{I totally planned to make something other than traditional vanilla pound cake again this year for dessert, but my grandmother specifically requested it, so I made it again. She stashed a few slices of it in her purse on her way home - the ultimate compliment. :) }

Hi there! I hope you all had a great holiday weekend! Gosh if Thanksgiving were more than once a year, I'd get to indulge in really good food, quality time with family, and random naps a lot more often. Those are exactly the things I did and it was quite nice! I only left the house to go to a birthday dinner with for my mom and to visit this CRAZY place with my brother... It's fascinating to see what people leave on planes! Anyway, here are just a few photos from my week. My parent's house has very little natural light, but that gave me an opportunity to get a little practice shooting in low light... I hope you all have a wonderful week!

{The wine I had with dinner - my favorite at the moment... }

{Our juicy, fresh, delicious smoked turkey before carving... }

{Me and the AMAZING macaroni and cheese! It was my first time making that particular recipe (minus the tomatoes) and it was so good!! I highly recommend it! }
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Are you as excited as I am about today??!!! I'm about to head to the kitchen to help my mom and finish off my macaroni and cheese (I'm using this recipe this year- minus the tomatoes... ). But before I head to the kitchen, I thought I would take a minute to make a list of things here that I'm thankful for. This year has been a big year of change with some ups and downs in between. Yet - I still have so much to be thankful for...

1. Costco: I finally got a membership this year (so late to the game I know) and it has completely changed my life - and maybe decreased my bank account a bit. But it's been so worth it!

2. My brother: We fought like cats and dogs every single day when we were kids and now he's literally my rock. He's so smart and is the best listener I know. I just adore him.

3. Prayer. I pray in the car. In the shower. At work at my desk. While I wait in a line. While I'm in traffic. Before bed. When I wake up. He listens and answers me.

4. Christmas. My tree has been up for 2 weeks already, so you know I'm thankful for that! :)

5. Wine. Red wine specifically. I recently discovered that a glass of most red wines won't trigger my migraines (Praise the LORD!). Any long stressful day is now made better. :)

6. Maxwell St. James. I think Max will always make these lists. The older he gets, the more he requires long cuddle sessions and lap naps. I couldn't love him more...

7. Dishwashers- especially during this time of the year.

8. Google. Even though it's made me think I was dying of the plague, it get's me where I need to go in a jiffy, has helped me become a better writer, and has saved me HOURS of time.

9. My health. Gosh it has been less than stellar this year for whatever reason, but I'm here. I'm alive and I know thousands of people have been and are going through much worse.

10. My FABULOUS friends, my family, slow cookers, my job, wine (oh did I already say that??), Adele, cozy pj's, almond milk, chocolate, cookbooks, slow Sunday afternoons, and YOU!.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Images 1/2/3/4
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Alright! Christmas is 36 days away (yikes!), so it's high time for the first of my gift guides! I know, I know... There are already so many gift guides out there, so here's the deal with mine... They will be simple, mostly budget friendly, and hopefully really helpful. They will contain gifts that I would totally go buy for a friend or myself (if I don't already have them). I plan to do one guide once a week or so - with the exception of next week because I'll probably be in a food coma! I really love doing these, so I hope you enjoy them! First up: A few books for people who love or want to design, write, and cook... And for people who are simply human. :)

1. The 52 Lists Project: by Moorea Seal -  If you or someone you know makes personal resolutions or goals at the start of each new year and NEVER sticks to them, then I think this book would make the greatest gift. The book is a project of sorts where one make a simple, yet specific short list at the start of each week for a year (i.e. List the happiest moments of your life so far, List ways you can rejuvenate your space, List your best qualities). The action items for each list are designed to create a greater awareness for what you think and have now and how you can grow from them. I know there are more exciting things to do in the world than sitting down and making random lists, but making simple lists like these maybe first thing in the morning instead of picking up a Smartphone could lead one to becoming the best version of themselves - something that is often the last thing on our to-do lists...

2. Habitat: by Lauren Liess - Lauren's design blog, Pure Style Home, was one of the first blogs I started following years ago and I'm still reading it. She now has a new design book that I think every design lover must have - one that is already on my coffee table. She has such a talent for creating warm and inviting spaces made up of a mixture of elements made of different textures and materials. That is something that can be so hard to do, but she tells you exactly how to do it in her book. She also talks about her guidelines for the design process and offers great tips on how to design your own space. Most importantly (I think), it's just full of beautiful inspiration, whether one is designing their own space or not.

