Farewell 2017

My dearest 2017,

Before you leave, I wanted to share a few thoughts with you. Our journey together has been a sorted one. It has been neither good nor bad, but rather a blur of a year.

We started our relationship in the most peculiar way. Meeting with sleep in my eyes and a Mariah Carey meltdown. I should have known this was going to be the precursor of our time together – exhaustion and challenging your believes.

Our relationship grew and unlike 2016, you gave me a sweet gift right away. I love how you knew that a little charm would blow 2016 out of the water. 🙂 While the creation of the gift was month in the making and a joint venture of past years, its deliver was oh so sweet and simple. “It is not cancer, but rather inflammation.”

Say what?!? I thought the shock of the year was Mariah Carey lip synching and here we are a little over a week into the year hearing those words flow from a neurosurgeon’s mouth. The next few weeks were hard as we waited to meet the new doctor. We were so grateful, but that sweet and simple phrase cast us back into a world of unknown. We had no idea if life would ever be back to normal and what the road ahead held. Looking back, we know the long detour on the road, led us to the right doctor to travel with. Thanks for being patient as I cursed your name – I meant it, but I take it back.

A doctor, who we have come to like a great deal, uttered some strange terms followed by, “I think we have a diagnosis” at our first meeting. He then told us to hit the gas and fly. The next few weeks are nothing both sleep in our eyes and exhaustion as we ran from one place to the next preparing for the start of chemo. Again, I am sorry that I cursed your name. I was tired and scared of what you had in store next.

As strange as it sounds, we found comfort in what little routine we made during the 6 months of chemo. Maybe the greatest gift you could have given – a start to normal. These six months certainly were filled with exhaustion and questioning your believes. We called it 2 weeks off and 2 weeks on living.

During our 2 weeks off living, 2017 showed us some important life lessons:

  • Life has a funny way of working out when you let things fall into place.
  • No one likes to be with a cranky person so try your best to find joy.
  • Needles, while icky, are ok if really necessary. I have grown from walking out of the room when the needle comes in to watch with intent to get over my fear.
  • Subscriptions to Amazon, HBO and Netflix are so needed when you get the “flu” every month.

During our 2 weeks of on living, we learned:

  • Always make time for that drink, snuggle with a nephew even if you are tired. You do not know what tomorrow holds.
  • Push your boundaries. Live the life you want regardless of the circumstances and possible outcomes. You can’t control either –  travel, work too hard, drink too much
  • Brad is a much better driver than me.
  • Love like crazy and never stop spreading joy.
  • Chase your dreams! If you fail, who cares – at least you tried.

Our 6 months were the longest, most exhausting experience yet. All nighters should be reserved for 21 and under. 2017, I thank you for making me see the importance of what this life should be all about. I thank you most for helping me to get my husband back to “normal” over those long nights and odd living schedule.

Chemo ended as the season began to change. We were shocked that half the year had past and we were ready to start living. After almost a year journey, you gave me back “normal”. Normal in the Wester house is pure insanity. Brad and I look at the calendar and determine what few nights we will eat at home together. He is off doing what he does best – volunteering, mentoring and helping other chase their dreams. I am catching up with friends, Stella and Dot styling and picking back up my love for yoga. Any free moment we have, we are basking in our family, friends and snuggling the kitten. The most memorable moments of post chemo living, all centered around being with those that we loved.

  • After a decade of worth of friendships, I finally got all my friends down to Florida. It had been two years since we all had been in the same city together.
  • The solar eclipse was stunning. I took the day off not sure what to expect
  • The introduction of two sweet new babies – Elizabeth and Timothy

My Netflix binging has gone way down, and I am ok with not cranking out an entire season in a weekend. 2017, I am thankful for the hectic life of this and that. We honestly fit an entire year in six short months.

2017, I never want to meet a year like you again. You were hard, tiring and full of activities that were not suppose to be fun. Somehow though, I enjoyed you. You taught me so much about myself, life and marriage. Most importantly, you played the central roll in getting my husband and “normal” back. Thanks for our love/hate year. I wish you well, but so look forward to your farewell. Know while I appreciate you, you are most certainly not welcomed back and you can’t share any of your traits with upcoming years.

