Rachel Awtrey

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Lifestyle | Travel | Faith | Marriage

S'mores Brownie Bars
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If you bopped on here from Dwell605’s cookie blog post, I am so thrilled that you are here and hope you leave with one more cookie recipe for your cheery season!

It’s that time of year: Christmas cookies, cookie swaps and all things sweet! I don’t know about you but I find myself scrambling, resulting to old family recipes I just haven’t mastered and Pinterest for all of my cookie ideas. No fear, friends! A few other bloggers and I have gathered together and rallied a few recipes for you - don’t fret! Between all of us, there’s got to be one that makes you excited for your next office party, cookie swap or family gathering!

My cookie contributions is pretty easy, super sweet and great for those that love chocolate!

Imagine you’re at a campfire, roasting s’mores and instead of chocolate, you put in a brownie in the middle. Yep. We’re going there! It’s fail-proof and great for kids, too!

What you’ll need…

  1. Your favorite box brownie mix (plus the ingredients that includes)

  2. A box of graham crackers

  3. A Milk Chocolate Hershey’s Bar

  4. Mini Marshmallows

How you’ll make them…

  1. Preheat oven to temperature according to your boxed brownie directions

  2. Spray and line a 9x13” baking dish with graham cracker pieces

  3. Mix together ingredients for your favorite brownie mix

  4. Gently pour over the brownie mix over the graham cracker lined baking dish. (Be careful! The graham crackers will want to move!)

  5. Bake slightly less than the brownie directions call for and take out of oven just before being finished

  6. Layer marshmallows on top of almost-baked brownies

  7. Break apart Hershey’s bar and stick corners in various places in the brownies.

  8. Finish baking according to box directions

  9. Let cool, cut into brownie pieces and serve warm! (might I suggest vanilla ice cream on the side?)

Bon apetit!

Now, if you’d like, you can head over to my friend Mi Casa Di Bella’s cookie, it’s quite scrumptious!

 
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Friendsgiving Hosting
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The other evening we hosted a Friendsgiving party and it was THE MOST fun! It was way easier than we ever anticipated so we wanted to share our tid-bits and secrets with you this season! There’s lots that goes into this but it makes it all worth it once you have your friends and loved ones around a table breaking bread and laughter bouncing off of your walls!

The Invitations

Yes, you could text your guests to let them know that you are hosting a fun party but how fun are invitations? I have always loved receiving a thoughtful invitation with information about the event and what I can expect in a fun way. This year, instead of doing printed and mailed invitations or e-vites, I designed my own invitation and sent it with the text. It says “you are thought of!” To use my design as a template for yours!

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The Table

Yes, you could go get lots of fun decor for your table and make it super fancy but I like to shop from my home! I go and grab pumpkins, fall decor, greenery, flower vases, platters, candlesticks and votives to decorate our space.

This year, we decided to go with a long family-style table and it was the most fun! We had around 20 guests so it was a way that everyone felt included, you could see everyone and it was easy, with the way our house is set up, to get in and out for seconds (or thirds). We combined 3 card tables, borrowed some chairs, covered with some inexpensive table cloths and a layer of craft paper (in case there were any spills, makes for easy clean up with larger groups)

If you’re having a smaller get together, you could go with real plates, heck, you could even pull out your china if you’d like! Or, you could run to your favorite store (cough, Target, cough) and grab a few of your favorite festive plate and serving ware. We found dinner plates, dessert plates and gold utensils.

The Food

By no means do you feel like you have to prepare all of the food! On my invitation, I asked people to bring a side and drink of choice! That way, we had plenty of wine and food to go around! Need side ideas?

Entree ideas: Turkey, ham, pot roast, tenderloin

Side ideas: Sweet potato casserole, veggies, bread/rolls, a salad, stuffing, gravy, cranberry dressing, mashed potatoes, corn bread

Dessert ideas: Pumpkin pie, pecan pie, spice cake, cookies of your choice

This Friendsgiving, I paired up with Ashley Mac’s in Birmingham, Alabama and they gave us the ham, sweet potato casserole, rolls, corn bread dressing and pecan pie. They are AMAZING! If you’re on-the-go or would want to easily impress people this Thanksgiving, make sure to put in an order from their Holiday menu! Use the code RACHEL10 for 10% off! All you have to do is pick it up, put it in your fridge and heat up with the direction on the top! So easy!

Make sure to have platters and serving ware ready to go for your dishes, a lot of people will bring them without! That’s alright! It gives an occasion for those platters to come out of the pantry!

I set up a buffet for ours using the long table for the sides. If someone wanted seconds, they could ask to pass the dish just like the good ole days!

Pro tip: We heated up the dessert as people finished dinner!

The Drinks

Of course, after asking people to bring their drink of choice, you’ll end up with a lot of yummy drink options. We provided a sangria for our guests and it was a HIT! Here’s the recipe!

The Music

I created a jazz playlist that played the whole night. It’s upbeat enough to be tons of fun but smooth enough to not cause chaos! Feel free to use this at your upcoming Friendsgiving/Thanksgiving as well!

Last Minute Details

Light your candles, turn off your heat (!! it will get toasty with all of those people), turn on your music and pull those dishes out of the oven, you’re ready for a party!

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My Sephora Picks

It’s fun to go makeup shopping, looking at all the colors, sorting through the pallets, thinking through “what do I truly need/want.”

I’ve gotten to a point where my products, for the most part are “clean” and non-toxic. Surprisingly, there are some great non-toxic picks at Sephora that I cannot go without. Here they are! If I’m ever going into Sephora, I don’t ever exit with at least one of these!

What are your Sephora favorites?

 
Old Navy Sale!

