Where have you been?

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Hey everyone!! Oh my, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve blogged. And boy, have I missed it!

Well, life threw me some curve balls (really great ones) and I haven’t been able to find them to blog. But, I had a sec today, so here I am.

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We’ve been a ski trip with friends and made several trips to the doctors office. What can I say, ear infections have loved to hang out at my house. Oh, and strep throat too, ha!

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But, all in all, we’re doing well. The kiddos are growing super fast! My daughter just turned two and is quite the mess-maker, ha! My son is 4 and like to surprise us with random facts, like about satellites and the Internet. Needless to say, they keep up on our toes. And of course, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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As some of you know, I started to carry a small amount of inventory at a local boutique. We call it Tori’s Collections. It has been so much fun to see clothing and accessories – and I love being around all of the locals! You can check out my Facebook page – Tori’s Collections to see what I have. Oh, and some of it is even on sale. Check it out!

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Also, back in November, I became of distributor of LipSense (SeneGence is the company). This was something I wrestled with for two months, but eventually decided to follow my gut on. And you know what, it has been the biggest blessing. I wouldn’t change it for the world! I know have a fabulous team (that’s growing quickly) of ladies that are achieving goals, making money, and learning about themselves during the process. If you would like more info, head to my page Shop LipSense or my Facebook group Glossy Gals to see more. Have a question? Email me at yourgalnextdoor@gmail.com 

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I really hope to keep up with the blog more! I truly enjoy connecting with y’all! Take care and chat soon!!

XO

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Healthy Expectations

Hello, y’all! Lovely for you stop by! Excited it’s Friday? I am! This week has been a blur. A quick overnight night away, walking in a fashion show, and shooting has made for a busy week. Ready for some family time!

Today’s post is a recipe post, but I guarantee it’s a little different than what you’re expecting. You see, I had huge hopes for a candied apple post. After seeing some great recipes around the web, I wanted to make my own! For instances, the Delish “Apple Pops” video inspired me — actually, I thought, “Oh, that looks easy, I bet I can do that!”

After scheduling a time to shoot with my photographer and two trips to the store, it was finally time to make the apples.

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My photographer, Serena is super creative and worked on the apples with me. She had the great idea to sandwich two pieces of apple together instead of using a single slice. I thought that was genius!

First, Serena used a mandolin to slice the apple. Next, I melted the Reese’s peanut butter chips and added the melted peanut butter to a slice. After adding a couple spoonfuls, I added the craft stick and added the other apple slice. To ensure that the apple slices would stick together, Serena threw them in the freezer for a few minutes.

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And then things started to get weird…

After heating the caramel, I tried to drizzle the apples. Well, I wasn’t aware of just how hot caramel gets. OH MY! It burnt my finger and then hardened so quickly that I couldn’t drizzle the apples. So, I added the caramel back to the microwave, and tried to drizzle again. We quickly realized that the caramel was still too hard, so we re-heated it once again. Well, I suggested for Serena to drizzle the apples (she has much better technique) and I stepped behind the camera.

We somewhat got caramel on the apples, but not like we had imagined.

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Next, I wanted to add chocolate to the apples. After following the instructions, I somewhat managed to burn the chocolate. Are we sensing a pattern here? Ha! To loosen the chocolate, I added some coconut oil. Unfortunately, this was not successful.

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By this point, Serena and I had were laughing hysterically and had lost all seriousness. Although, the apples didn’t turn out as planned, we did have a few that looked pretty cute!

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Sometimes things don’t go as planned. That’s life, right? 

You think you cross your t’s and dot your i’s and things still fall apart. Or, you build something up in your head, only for it not to met your expectations. Even in the smallest moments, I can recognize that without God’s grace and healthy perspective, life would be much darker.

I realize making candied apples is not a major life obstacle. I’m still learning. At 30 years, I’m still learning that sometimes expectations can be misleading. While there is nothing wrong with expecting great things, it’s all about how you handle the outcome, especially when it’s not what you had in mind. 

When things don’t work out, sometimes you just have to laugh. I’m not perfect, this blog isn’t perfect, and that is a-ok. Serena and I tried something new and it didn’t go as smooth as we hoped. But, that doesn’t mean we won’t try again.