Love,

Nicki

 

Broccoli Cheddar Casserole

Broccoli Cheddar Casserole

Broccoli Cheddar Casserole is a wonderful vegetable dish hidden in melted cheese, buttered crackers and lots of love!

My holidays are filled with vegetable side dishes that any of the day of the year would be considered unhealthy. Around the holidays with cookies, cakes and pies, Broccoli Cheddar Casserole is always an appropriate vegetable side.

Broccoli Cheddar Casserole is the perfect dish to bring to a family function because you can make it the day before and just pop it in the over right before you have to go. The four ingredient recipe is perfect for someone who wants to make a delicious dish without much work.

Broccoli Cheddar Casserole Ingredients

  • Broccoli Cheddar Casserole Ingredients

Broccoli Cheddar Casserole Recipe

  1. Go to the store and get your ingredients listed above.
  2. Pour yourself a glass of wine and hunt in your kitchen for a 9×13 glass pan, two pots and tenderizer. If you don’t have a tenderizer, a hammer works well. 🙂
  3. Start cooking the broccoli for the Broccoli Cheddar Casserole. I normally microwave the broccoli with steamable packs as it makes for less dishes. This part does take some time as you are steaming 4 packets separately. Don’t worry though, you can do everything else as the broccoli is cooking.
  4. Cut the melting cheese into smaller squares and toss into a pot over medium heat.
  5. Stir the cheese until gooey and ready to pour. You should be stirring on and off until step 11.
  6. As you are stirring the cheese, make sure to keep an eye out on the broccoli packets. As they come out, place the cook broccoli in your glass dish. Broccoli Cheddar Casserole Naked

7. Take a moment and have a drink as you grab the butter, hammer and crackers.

8. Unwrap the butter and toss it into you second pot on medium heat.

9. Grab those crackers and give them a few gentle hits until the contents are smashed. Take the smashed crackers and stir them into the melted butter. 

10. Now that all your broccoli is cooked, it is time construct your Broccoli Cheddar Casserole. Take one more drink for good measure. 

Broccoli Cheddar Casserole CrackersBroccoli Cheddar Casserole Cheese

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Pour that gooey cheese over the healthy broccoli.

12. Top the Broccoli Cheddar Casserole with extra buttered crackers.

When it is time to visit family, turn your oven on and pop your Broccoli Cheddar Casserole into the oven for about 30 minutes on 350.

Fall Kimono Look

Fall kimono look – the go to outfit when you are craving fall and the thermometer is still in the mid 80s.

Fall kimono look – the go to outfit when you are craving fall and the thermometer is still in the mid 80s.

Like almost everyone else in St. Louis, fall is my favorite season. The leafs are turning colors, pumpkin beer can be drank by the gallon, red wine patio weather has graced us and there should always be s’mores going by a fire.

Unfortunately, St. Louis autumns are not always that charming. For goodness sake, I was in a pool on Saturday basking in 90 degree weather.

Well ladies, I think I have us covered with the perfect “fall not fall days” look. I give you the fall Kimono look. All the charm of wispy long sweaters without the concern that you are bundled for winter on a hot day. Now, I know this weekend looks like fall has finally hit, but I hate to break it to you… We have been tricked! Next week is back into the mid-high 80s.

How to build your own fall kimono look

Step 1 to building your fall kimono look: Buy your Stella and Dot accessories today. While they are beautiful with the fall kimono look, I promise you will find hundreds of other ways to pair your new jewelry in your closet.

Bracelets: Radiance Coil Bracelet ($29) and Chevron Leather Wrap Bracelet ($59)

– Riad Layering Necklace: ($89) Versatile necklace that can be worn 7 different ways! Hand beaded and braided strands form this versatile wear-everywhere mixed metal piece. Semi precious rose quartz tassel falls from a delicate center strand. Wear all strands together separate or mix and match to suit your look.

– Amala Gold Chandeliers: ($59) Hand-cut semi-precious white agate set in a semi shiny gold frame. Elegant drops for any occasion. 