It’s true! It’s true! If you know anything about me, you know that I love a good sale and I love sharing it with friends! So, here you go! Old Navy is hosting their Friends and Family sale but quick! It ends Sunday, November 4 at the end of the day! If you missed it, no biggie! These picks are still some of my favorite fall staples! Joggers, sweaters, color blocked shirts, all of the goodies for the Holidays coming up!

 
My Mascara Picks
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Mascara is my thing! Mascara completes any look, all you do is swipe on and go! Or, at least, that’s the hope, right? For many years, I was having to spend a few minutes just on my lashes to make sure they 1) weren’t “clumpy” 2) they were separated and covered well and 3) having to apply multiple layers just to get the look I wanted.

Now, I have found the way to go about doing my lashes with my four favorite that I always have in my makeup bag. They’re all very different and you may prefer one over the other depending on your lash type. I’m digging into all of the details below on what you should know about each to get the lashes to the perfection you’ve always wanted!

Better Than Sex by Too Faced

This is my absolute favorite, hands down. There’s not many mascaras out there that can out preform this bad boy. An awkward and unfortunate name, but a great mascara! It goes on thick with only one or two swipes. The “fluffiness” of the brush allows all of your lashes, inside and out, to get reached when applying. It’s a little bit more expensive than regular mascara but trust me, it’s worth the splurge. The only thing I would change about this formula is the small amount of flakiness that you may find under your eyes after about 10 hours of wear. It’s not noticeable unless you look in a magnified mirror - just wanted to be honest! My friends with shorter lashes are not fans of this particular mascara but if you have medium to longer lashes, you’ll appreciate this one!

L'Oréal Lash Paradise

People will say that this mascara is the “dupe” for the one above. Although it’s similar, it’s definitely not the same when you look at performance. I wish I could say it was because the price is substantially less expensive but you’re paying for what kind of quality you’re getting. It’s a thicker mascara than other drug store brands, but doesn’t go on as seamlessly as the one above. The packaging is similar and the thickness of the actually formula is similar, that’s about it. I found that my lashes were clumping rather than being evenly separated like the Too Faced mascara above. Just my personal opinion! Others love it, so it may be something to try out if you’re on a budget but still want a thicker mascara!

L'Oréal Voluminous Million Lashes

This one was my absolute fave before I found the ones above. If you have shorter and/or thinner lashes, this could be for you! It’s all about volumizing those puppies so you’ll find that this formula may take a few more minutes of application to get the same affect but you have more control since it’s a bit thinner.

Beautycounter Volumizing Mascara

You’ll either absolutely love this or hate it - I’ve heard people feel both about this one! However, this has been a staple of mine for about a year now! It’s another “quick swipe” one that you’ll love if you like a quick routine. It’s luxurious for several reasons: it’s clean, there’s no harsh chemicals, there’s no flaking and it lengthens and adds volume to your lashes. However, it is a thinner formula and takes a few layers of application to get the same affect as the ones above.

If you’re looking for a new mascara, any of the ones above are top notch and out-preform all of the other hundreds of mascara types and brands on the same shelves! You can’t go wrong with any of these and these are four of the best that I always keep on hand! I can’t wait to hear what you think! What are you favorite mascara brands?

My Fall Decor Picks

Now that it finally feels like Fall around here in Birmingham Alabama, I’m finally bringing out the pumpkin decor, lighting my scented candles and making all of the spiced baked goods.

I’m decorating corners of my house to show off this fun Autumn season to all of the friends and guests I host! To be honest, I wasn’t super impressed with a lot of the options this year but I did find a few golden nuggets so I figured I’d share them with you!

 
The Best Fall Mug
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Couldn’t wait any longer to share with y’all my favorite fall mug I got! My friends at Darling Savage were nice enough to give me a code for y’all to use too! I’ve tagged their website below so go ahead and treat yourself to one of these AMAZING mugs! Use the code “AWTREY20” for 20% off!

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Let Me Introduce Myself

We’ve added a few new friends to this “team” of ours so I figured I’d share a few things you can expect + get pumped for around here! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
1. We love sharing sales + good steals and deals! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
2. I share recipes that will IMPRESS YOUR BOO + change the game in your kitchen 🍲🍴 ⠀⠀⠀ 3. I like taking care of myself and will share health tips + tricks (like these blue light glasses 👓🤓) but also ways to treat yo’self and splurge (like my new fave nail color or Ben and Jerry’s flavor 🍦💕) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
4. My husband and I just bought a freakin’ house so you can expect lots of fun decor ideas + places to buy your next fave piece for your home. 🏡 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 5. Annnnnnd as a “thank you” I love giving away “happys” and random + frequent giveaways should be no surprise ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Xoxo,
Me

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Daily Devotional
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My thought this morning:
What if my obedience assists in someone else’s breakthrough?
What if my boldness brings about someone’s freedom?
It’s bigger than us. ✨ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Also, loving “New Morning Mercies” by Paul David Tripp - if you’re looking for a daily devotional, look no further! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
And if you’re looking for a Bible, try the @shereadstruth Bible! It has devotionals throughout with maps, helpful information to fully understand scripture and other fun stuff! 🙌🏻

I Hope You Feel Strong

When you look in the mirror, I hope you feel strong.
Not because of how “fit” or “tone” you are. 
Not because of the size of your jeans or how many rings you completed on your Apple Watch that day (guilty).
But because of how our bodies were created to live, because of what our bodies can do, what we can lift, what we can go through, what we can accomplish with what we’ve been given. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
It’s bigger than being our “prime” weight or what’s on our plate. It’s about acknowledging our Creator and all of the ways He has made us to do incredible things and respecting His talent at creating a beautiful and powerful thing like you + me. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
So friends, I hope you feel strong.
💪🏽💪🏻💪🏾💪🏼💪🏿