Chatting Over Chocolate

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Five Loves on Friday

Hello, friends!  I hope you're all doing well and have kept cozy in the midst of all the winter weather.  Since we chatted last there's been a whole lot of laughter and memories made here and a lot of cold medicine passed out and cough drops consumed.  I'm currently the only one here feeling well, but today we'll just focus on the pleasant portions of the week.  Let's catch up, five loves style! ...

One // Christmasing with Dear Friends

If you've been around for a bit you may remember my dear friend Nikki and her family as many a Five Loves list they have graced.  Last weekend they made the hour drive out to visit us.  We enjoyed the best evening together celebrating Christmas!

A collage of happiness!  Here are just a few of the smile filled snapshots taken while we exchanged gifts.  What a sweet Christmas celebration it truly was!  Princess drew all of the artwork that our family friends are holding in the bottom photo.  I loved seeing her so excited to create and give Christmas gifts to our dear friends!

It was an unforgettable night of fun, laughter, exchanging thoughtful gifts, and enjoying fantastic fellowship!  Time with them always does my heart such good!

When Nikki asked what they could bring I quickly offered the suggestion of dessert.  (They do dessert well!)  Her hubby, an excellent baker, blessed us with a super scrumptious chocolate frosted chocolate cake topped with Mickey shaped sweetness! MmmMmmMmm!

It just happens to be Nikki's birthday month and our get together was actually on her sweet daughter's half birthday so of course songs and wishes were in order!  Then, we chatted over chocolate, naturally! ;)

Two // Thoughtful Gifty Goodness

There is something so incredibly special about loved ones who know you so well that they choose the perfect gifts!  This Christmas party reflected just how well we all know each other, which in itself was the greatest gift!  

Now, I can't resist sharing a closer peek at the awesomeness that was wrapped up in Disney paper with a shiny ribbon, and had my name on it...

Nikki is a coffee sippin' sweetheart and donuts are my jam, making this "BFF" coffee & donut ornament thee tree trimming equivalent of perfection!  It instantly earned a spot on my favorite ornaments list!  This ginormous donut mug, with chocolate and sprinkles (*insert all the heart eyed emojis here*), may just be the coolest non-Disney mug ever!  So fun!  Now, onto the gift that I still can't even get over!!  They gave me a Letterfolk letter board!  You guys, I have been swooning over these on instagram for ages now, but never said a word to Nikki about it!  How awesome is that?!  I've already been having a ball with it, as some of you may have witnessed via my Instagram...

Love, love, LOVE it!

Three // Little One's Canvas Cuteness

Little One attended a painting class with a group from our church and created such cuteness!  Everyone was taught how to paint this adorable snowman looking skyward surrounded by snowflakes.  They were told they could customize this frosty guy's scarf any way they'd like.  She decided to go with a Disney theme (that's my girl!), giving the scarf Mickey ears and Mickey Mouse buttons!  I think he may just be the most magical snowman who ever charmed a canvas!

Four // Lilly After Party Sale Goodies

Anyone else hop online and literally in line before and after thousands of other people looking to score discounted sunshiny goodness at the Lilly After Party Sale?  I didn't get too carried away, but am happy with the lit'l goodies I went with...

So, I already got a polka dotted Kate Spade 2017 planner for my everyday plans (which I also scored on sale plus an additional 30% off), but I thought it'd be really fun to have a planner specifically for blogging!  This tropical beauty was clearanced out at $9, less than a third of its original price.  Score!  Those palm trees & golden accents make my heart skip a beat!  This will certainly be a fun place to map out my upcoming Trip Report Tuesday posts!  I also picked up some darling bracelets with fun sayings like "it's always summer somewhere" and "sunny state of mind", each adorned with bright, cheery tassels.  Lastly, this deck of cards was too fun to pass on!  I mean the queens are mermaids and the jokers are crabs!  These just scream card game out on the back deck with a glass of lemonade!  Can you tell I'm itching for summer sun already?  Meanwhile, these make my heart smile!

Five // The Lost Valentine

This week I caught such a sweet movie on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel!  I can't resist sharing this as I'd think with Valentine's day just around the corner they'll likely be airing it again soon.  I won't give anything away, but I recommend keeping an eye out for it, and having some tissues at the ready if you do catch it!  I cried and cried, but that's the sign of an excellent movie in my book! ;) 

I'm being featured today on The Blended Blog!

