My Favorite Blogs (That I Hope Become Your Favs!)

My Favorite Blogs at Cup of Tea

Ever since I started blogging, I’ve had the best time getting to know other bloggers! It’s just such a hoot swapping stories, getting inspiration, and sharing ideas.

I was featured by Tif over at Bright on a Budget for Tour Around Blogland. Basically, it’s a chance to share some of my favorite bloggers! (Others have also talked about their blog process, but I’m shaking things up!)

I’ve been an avid blog reader for several years now (I actually prefer reading blogs over reading magazines!) and I love being a part of the community, even though I am on a relatively small scale. And when it’s nap time, and a rainy day (like it is today), one of my favorite things is curling up with the lap top and cruising Blog Lovin’ and do a little reading.

So here are a few of my favorite bloggers at the moment!

Bright on a Budget | If you love fashion and beauty, but aren’t willing to break the bank for it, then Tif at Bright on a Budget is your girl! I am always SHOCKED at the amazing deals she scores. My favorite posts are her Wardrobe Re-Wear features, like this one. So clever, that one! She is a serious bargain shopper, but love her every day life posts as well. We will be hosting a giveaway together soon, so stay tuned!

Come Home for Comfort | Whitney at Come Home for Comfort features amazing recipes, clever organizational tips (like this!), and all around good cheer. Every time I read a post of hers, it feels like I should be curled up on her couch, under a cozy blanket, sipping some tea and just chatting. And she’s from the MidWest, so bonus! 🙂

In Residence | I don’t remember exactly when I stumbled on Anne’s blog, but I loved it the moment I did! First, she’s married to a resident, so we have those fun years of supporting our doctor husbands during their medical training. Second, our kiddos are only a few weeks apart!  Third, and most importantly, her content is so awesome! I especially love her style posts, but her recipes always look delicious. Plus, she always recommends some good reads (in the book form, not blog form).

But First, Coffee | So if you like beauty reviews and makeup tutorials, style, and recipes all with a touch of sarcasm, Kallie is your girl! She was also the host of that fun Mug Swap I mentioned a few weeks back. But, seriously, I love her writing style. I have had tea coming close to shooting out of my nose on several occasions, which is something you don’t expect from reading a mascara review post. While I love reading her posts, her 60 second review videos (like this one) are pretty stellar! Plus, she’s a hot drink fan. That should be enough of an endorsement right there!

Here are a few other favs, grouped by category:

Beauty/Hair/Style:
The Small Things Blog
Lauren Elizabeth
Designer Bags & Dirty Diapers
Lily Pebbles
Un-Fancy
Life with Emily
Vivianna Does Makeup
A Spoonful of Style
Coffee With Caitlin
Polka-Dotty Place
For All Things Lovely

Mommy & Baby:
Hello Bee
The Stir Crazy Moms’ Guide to Durham (if you’re local!)

Food/Cooking:
Cookie and Kate (vegetarian)
Lemon Jelly Cake (she writes about other topics too, but her baking recipes are to die for!)

Organization & DIY:
I Heart Planners
I Heart Arts & Crafts

A bit of a round up for you! Hope you take some time to visit a few new blogs!
Do you have any current favorite blogs? Let me know down below!

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Baby Led Weaning | Modified for Everyday



Baby Led Weaning Modified for Everyday | Cup of Tea

Like all things baby related, when you hit a new milestone, you research like crazy to figure out what’s best, what to do, what’s recommended…. it’s exhausting and intimidating.  Feeding and solid foods are no exception!

When we hit Solid Food time with our daughter at 6 months, I came across Baby Led Weaning and thought it sounded like fun, but I wanted to modify the concept to fit our everyday lives.

I’ve mentioned a few times on the blog that we’re doing this, and received some questions. So, for all you new moms out there, doing the same research I did about 4 months ago, let me walk you through what we did.  It may work for your baby when the time comes, or it may not.

Aren’t babies fun and fickle?

This isn’t meant to explain what BLW is!  I’m no expert.  If you need more information on that, check out the official website or the Wikipedia page.

There are also SO MANY blog posts and YouTube videos that help explain this.  I spent a lot of time reading, and here’s what I found helpful:

So why did we choose BLW instead of starting with traditional pureed foods? 

The first and biggest reason was I was lazy.  I figured if I had to prepare the food to either steam or roast, I didn’t want to go to the extra step of pureeing.  Totally lazy.

Second, if my daughter had to get used to eating texture at some point, I figured we should start from the beginning. (Of course, this only works in theory if your baby doesn’t mind texture!)

And finally, our daughter just seemed to have the personality for it.  She was independent and curious.  I knew neither of us would have much patience with spoon feeding.

