday Wishes and Halloween Dreams

Sunday, October 22, 2017
Happy Sunday, gang!  I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend.  Yes, it's Sunday, technically the start of a new week, but it is still the weekend so don't forget to enjoy today.  I thought it would be cool to share with you all my hopes and dreams for the coming week.  Ok, I'm being dramatic!  But here a few wants, needs, goals and random thoughts that are on my mind. 

We didn't make it to church today although we had every intention of going.  Unfortunately, I've been sick all week with horrible allergy and sinus issues.  Not a fun way to get my first week at home started but at least I'm feeling a bit better today.  I had a slight setback yesterday due to hauling both boys to my twin nieces' first birthday 🎂 party.  I was left so exhausted last night but it was worth it.  Seeing family and celebrating those girls was great.

I HAVE to put out our Halloween porch decorations today or Dax will disown me as his mother.  My bi-monthly grocery store run is today which means I'm going to spend way too much money 💰.


Turkey chili for dinner tonight and loads of laundry along the way.  Exciting!

Top Ten Tuesday: Recipe Bucket List

Tuesday, October 17, 2017
As of yesterday, I am officially a Work From Home Mom.  I decided that I will blog full-time, which for me means posting 2 to 3 times a week and really delivering great lifestyle content to my readers.  I want to be helpful and inspiring and what better way to do that than starting in the kitchen!

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link. There is no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting the blog!*

My love of cooking comes from my maternal Grandmother.  Just like sewing.  I would just sit up under her almost every time she started cooking.  How she never got tired of me is a mystery but she didn't.  We really enjoyed each other's company and she let me help her all the time.  I love how cooking and kitchens bring back memories.  Even if you don't like cooking or never got into it, I bet you have great memories of someone cooking and you eating delicious meals!


Happy Friday - Life Update October 2017

Friday, October 13, 2017
Today is my last day at my full-time job as a Senior Purchasing Coordinator!!  I haven't had a lot of time this week to get a post in but next week should be a game changer, ha!

So until then, here's what I am saying to myself and to you as well:  Faith it 'til you make it.  


Have a great weekend sugar pies!!

10 Things You Don't Know About Me

Friday, October 6, 2017
Thanks to Google Analytics, I know I have several new readers here on The Cocooners (woo hoo)!  So I wanted to share 10 fun facts about me in the hope that you get to know me a bit better and find me more relateable (perhaps, I can be an odd bird at times but I like that about myself).


Throw a Quick & Easy Batman Party

Saturday, September 30, 2017
*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link. There is no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting the blog!*



My sweet son Dax turned five last month.  It's such a milestone birthday and I can't believe how much he's grown in five years.  We had a small family party for him and he wanted a Batman theme so I did my best.  Here are a few pictures of the set up.

See Through Eyes of Compassion

Thursday, September 28, 2017
I don't normally write posts like this but it was on my heart for a while and I'm a definitely listening to what the Universe says these days.  So, warning:  this is long.  Read, don’t read, do you, but I hope you read all the way until the end and please comment with your thoughts.


I always say, humans have big brains for a reason and we need to start using them as God intended. Our big brains allow us to think in ways that the standard animal cannot. We can move past basic biological functions with thought and knowledge. Our baser instincts can be restrained with compassion, empathy and sympathy. It is these things that we as a whole are seriously lacking as a country.

Saw It On Pinterest: Nutella Bombs

Thursday, September 21, 2017
*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link. There is no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting the blog!*


Last week I bought some puff pastry in the hopes of recreating my middle school pizza pockets.  Lo and behold, when I was finally inspired to get down in the kitchen, I found I was out of mozzarella cheese.  This is after I already set my puff pastry sheet out to thaw.  Fail!  So I had to think quick on my toes and figure out what to do with my pastry so it wouldn't go to waste.  

Updated Kitchen Supplies and Gadgets Wishlist

Wednesday, September 13, 2017
*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link. There is no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting the blog!*


In anticipation of working from home in a couple of short months (remember my goal from this post?), I've started meal planning and really trying to organize our lives at the casa.  This series from Living Locurto really helped me get started with the meal planning for dinners (and lunches).  I bought a couple of items from Amazon that have also helped keep me stay organized with my planning: a magnetic chalkboard, dry-erase chalkboard markers w/ chalkboard labels, this cute lunch tote (I have a thing for stripes) and slim ice packs.  


Instagram Update: September 2017

Friday, September 8, 2017
Hey gang!  Happy Friday.  It's so funny how these short holiday weeks can seem so long.  But we have so much to be thankful for heading into the weekend, don't we?  I'm still on par for blogging more but I have to say with school starting for my big little, I've been a tad busier and haven't posted as much as I've wanted to.  July was fire - August, not so much.  I have some good stuff coming up, however so get ready.  Thanks for staying here with me and keeping in tune with my little blog life.  I appreciate you so much!  Here's an Instagram roundup for you on this fine Friday.  