3. Home: by Ellen DeGeneres - Ok you know I love Ellen, so it should be no surprise that I bought this book the day it came out. She's so talented and based on her new book, she's kinnnnnnddd of amazing at interior design. In her new book, she shows you the interiors of her beautiful homes and talks about how she found them (some of which she literally bought during a dinner party), shares some lovely homes of her friends, and shares some of her favorite places to shop. The photography is stunning, but the thing I love the most is her writing. She is HILARIOUS! If you know someone who loves Ellen and pretty interiors, then this would make the most perfect gift for them.

4. Simply Nigella: by Nigella Lawson - I could listen to Nigella talk all day. I love her accent and love her simplistic non-nonsense way of cooking. In her newest cookbook, she focuses on feel good food - healthy food that tastes good, food that cooks up quickly during the weeknight, and food that is easy to make for a crowd. If someone you know has a goal for 2016 to get cooking in a good and healthy way for themselves and/or their family, then this would be a great gift for them...

5. 642 Things to Write About: by San Francisco Writers' Grotto -  I LOVE the idea of this book. If you love to write, are a blogger who needs ideas for posts, or have a child who is struggling with writing, then this is the book that will get those creative juices flowing! It's simply a collection of 642 simple questions and/or statements that jog ideas or stories. Some examples: "Describe something you wanted badly and, once you got it, never used," or, " Tell the true story of a dramatic moment in your life, but weave in one secret and one lie, or, "How do you feel about love these days...I could write a novel on that last thought, but I digress. Either way, I think this would make an excellent gift for a creative!

6. Humans Of New York: Stories: by Brandon StantonHumans of New York is definitely one of my favorite Instagram accounts. The stories of the people, that are sometimes just a few sentences, are so touching. Founder Brandon Stanton has just released his second book that highlights stunning photos of New Yorkers along with quotes and interviews of their life and thoughts. The things people go through (the good and bad) are unreal and this book highlights that. It's a humbling book that will make you smile, laugh, shed a tear or two, and just feel grateful for where you are now. I think that's a good gift... 
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So I have this fear - and that fear is of pies - pies from scratch specifically. I don't like making pies because my experience with homemade pie dough has been horrific. I never get it right and I just don't have the patience right now to get it right. Cooks on TV make it look so simple right?? I do want to get it right one day, but for now I thought I'd take a step back and practice with this super easy and DELICIOUS chocolate pecan tart. This is the kind of tart that you make when you baking is not your thing - yet you have been charged with bringing dessert to your holiday gathering, or the kind of tart you make when you have very little time to pull a dessert together. It takes about 15 minutes to make and it's made with a store-bought pie crust and pantry staples. AND it's so good. It's simply a flakey, crisp crust with a gooey chocolate-y center that's topped with pecans that develop this wonderful roasted flavor as they bake. So good. It's just a simple, quick dessert that would be perfect for your holiday table.

Easy Chocolate Pecan Tart | Savor Home

Easy Chocolate Pecan Tart | Savor Home

Here is what you need and what to do:
Adapted from Martha Stewart

1 store-bought pie crust
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional, but I used it and it's good!)
8 oz bag whole pecan halves

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make sure the rack is in the center of the oven.

2. Lightly flour a surface and place to dough on the surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough. Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick. It should be about 9.5 inches in diameter by the time you finish rolling it out. If you aren't used to rolling out dough, don't fret about this step! It only takes a few rolls and your are done!

3. Wrap the dough around the rolling pin and unwrap it over a 9 inch tart pan (I love this one and its price!). Lightly press it into the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim off any leftover dough that hangs over the pan. Place the tart pan on top of a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, unsalted butter, vanilla, and bourbon.

5. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the tart shell. Pour the filling over the chocolate chips. Arrange the pecan halves over the filling in any pattern you like. I arranged them in a circular pattern here. Either way, just make sure they are spread out in one even level so that they cook properly.

6. Bake for about 45-55 minutes, or until the filling has set and the dough has browned and has pulled away from the sides of the pan. If the pecans start browning too fast, then lightly cover the tart with foil until the tart finishes baking. I didn't have to do that, but just in case! Let the tart cool completely before removing it from the pan.

7. I think this is best served warm with a side of ice cream and/or whipped cream, but it's good at room temp, too!


Images by me
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Hi there! Can you believe what you are seeing?? Links!!I know it has been a while, but time just hasn't been on my side lately for me to put these posts together. But I got it together this week! What's up for the weekend? A workout, testing a tart for Thanksgiving, dinner with a friend, ordering my holiday cards, and mayyyyybe putting my Christmas tree up. I heart weekends. And Christmas obviously... I hope you have a good one! Oh and don't forget to check out Monday's post if you haven't already!