A big THANKS to Katie of The Mishaps and Mayhem of a Solitary Life for featuring me today on a lifestyle collective blog she contributes to, The Blended Blog!  I'd be tickled pink if you'd pop over there today and check out my Q&A!  But first, I'd love it if you'd leave me some comment goodness below.  Hearing from you makes my day, friends!

Wishing you a wonderful upcoming weekend!  

Friday, January 6, 2017

Five Loves on Friday // Road Trip & Haul Edition!

Happy Friday, friends!  This time last week my parents, Jason, the girls, and I were Kansas City bound!  We enjoyed such a fun lit'l road trip, a full day of shopping after Christmas sales, then ended our day with the main event, driving through our favorite light display at Christmas in the Park!  I've been wanting to put together a haul post of the goodies we picked up during our bargain shopping excursion there, so I thought this Friday I'd share favorites from five fab shops we hit!  

One // Disney Store

The only Disney Store in our area closed over a decade ago, so this is our nearest Disney Store at around three hours from home!  That being said, shopping there always feels like a little taste of Disney World to me!  

Walking around looking at the magic that was marked down in their Twice Upon a Year Sale, I spotted a few cute things I couldn't resist picking up.  First, Lilo and Stitch cookie cutters!  Lilo & Stitch is Little One's all-time favorite so I had to get those!  Then I saw a Minnie proclaimed "Perfect!" foldable bag and women's Minnie socks with such sweet detailing, so into my arms they all went!  But then, that familiar delight of the next handbag I couldn't live without came over me as this sunny, smile-evoking, bow-tiful Minnie Mouse Signature bag caught my eye!  I told Jason, "I'll put everything else (I was going to buy myself) back!  I love this bag!"  My dad had me hand him the things I planned to put back while I investigated the bags to find the most blemish-free beauty.  (I'm super picky about flaw finding before purchasing an item!  Anyone else look through every last one to find the best of the best before buying what they're eyeing?)  When I found just the right one I told my dad thanks for holding the other items, now I was ready to put them back where I'd found them.  He said he would ....but being the awesome dad he is, he headed straight to the checkout with them.  He said, "You must have liked them if you were going to buy them!" and off he went to purchase them for me!  He's so sweet! I'm forever a daddy's girl and his kindness is about reason #1057 for that! ;)  Right along side him was my other favorite man on the planet, my husband, walking up to the register with my new handbag and some cookie cutters for his littlest cutie pie!  *happy sigh!*

A closer look at these fab finds, because I can't resist sharing the sweet deets!...

I hadn't even unzipped and peeked into the purse to spot all those cheery polka dots when I was "wow"ing over the bag in the beginning.  Then my mom mentioned, "Have you seen the inside?"  There I found the sunniest of details, dots galore surrounding two perfect pouches, one for just right for a phone, the other for keeping random baubles from bouncing around in the bag, and a deep zippered pocket.  This large purse was ready to happily hold all my thingamabobs.  How could I possibly resist all that?

This "perfect" foldable bag zips up so compactly and just happens to match my new purse!  When unzipped it makes out into a handy tote with a pocket inside and a zipped pocket on the front.  This would come in very handy later that day.  After forgetting that IKEA doesn't offer bags for your purchases, I was tickled pink to remember I had this in my new purse and we didn't have to juggle our buys out to the car!

Pink is my favorite color, I'm bow and polka dot obsessed, and Minnie is my girl.  All this cutesy fun was destined to be on my feet!  I love that they each have a bit of sheer at the top, just a fun detail making them extra cute.  When I grabbed them I told my parents with a smile, "I'm just a big Disney kid!", but these are in women's sizes so surely I'm not the only gal who thinks they're super cute!