When you purchase this look from Stella and Dot, you also will qualify for 50% off shopping on the following items through this Saturday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2 to building your fall kimono look: Go and buy the kimono from Amazon. It will be here before the weather decides to become warm again.
Hibluco Women’s Sheer Chiffon Floral Kimono Cardigan Long Blouse Loose Tops Outwear (XX-Large, K 9)

 

Step 3 to building your fall kimono look: Go search for your favorite tank or t-shirt. I dug out a cute tank that I purchased via Amazon. If you are looking for a good gray tank staple, I highly recommend this one.  Alternative Women’s Meegs Racer Tank, Eco Gray, Large

Step 4 to building your fall kimono look: Pull the jeans out of the dirty laundry and wash them. You have three days until the weather gets warm and all your new accessorizes arrive.

Step 5 to building your fall kimono look: Open all your boxes and do a happy dance at the cuteness!

Step 6 to building your fall kimono look: Put steps 1 to 5 together and go rock your new “fall not fall day” look.

I can’t wait to see you running around town in your very own fall kimono look. 🙂

Amazon Prime Wardrobe

Amazon Prime Wardrobe

Amazon Prime WardrobeEveryone knows that I am a little addicted to Amazon Prime. I joke that I single-handedly keep the post office employed. Amazon Prime makes shopping so simple, you think Oh, I need to get cat treats, jump on the app, search cat treats, find the one you want and press Buy Now with one click. Two days later, the cat treats arrive and Oscar is one happy cat! I have saved myself so much time and money by not running out to Target. We know that a Target trip would have resulted in Oscar’s cat treats, $30 worth of the cute unneeded items in the front bins, some ice cream, a new cardigan and a pair of shoes for good measure. So now we are looking at over $100 spent for those cat treats with about an hour round trip. In the Wester household, Amazon saves this family money and time by avoiding going to a traditional store.

When Brad started having his health issues, Amazon took on a new purpose for me. I started avoiding the mall and shopping through Amazon Prime for all my wardrobe needs. Just like before, shopping online gave me the benefit of saving time and money by letting me pinpoint the one item I really needed within moments. All of our Christmas present and outfits were purchased through Amazon Prime. While it might have been the most stressful holiday season yet, it was calm on the shopping front. 🙂

In the past 10 months, I have only stepped foot in a mall twice and that was for new makeup at Sephora. There is something so rewarding of walking out of that storefront with a Picasso looking painting of different makeup swatches on my hand. Other than making masterpieces on my hand, my fashion purchases have been through Amazon!

Yesterday, Amazon introduced the next great idea – Amazon Prime Wardrobe.  When I read it, I boasted to Brad that I should get some credit for the idea. I know that Alexa has heard me using the phrase, Amazon Prime Wardrobe every time a new piece is shipped to me. 🙂 While I try to claim the name and general concept, I could not dream up how perfect Amazon made Amazon Prime Wardrobe.

How Amazon Prime Wardrobe Works

1,2,3

Why you will love Amazon Prime Wardrobe

Benefits

I get to try on items prior to buying them! Do you know how amazing this would have been as I was on the hunt for the perfect swimsuit? Like every woman, I dread swimsuit season. So I spent some time during one of Brad’s chemo infusions, looking for the perfect swimsuit that would support my larger chest, hide the stress eating love handles while still being cute for a 28-year-old. Of course, Amazon came through, but I had to float over $100 while I tried on 6 different suits to find the one that would make me feel confident by the pool this summer.

Amazon Prime Wardrobe is a new service that brings the fitting room to you, so you can try the latest styles and find your perfect fit before you buy. If you are already an Amazon Prime member then you will get this service for free. The specific release date is not known, but if you are as excited as me let Amazon know. Click here to get notified when Prime Wardrobe launches.

Maple Balsamic Steak and Peach Salad

Maple Balsamic Steak and Peach Salad

On hot summer days like today, I am craving a lighter savory option for dinner. Maple Balsamic Steak and Peach Salad is a fulfilling lighter option that the entire family will eat!