Good Pieces
The newest classic addition to my winter wardrobe...
These are perfect if you have curves & a limited budget! So comfy!
I always look forward to Oprah's Favorite Things...
Sale, sale, sale...

Good Spaces
Oh yes. I could live here.
A stunning before & after...
Her cabin was amazing, so I know this will be good!

Good Things
My highly introverted self is currently reading this book. So GOOD!
I think these could make life's hard moments just a little easier. So honest!
Yep. I'm almost 40 and am really excited about this...

Good Food
These are AMAZING and don't taste "healthy" at all!
I had this for lunch yesterday. So, so, so good & easy to make!
Definitely a pretty option for the Thanksgiving table...
Eleven one bowl wonders... Yum.
And Thanksgiving dessert in a mug...

Image via

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I honestly have no clue how the holidays have arrived so FAST! But I am not complaining because this is by far my favorite time of the year! How many of you have already started shopping?? I have already purchased a whopping two gifts and will soon be purchasing my holiday cards at Minted.com. This is the only giveaway I've done this year, so you have to know that I'm a huge fan of Minted. They always have so many beautiful options for holiday, Christmas, and New Years. They also offer pretty gift tags, and ribbon to make your gift look extra special. AND they have lots of beautiful options for gifts as well. If your kids love drawing, then there is a great option to get their drawings personalized and framed. That would make a great gift to a mom or dad for their office! Their personalized stationary and notebooks would make great gifts as well. All in all, I've always thought that Minted was a great place to shop if you are looking for that one perfect personal holiday card or personable gift...

So the lovely people at Minted are giving away a $200 credit to use for any purchase on Minted.com! To enter, all you have to do is answer the fun question in the Rafflecopter below! Reading your answers will be fun and give me and other readers some good ideas for the holidays! The giveaway ends on Monday, November 16th at 12AM EST. Good luck!! 

UPDATE: The last day to enter is now November 16th at 12AM!

a Rafflecopter giveaway This post was sponsored by Minted. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting Savor Home!
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I am a stickler for organization - especially when it comes to my closet. Especially! Having an organized closet allows me to sleep an extra 5-10 minutes in the morning (since I don't have to spend that time searching for an outfit or a piece of one) and being organized in general just keeps me sane. While I don't have a Pinterest-worthy closet, I do have a nice, but no-frills builder-grade master bedroom closet that comfortably stores all of my clothes and shoes with extra space left over! There are no plans in the near future to get the closet of my dreams, so I've had to figure out how to get the most use out of what I have. It was a challenge at first, but I've figured it out by following four simple rules that I'll share with you today! Here goes: 

1. Color coordinate everything!: The #1 thing I love about having an organized closet is that I ALWAYS know what I have. Knowing what I have prevents me from buying things that I don't need and it makes it easier to shop in my closet. Color-coordinating everything in the space is one of the best ways to always know what you have. It also makes shopping in your closet super easy. I love to wear black, so on days when I want to wear black, I just head to the black sections of my closet to shop for an outfit. That saves so much time!

2. Implement the One-In One-Out Rule: I have about the same about of empty space in my closet now as I did when I first moved into the closet - which was over 7 years ago. Other than my coat closet, all of my hung clothes are stored in my closet in my bedroom - all because of this one rule. The rule simply works like this: When something comes into the closet, something comes out of the closet a goes into the Goodwill bag. So when I buy something new, I go through my closet and search for items that haven't been worn in a year and/or those items that I just don't LOVE anymore. It's hard sometimes, but I keep looking until I find something - and I always find something. In addition to keeping my closet paired down to just those things I love and have worn in the past year, this rule helps me to always have an updated picture in my mind of what I have so I can make better decisions when I'm shopping. I apply this rule in my small kitchen as well and it works beautifully!

3. Use thicker hangers and only buy a certain amount of them: I know that thin hangers are the thing to have these days - especially when you have a really small closet or a larger one that you have to share with someone else. But hear me out... I used to use the thin hangers - even when I had a smaller closet - and it was really hard to keep up with what I had. The clothing was so scrunched up together that it was just so hard to see everything! So I went and bought a few boxes of the thicker wooden hangers. While I do have less space in my closet, I can really see what I have. The hangers make the aesthetic of the closet much nicer, too... Anything to make a builder-grade closet look better! 

And guess what else?? My goal is to never buy a box of hangers again. I have about 5-10 empty hangers at any given time. Once those hangers start dwindling down, that's my signal to find something to get rid of so that I can free up a hanger and keep my closet paired down. Trust me, there is always something to get rid of. You just have to enforce concepts that make you find those items on a regular basis!