My little little.  I cannot even look at him sometimes, he's so cute.  And that dimple!!  Swoon... #NotHumbleAboutMyBabies 

Blogging: What is an Affiliate Link

Friday, September 1, 2017
I realize that a lot of my readers don't look at blogs the same way I do.  I am obsessed with them and have been for going on 10 years or so.  My first blog (the now defunct Fountain of Fashion) was started way back in 2007!  I had a few other iterations, CC Style and my wedding planning blog, My Dallas Wedding (which still gets a good amount of traffic) but I didn't really understand that you could blog for a living.  


Now that I've been blogging here at The Cocooners since November 2011, I know that I'm going to keep it up and continue my blogging journey for as long as I can and monetizing the blog is a must.  But do my readers even understand exactly what blogging is?  I recently went to brunch with a close girlfriend and after speaking with her, I realized that not a lot of my friends and family know what this all means for me or for them so I thought I would share some information with you today in case you don't understand.  Today the topic is affiliate links and I'll share more on followers, engagement and sponsored posts on other posts next week.

Introducing V-Necks & Vices: A New Blog

Friday, August 25, 2017
This little blog, The Cocooners, may not have a lot of traffic or a lot of readers or a lot of anything else, but it does have my passion.  Through the years it has definitely evolved.  It was always personal but lately, the tone is way more about family and kiddos.  And I'm good with that.  I hope you are!

However, fashion is my first love.  She was here before the husband and the kids and I love her!  So, in order for me to make sure my love for fashion and style is expressed "fully and joyfully" (inside joke quoting the belly dancing twins), I decided to start a new blog with a focus on fashion, styling, parties and indulgences, aka V-Necks and Vices.  

The Cocooners is still here and I'll continue sharing lifestyle posts, recipes and family oriented content.  I hope you enjoy reading both blogs from time to time and as always, thank you so much for your support in reading, shopping and clicking your little hearts out!

5 Hacks to Help Survive Busy Mornings with Kids

Wednesday, August 23, 2017
I was chit chatting with a couple of co-workers about how I am not a morning person and telling them about how I get the kiddos ready in the morning and they said one of my "hacks" was brilliant. They were going to put the information in their back pocket for when they have kids.  It got me thinking:  I should share this information in the hopes that I can help even one soul have an easier morning especially with kiddos starting school and going back to school.


The Best Things To Buy At Target with $60

Wednesday, August 16, 2017
As you may know we had a Giveaway that ended Monday and now I can announce the winner.  Drumroll...

Please...

Louder with the drumroll...

Please...

Seriously, our winner is Michelle James!  Congratulations!!  Now check your email, get your eCards, head to Target, get you your fancy, high calorie coffee confection of choice at the Starbucks inside and go shopping!  Well, that's a mouthful if you say it out loud.

I thought it would be cool to compile a well-rounded shopping lists in case our lovely winner, or anyone else, needed some inspo on how to spend $60 at Target.  So it's not the $250 you normally spend when your budget was $100 (#amiright) but $60 can get you far.  Let's see how far it can get with a few self-care items.  

Goals, Golden Summer & Giveaway {Closed}

Thursday, August 10, 2017
Today is my birthday!


I love birthdays no matter how old I get (so far), ha!  I have to say however, that it can be a time of reflection and self-assessment.  So with my birthday this year, I'm jumping on the "post your goals on the blog" bandwagon, mainly for accountability.  It is written and shared.  This helps me be more accountable to myself and accountable to my readers.  I'm just sharing a short list of 5 goals for now.

End of Summer Sales and Steals

Monday, August 7, 2017
School is about to start and that means Fall is right around the corner.  The retail (especially fashion) industry really likes to push new seasonal items so of course, before the current season is even over, you can find tons of items on sale so they can make room for the new stuff.  With that, I found some great end of season deals.  August is a great time to shop for summer deals and for the coming Fall season.  It also happens to be my birthday month so I do enjoy August quite a bit!


Instagram Update: August 2017

Friday, August 4, 2017
It's Friday, ladybugs and male ladybugs (which are still called ladybugs, right?  So I guess there's no need for differentiation...).  I'm so easily distracted, lol... ok, so Happy Friday guys!!  I'm ready for this one.  It's been a long week.  Little Briggs hasn't been sleeping great and I am exhausted... 

I'm so proud of myself for keeping my promise to you to post more.  Remember from here?  I'm hoping in the next few weeks I keep this momentum going and really push out some great content for you guys (#goals).  

I'm sure you could use some distraction, like me, so here's what I've been up to on Instagram.

Feeling glowy and golden rockin' a Mohawk bun. Would you guys be interested in a tutorial on how to do a Mohawk bun??  If so, let me know in the comments.  The sweater is one I bought from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (this color is sold out but black and pink are in stock!)

Elevate a Super Casual Outfit

Monday, July 31, 2017

I have two simple tips for you to elevate a casual outfit.  
#1) Carry a structured tote like this one from Rebecca Minkoff.  Instant chic.  By the way, this bag is on sale at Last Call!!  
#2) Wear great shoes.  I happened to style this outfit with some fun hot pink ballet flats.  I really love these shoes and they are so comfortable that they really went well with my casual jeggings (my exact pair are sold out but these are great) and top (similar here).