I started the dish with one of the Wester household classics, Whole 30 Balsamic Steak and Mushroom Skewers . I ditched the mushrooms, but kept the marinated steak as the base for last night’s creation. Like normal, it was a toss together meal. I had left over steak and all the fixings to make a marinated steak for dinner. From there, I started Googling in the hopes of finding something to accompany it. You would not believe how often I Google ingredients with recipe behind it to see what turns up.

Well, I hit the jackpot not by Google, but from my Mom’s recommendation. She had found Maple Balsamic Steak and Peach Salad recipe a few days earlier and raved at how delightful it was. A quick jaunt to the store, slice up a red onion, peaches and off the the patio I went with a glass of rose. A few minutes on the grill and dinner was served!

Maple Balsamic Steak and Peach Salad Ingredients:

  • 2 beef Strip Steaks Boneless, cut 1 inch thick (about 8 to 10 ounces each)
  • 2 peaches, cubed
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 12 wedges
  • 8 cups mixed salad greens or arugula
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, chopped pecans or sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • Salt

Maple Balsamic Steak and Peach Salad Dressing:

  • 1 cup reduced-fat or regular balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons coarse grind black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves

Maple Balsamic Steak and Peach Salad Instructions:

  1. Combine dressing ingredients in small bowl.
  2. Soak two 10-inch bamboo skewers in water 10 minutes; drain. Thread onion wedges onto skewers. Brush onions and peaches with the salad dressing.
  3. Place steaks on grid over medium; arrange onions and peaches around steaks. Grill steaks, covered, 11 to 14 minutes, turning occasionally. Grill onions 12 to 15 minutes and peaches 8 to 10 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally and brushing steak, onions and peaches with salad dressing.
  4. Remove onions and peaches from skewers. Chop onions and peaches into bite-size pieces if needed.
  5. Carve steak into slices.
  6. Combine greens, peaaches, onions, cheese, nuts and reserved 1/2 cup marinade; toss gently to combine.

Stella and Dot Kari Layered Necklace

Stella and Dot Kari Layered Necklace

Stella and Dot Kari Layered Necklace is a delicate and versatile piece that is a must have in your closet. Stella and Dot Kari Layered Necklace features a hand hammered gold pendant and arc suspending from two delicate chains. Like many Stella and Dot pieces, the Stella and Dot Kari Layered Necklace is versatile. You can wear the pendant and arc as one cohesive look or each strand separately. Basically, you have 3 different looks for one reasonably priced necklace of only $59. For someone like me, this is perfect. This necklace is a simple statement piece that can be worn from a plain t-shirt to a night out on the town. You can even do a mid-day fashion flip. 🙂

Stella and Dot Kari Layered Necklace

To see the piece up close and personal, click the link below. You will be able to see the gorgeous hand hammer detailed on the piece.

https://www.stelladot.com/shop/en_us/p/new/new-arrivals/kari-layered-necklace

The best part of the Stella and Dot Kari Layered Necklace is simple and you should take advantage of it today. This month only you can get the Stella and Dot Kari Layered Necklace as a free gift. All you have to do is become a Stella and Dot hostess today and I can help!

Contact me today to become a June hostess and you get the amazing piece for free. It is that easy! All you have to do is say yes to having an awesome night with friends either virtually or in your home and earn an amazing piece and product credit.

If you can’t wait to get the necklace, you can buy it right now with one easy click to visit my Stella and Dot St. Louis Fashion page.

Happy shopping!

Stella and Dot Kari Layered Necklace Description:

  • Shiny hammered gold finish
  • 18″, 33″ with 2″ extender
  • lobster clasp closure

 

I silenced myself

Over the past few months, you have noticed that the blog has been sporadic. For most, this means life was too hectic and it feel on the back burner. For me, it means that I silenced myself.