Note that this concept still works even if you use thin hangers. Start by pairing down your closet to only the things that you love and have worn in the past year. Save a few of the extra hangers and donate the rest. This along with using the One-In One-Out rule should be helpful!

4. Ditch the shoeboxes: Shoeboxes irritate me. They tear up easily and you can't see what's in them. Plus a whole bunch of them together isn't visually appealing. Since I don't have the luxury of shoe shelves, I invested in these AMAZING clear, stackable shoe and boot boxes from The Container Store. I can see what I have, my good shoes are very well protected, and I save a little space. I treat these boxes just like I treat the hangers. I bought so many shoe boxes and boot boxes and I'm not planning to buy any more. So once the boxes start running low, I find a pair to get rid of. I love shoes, so the search for that one pair to get rid of is often SO hard, but I do always find a pair that I haven't worn in a while or a pair that I know someone would love to have. Note that I have a small basket in my closet that holds flip flops, slippers, sandals, etc., that don't need to be protected (see bottom of first pic). I only use the boxes for my good quality shoes that need protection. 

If you don't have space in your closet for clear boxes, invest in a hanging bag or something that fits in your closet that will allow you to see what shoes you have. You will be amazed at how much time, space, and money you save! 

What are your methods of keeping your closet organized?? I'd love to hear!

**Suede pumps in last pic are here... **

Images by me
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Massaged Kale & Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad via Savor Home
Two food posts in a row! I'm on a roll! Ha. So today I'm showing and telling you about a recipe that has been THE most popular recipe in my house for quite some time now. I make variations of this salad almost every Sunday to eat for lunch or dinner the following week, so it's about time I tell you about it! I always layer this salad in a bowl and this particular quinoa salad is by far my favorite "bowl" - especially for lunch since it's so portable. I usually start my bowls with quinoa, but sometimes I use brown rice. Neither of those have much flavor, so I like to layer it with massaged kale. Raw kale is really bitter, but when you massage it with a good vinaigrette, all of the bitterness goes away and you are left with a super flavorful tender green and a great dressing for the salad. I promise it's easy to make, too! I top the quinoa and kale with cinnamon-seasoned roasted sweet potatoes (my favorite), roasted butternut squash, and/or black beans. Then I top off the salad with raw walnuts, feta cheese, dried cranberries, and avocado. I know that's a lot, but it all goes so well together. It's just one big bowl of amazing flavor - and protein, fiber, and vitamins I might add - that leaves you feeling totally full and satisfied. Can't beat that... :)

Massaged Kale & Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad via Savor Home
Massaged Kale & Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad via Savor Home
Massaged Kale & Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad via Savor Home
Massaged Kale & Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad via Savor Home

Here is what you need and what to do:

Quinoa (see recipe below)
Massaged kale (see recipe below)
Roasted sweet potatoes (see recipe below)
Walnuts or your favorite nut
Feta cheese
Dried cranberries

Quinoa (makes about 4 cups) - This is the BEST way to make it (via Goop)!
1 cup quinoa
1 3/4 cup water
Pinch of sea salt (I use Malden salt)

1. Add the quinoa to a fine mesh strainer and rinse it for about a minute. Add the quinoa, water, and salt to a medium pot that is set over medium-high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 12-13 minutes, or until the water has completely evaporated.

2. Turn off the heat. Remove the lid to the pot and place a dry paper towel over the pot. Cover (i.e. place the lid over the paper towel) and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then fluff the quinoa lightly with a fork. The paper towel method makes the texture of the quinoa really tender and moist. Don't skip that part! 

Massaged Kale
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
3-4 cups kale, finely chopped (both lacinato and curly kale work here)

1. Add the chopped kale to a large bowl and set aside. Add the olive oil, white wine vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a small bowl. Whisk the ingredients until they are completely combined. 

2. Pour a little over half of the dressing over the kale and massage the kale until it has wilted. To massage the kale, simply grab a handful of the kale in one hand and squeeze and move it around in your hand. Keep doing this until all of the kale has wilted. Use the remaining dressing for the salad if desired.

3. Place the bowl of kale in the refrigerator and let it marinate for about 15 minutes or so. 

Roasted Sweet Potatoes
2 cups sweet potatoes, cubed 
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Add all of the ingredients to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or to a 10in cast iron skillet (my preferred method). I love the crust that the iron skillet creates on the squash! Toss the squash around to make sure everything is evenly coated. 

2. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender. If you use a sheet pan, toss them around after about 15 minutes for even cooking. If using a cast iron skillet, I toss them around a few times to make sure they don't cook too fast on one side. 

To make the salad, simply combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and toss! Enjoy!

Images by me

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