Is there something you are wanting to try? Have you stuck your neck out and didn’t see the result you wanted? Don’t give up. Pray, listen, and try again.                                                                 Life is too short not try new things.

Ya’ll have a beautiful weekend and try something new!

❤︎❤︎❤︎

XO

It’s All In The Spaghetti

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Hey, y’all! Whew, another week is in the books. I know you’re ready for the weekend. I’m currently packing my bag and will be hitting the road soon. I will be spending the weekend/early part of next week in…ha, just kidding. You’ll have to catch me on IG and/or Snapchat @toriparmer to see what I’m up to. It involves a plane ride, cooler weather, and several of my girls! Oh, and of course, one special bride-to-be! Congrats Lauren!

I need to give a shout out to my incredible, ultra-sweet husband. Thank you for this time to spend with friends. I will really miss you and the kids. In fact, you’re at work and they’re at school, and I already miss you guys. Also, to my parents and in-laws, thank you too! You’re graciousness and love is so appreciated. Thank you for helping Patrick and I!

Ok, now to my post. I’m so excited to share you a sweet and more private view of my world. Below you will see my mom and I cooking spaghetti. Pretty normal, huh? Well, yes, but not really. They say memories are made in the kitchen and I couldn’t agree more. I have watched my mom make spaghetti for as long as I can remember. The moments that we’ve shared while she was cooking (or I was helping) are near and dear to my heart. Whether it was a weekend day meal after a day at school, what she had waiting when I came home for a visit during college, or what my family of four eats now, my mom’s spaghetti is so special. In fact, it’s the first meal that my parents, Patrick, and I enjoyed together. Talk about memories!

Most spaghetti taste the same, excepts for my mom’s. I’m not kidding, I’ve told her a million times that she needs to bottle the sauce and sell it!

First, my mom browns pork and ground beef, then adds the sauce, and then the seasonings. Of course, she doesn’t have a recipe—such a pro. We have to wait to cook the paste so that it doesn’t stick. Trust me, she’s very particular about this.
She has a secret ingredient that sets her sauce apart from the rest. While I wish I could share, she has sworn me to secrecy.

I won’t tell mom, don’t worry!

I so look forward to sharing the same experiences with my kiddos. Maybe one day they will bring their future husband/wife to eat a plate of Nana’s spaghetti. Ok, now that’s got this momma teary-eyed.

Do you have a special family recipe? I would love to hear your story!

Have a beautiful weekend, y’all!

❤︎❤︎❤︎

XO

The Happy Challenge

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August 1, 2016

Hey y’all! How was everyone’s weekend? We had a quite, relaxing weekend that involved playing in the sprinklers and a little barbecuing–so perfect!  

My daughter (for some unknown reason) has been very fussy at night. My husband and I can’t seem to figure it out! Needless to say, this had made me very tired. I don’t know about you, but for me, a lack of sleep is a one-way ticket to a crummy attitude. My “blah” mood this morning was immediately lifted when I wrote this post. Want to know why? I made a list of some of things to be happy about. I immediately felt more positive!

Here is my list…

1. Sunlight 
2. A wet, slobbery baby kiss
3.  Fresh Flowers
4.  Loved Ones
5.  God’s Timing–even when you’re waiting, there is a reason. I love that!
6.  Cupcakes
7.  Forgivness
8.  A good belly laugh
9.  Making someone else have a good belly laugh
10. Daily Chores. I complain, but I truly am thankful for laundry, vacuuming, and washing dishes. I get to take care of my family. 
11.  A Good Hug
12. Fall, football, and foliage 
13. Coffee
14. The way he looks at you
15.  Movie Quotes
16. That you don’t have to have it all together. Because, let’s face it, no one does. No One! 
17. A good workout 
18. A cool, crisp morning 
19. A baby’s first giggle 
20. Clean Sheets–is there anything better?
21. God’s never-ending love

Whew, now that’s what I’m talking about! Maybe I will make this a daily habit? We all have a lot to be happy about. Sometimes, it’s easy to lose grasp of all of the wonderful “things” in life. So, here’s my challenge to you. 

When you have a moment, sit down and right down as many things that you can think of that make you happy.

No matter the number on your list, I guarantee your list will make you smile.

I would love to hear from you. What’s on your list? 

❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎

XO