The blog has always been avenue where I could express myself, try my crazy marketing ideas and fail freely without judgement and concern of the outcome. Some where of the past few months, I chained the medium and myself.  I put standards around my writing, my activities and my honesty. I silenced myself. Read more

Stitch Fix Box #4

With all the craziness of life (i.e Brad’s autoimmune disease)Stitch Fix box reviews have fallen off my radar. If you have time to burn or are new to Scrumptious Style, check out the past looks from Stitch Fix – Box 1, Box 2 and Box 3. You will not be disappointed with the detour, but remember to come on back to check out my latest box.

This past box was too cute to pass up reviewing. Plus my photographer was feeling up to enjoying a nice day and taking some pictures with his new iPhone 7 plus. It was a win, win. He could play with his new toy and I could share my styling of already cute pieces.

This Stitch Fix box hit my style perfectly. Almost a bit too perfectly as I already own almost identically pieces. It was hard to choose what to return this month as I could see myself in all of the pieces. It came down to really nit picking points as I am trying to fill my closet with pieces that I absolutely love and can not live without instead of the usual this looks good and is a decent price model.

The two pieces that I picked definitely fill a void in my closet and hit upon the absolutely love bucket. Check out Stitch Fix today to start filling your closet with pieces that you love!
Read more

Consistency Not Perfection

As we change seasons, I am trying to challenge my notion of a healthy and happy life.

Most people start this on January 1st, but I am a procrastinator. Well, that is not a fair statement. I took the Brad approach to life and actually thought through my desired outcome and how to get there. This attempt is different than most, I am not trying to lose the last 10 pounds or get Bikini season ready. Rather, I am trying to foster a new appreciation for my body, my relationship with food and living my best life. The ideas are simple thoughts, but I know that they will be hard to implement because I have years of trying the crash diet and negative self talk. Read more

Life Lessons

Every day, I cross the link into the hospital. So you think on days that I play the patient’s wife it wouldn’t phase me much. It is business as usual, right?! Well, my logical assumption couldn’t be more wrong.

In the past 4.5 months, I have filled the patient’s wife role a lot. For our story, that means being Brad’s driver, cook, house cleaner, insurance provider, friend, the source of entertainment and social interaction. It also means, I spend a considerable amount of time waiting for Brad. In my time waiting for Brad, I have learned so much about our marriage, life, faith and myself.

  1. Average patient families do not pack their backpack and work while waiting. God has given Brad and I the strength to normalize and thrive in this chaos. Every time, I think I can’t possibly be stretched anymore, I find a way. I one time asked Brad, “What do normal patient families do?” and he responded quickly “worry.” I laughed and told him “who has time for that I have a lesson to plan and a report to pull.”
  2. Some expectations are needed for sanity, but don’t over plan or set your expectations too high. Some of the best moments, Brad and I have had over the past few months have been born out of spontaneity. No expectations of what the night would be so you could genuinely enjoy your company and night. This is still new for a type A person like me, but something I hope to adopt fully. You find joy so much easier when you don’t put all these restrictions on it.
  3. Never make an assumption about the person next to you. You might think you have the worst hand, but you never know what the person next to you was given. Now I am not suggesting you go around asking everyone, “How are you? No, really how are you?” I am suggesting be a bit kinder, smile a bit longer and talk to a stranger. You might be the only bright point in their day, or they could turn out to be the highlight of yours.
  4. My husband is the best thing that has ever happened to me. He is literally, the best thing since sliced bread. This is a real accomplishment for Brad since I have had a blessed little life. Brad inspires me every day to be the best version of myself. Every day, I wake up and thank God that he made Brad just for me. Even with all the craziness of life, I still think how am I lucky enough to be his wife? I am blessed enough to share my life with his funny, intelligent, inspiring, kind, generous and good looking man. Holy crap, what did I do to deserve him?
  5. Everything will be ok. Life might not look how you imagined, and you may have what feels like a thousand unanswered prayers, but it will be ok. Every day, I read two reflections, Blessed is She, and Jesus is calling. Between the two, they have curated something beautiful just for me. It is simple.
  • God knows where you are going.
  • Unanswered prayers are always heard, and we are waiting for something else to align.
  • Praise Him even through your worry, pain, anger and uncertainty.
  • I know that God is building us a life that is more stunning than I could ever imagine.