But, like most things with a baby, babies learn to eat differently.  Some are picky eaters, others aren’t.  Some have a hard time with texture, others don’t!  While you may think BLW is the best thing ever for your baby, your baby may not think so.  Just experiment and see what works best for you and your baby!  Purees or BLW, it’s all good!

What were some of your daughter’s first foods?

Here is where I feel like we started to drift away from BLW.  Instead of just diving in with any ol’ food, I followed the more traditional philosophy of feeding vegetables first and then fruits, but it was just a more accelerated timeline.  Instead of trying one new food for a week, we just did it for a few days.  And instead of sticking to only one food at a time, we tried several things at once (like sweet potatoes and carrot one day, avocado and blueberries the next).

To prepare the foods, I just cut the veggies into sticks and roasted them in the oven with a little olive oil, instead of steaming/pureeing.  I also wanted her to experience the spoon at least once a day and know how to eat off of it. BLW is messy, and if we’re out to eat or at someone’s house, it’s easier to clean up after spoon feeding than BLW.

Some of my daughter’s favorite first foods for the first month were:

  • Avocado
  • Sweet Potato
  • Carrot
  • Corn
  • Strawberry
  • Blueberry
  • Oatmeal with applesauce

Once we hit about 7 months, and her grasp started getting better, I started introducing other foods, like full fat yogurt, scrambled egg, shredded cheese, canned or cooked dried beans and other grains.  This is where the “eat what we eat” style of BLW came in.  If I was making us something for dinner, I’d either feed her the dinner as is (like pasta with a simple sauce and veggies) or pull out the ingredients for her to eat separately (like black bean enchiladas – I would set aside plain black beans for her to eat, along with avocado).

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What’s a typical food day?

Now that my daughter is 10 months old, she eats 3 meals a day, and one snack.  Some days she wolfs down the food; other days she just picks at it.  Doesn’t really matter!  “Food before one is just for fun!”

Here is an example of a typical day of food for her:

  • Breakfast: 6 oz formula in bottle (what isn’t finished goes in her sippy cup for the meal); 1 egg, scrambled; handful blueberries or other fruit; shredded cheddar cheese
  • Lunch: 4 oz formula in sippy cup; Hummus (spoon fed) and pita bread (torn up into small bites); Roasted sweet potatoes
  • Snack: 4 oz formula in sippy cup; full fat yogurt (spoon fed); fruit of some sort
  • Dinner: 4 oz formula in sippy cup; canned black beans; avocado; bits of tortilla
  • Bedtime: 6 oz formula in bottle (normally eats 4ish)

I was surprised that I actually STILL have a hard time thinking of things for her to eat.  I thought the advantage to BLW was that they ate what you ate, so easy!  But thinking of things that aren’t too spicy, or too salty, or too sweet can be a challenge.  And things that are soft and toothless baby friendly!

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Any favorite feeding gear you recommend?

Feeding gear was one category I completely overlooked when preparing our baby registry.  Here are some of the things that have made our lives easier when we moved to solids:

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Are you in the throws of solid feeding yet? Any tips for new moms out there, whether you’re doing BLW or purees??  Share them!

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Menu Monday – Favorite Desserts Spotted on Pinterest


Favorite Recipes from Pinterest | Cup of Tea blog

So we’re currently galavanting around the Michigan countryside, so no need for our usual Menu Monday post.

Instead, I thought I would gather my favorite, drool-worthy dessert recipes from Pinterest.  I’ve made all of these myself, and can attest to the Yummy Factor of these recipes!

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes from BrownEyed Baker

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes – Recipe from Browneyedbaker.com

I made these cupcakes for the first time for an Olympics Opening Ceremony party.  There are MANY steps to this, but the payoff was absolutely delicious!  I’m definitely making these again the next time there’s an ‘Merica themed party!!

Mint Oreo Ice Cream Cake from Life, Love Sugar

Mint Oreo Brownie Ice Cream Cake – Recipe from lifeloveandsurgar.com

I was so intimidated when my husband said, for his birthday, he’d like a homemade ice cream cake!  I had never made one before.  When I found this recipe on Pinterest, I thought it looked easy enough.  So right!!  And the combo of brownie and Oreo was so yummy!

Buckeyes from Cooks Country

Homemade Buckeye Candies – From cookscountry.com

Unfortunately, like most Cook’s Illustrated & Cook’s Country recipes, you must be a “subscriber” to access them…. so obnoxious. This recipe is similar.  Anyway, these Buckeyes are so delicious!! I make a huge batch of these for the holidays, or when my husband wants a tasty treat.  I keep these in the freezer when it’s just us consuming them.  They’re actually really good frozen!  Plus, since  I’m from Ohio, these make my heart smile.

Martha Stewart's Angel Food Cake

Angel Food Cake – From Martha Stewart

I am a sucker for Angel Food Cake.  I love the light, airy texture.  Not to mention the fact that it’s fat free.  I make a simple sauce with strawberries, and drizzle over top of the cake.  I usually just make an angel food cake from a box (always a winner!) but decided to try a good ol’ Martha Stewart version, just for kicks.  It was fab!! Now, in a pinch, the box version works as an easy dessert!  But if you’re wanting to roll up your sleeves and make one from scratch, try this one!  (I didn’t make the elderberry sauce the recipe describes.  Please, Martha Stewart – where does one find elderberries when you don’t live in Maine?)

I’ll be back to the regular Menu Monday next week.  In the meantime, if you’re looking for other yummy dessert recipes, check out my Desserts Pinterest board!

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Wish List | What I Want for My 30th Birthday


30th Birthday Wishlist
1. See by Chole | 2. Flats | 3. Brushes | 4. Mug | 5. Necklace | 6. Handbag | 7. Bakeware Set

July is my Birth Month! Yippee!  This year is my 30th…. not sure how I feel about that yet.

If the world were perfect, the above it what I’d want for my birthday!  Now, some of this is really extravagant ($350 bakeware set??), but a girl can dream, right?

1. See by Chloe perfume – I gave this a sniff when I was at Sephora the other day, and it smells so beautiful!  The perfect hint of floral without knocking your head off.

2. C. Wonder Flats – so apparently the cute whale ones are sold out online, BUT I spied them in the window when I strolled past our C. Wonder store at our mall.  I may have to go back and pick them up as a Happy Birthday present to myself 🙂

3. Real Techniques Core Collection Brush Set – I’ve heard great things about the Real Techniques brushes.  I’m not a makeup brush user, but I’m trying to be.  These are reasonably prices and I hear they are great quality!

4. Royal Albert Friendship Green Vintage Mug – Isn’t that mug adorable?  It’s the kind of mug I’d have on display in my tea cupboard.  Right next to my commemorative Will & Kate Royal Wedding mug.  (Yes, I own one… don’t judge)

5. Baublebar Peacock Chandelier Collar Necklace – Every time I go on to Baublebar’s website, I see this necklace, put it in my shopping cart, but never purchase it.  I don’t know why! It’s a good price, and it hot pink.

6. Kate Spade Holly Street Ashton – This mint color is just adorable, and I love a top handle bag.

7. Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch Non Stick 15 Piece Bakeware Set – So this is a bit much.  It’s a $350 bakeware set… but I’m in desperate need of new bakeware, and this is the best.  (Husband, if you’re reading this, maybe just the cake pans to start??)

So I wish…. I dream…. I don’t need any of this, but it’s fun!

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Vegetarian California BLTs



Today I’m sharing with you one of my favorite summer sandwiches!

I’m sure you have seen a similar sandwich elsewhere, and I know this probably isn’t an original creation, but oh well!

We call this a “California” BLT because my husband and I “invented” this sandwich while we lived in California.  See what we did there?  Interesting fact.

Here are the basic ingredients.  You can of course use whatever bacon you prefer, whether it’s full strength, turkey, or veggie.  These veggie Morningstar Farms ones are classic and yummy!

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First up, make some guacamole.  My quick way is to mash avocado with a fresh salsa.  You get the onion, cilantro, garlic and acidity all in one with the salsa.  If you need a quick guac, that’s my top tip! 20140609-200210-72130948.jpg

Next, build the sandwich!  Toast the bread.  Add a layer of guacamole.  Then add the sprouts, bacon, and cucumber.  Top with your other slice of bread.

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And done! Yum-o!!20140609-200225-72145142.jpg20140609-200241-72161681.jpg

We had some roasted potatoes.  Quite a satisfying meal!20140609-200254-72174553.jpg 20140609-200255-72175403.jpgMommy Tip: For those that do Baby Led Weaning, you can easily break this sandwich up into baby friendly parts.  My daughter is obsessed with avocado, and would probably eat the guacamole or certainly just the avocado.  The bread can be cut up into strips.  Even the cucumber for the littles with a few teeth would be tasty!

Anyway, here’s a “proper” recipe:

California BLT Sandwich

Ingredients:
Bread
Avocado (2)
Fresh Salsa (approx 4 TB)
Bacon – your choice – 3 strips per sandwich
Sprouts
Cucumber
Any other sandwich toppings you prefer!

1. Toast sandwich bread

2. Cook the bacon according to package instructions.

3. Make your guacamole – for my quick version, halve the avocado, remove the pit, and scoop the avocado flesh into a bowl.  Add to the avocado 2-3 TB of salsa.  Mash.  If the avocado needs a bit more salsa to help mash (if they are barely ripe and little firm), add.

4. Build your sandwich!  In our house, the order is: Bread, Avocado, Sprouts, Bacon, Cucumber, Bread.

Enjoy!!