Two // Hallmark

Oh, you guys!  I totally scored at Hallmark!  These magical, musical Disney characters in train cars were originally priced at $29.95 each, with a discounted price of $15.95 with any purchase.  I then got them on clearance for only $7.98 each!  I first considered getting just Mickey and Minnie.  Then thought, okay I'll add Goofy too.  Once I saw that they all connect together and play music, moving in unison when attached, I knew I'd regret it every Christmas if I didn't get them all!  I saw in store that they play two songs.  It wasn't until we got home that Jason said, "They don't just play two songs, each character plays two songs!"  So, pressing the button on each, they can play 10 songs total while all characters move to the music in unison!  This is sure to be one of my favorite Christmas decorations for life!  I couldn't adore it any more!

Three // Bath & Body Works

Bath & Body Works was having their semi-annual sale which meant 4 body washes for the price of one!  Yes, please and thank you!  I actually haven't used either Sweet Cranberry Rose or Pink Confetti before, but they each smelled lovely and were so pretty too! (Sometimes it's the lit'l things in life, like using a body wash that's your favorite color and has the prettiest detailing on its packaging! :))  

Funny story about the hand soap, when I spotted it on the clearance table there wasn't even a tester to check out the scent, but I saw "California" and "Citrus & Sunshine" and immediately scooped it up!  Ever since our two weeks in Cali I'm all about anything that takes me back there!  It was scent happiness at first pump!

Four // Hickory Farms

75% off meant meat and cheese for Jason and sweets for me!  The best of both worlds!  If you happen upon a Hickory Farms that still has some of this pepperminty chocolate goodness left, I recommend picking up a box!  It's scrumptious!  The fancy bow laden box makes pulling a piece out each day feel like even more of a treat too! (I would've shown you a peek in Jason's box, but it may've been nothing more than an empty prop by the time I took these snaps! ;))

Five // IKEA

Just like Disney Store, this is our closest IKEA!  My parents had never been to one, so it was such fun seeing them enjoy it as much as we do on our rare visits!

Here Jason picked up a new bag and a few more of his favorite IKEA glasses. I grabbed some fun straws.  Princess scored a tabletop wooden paper roll holder and drawing paper to use with it.  So much arty fun to come!  Last, but certainly not least (although it's completely missing from the pic - oops, blogger fail!) Little One got the cutest pillow ever!

Since I forgot to include the meow-velous pillow my littlest love brought home, I'll include a pic of her with it and a few other fun snapshots taken in the store...

Much cuter anyway, right?! ;)  Also, as you can see, we take dental hygiene very seriously in our family! ;) *I think that's my favorite pic from the entire trip! Ha!

Bonus Love // Christmas in the Park

Christmas in the Park is the main attraction each time we visit KC at Christmastime!  The drive thru display boasts over 300,000 lights with 175 animated displays!  Lights of animated skiers "jump" over your car, snowmen tip their hands as you pass, toy soldiers tumble when hit by an "exploding canon", and more!  It's truly a sight to see!  For those of you following me on Instagram it was so much fun to share a video with you that night via an IG story!  

Neon palm trees, hot pink flamingos, and a hammock, I think this guy has the right post-Christmas idea!

Thanks so much for visiting today!  Wishing you a fabulous first weekend of the year!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Chatting Over Chocolate's 4th Blogiversary!

{Image taken from my Mickey Mouse Cookies & Cream Oreo Brownie recipe}

Hello, sweet friends and cherished readers!  Today marks four years since I hit publish on my first post here at Chatting Over Chocolate!  I'm writing this one with a smile on my face, a heart overflowing with gratitude, and a wish that I had a slice of that ice cream topped chocolate delightfulness to literally hand each of you as we chat about what a special day this is!  

I want to take this opportunity to personally thank you for taking time out of your day, today and each time you pop by my blog, to read what I have to share!  For those who take the extra moment to leave me a blog comment, please know that hearing from you is a true treat! 

I began this blog on a whim, hoping it would be a fun creative outlet, yet never knowing if anyone would read a single word I shared.  My heart is full thinking that all these years later I'm still here and that you are joining me here today!  I may take a refreshing hiatus away from the computer every now and then (typically a summer break to focus all of my attention on my growing-up-way-too-fast girls), but I always find myself with the urge to return!  Blogging is a hobby for me and I've said in the past that as soon as it's not fun anymore I'll walk away.  YOU, dear readers, are the ones who make this such a fun place to be!  If it were not for your visits I'd be chatting with myself and that's not nearly as fun!  The fantastic friendships I've made with those in the blogging community (fellow bloggers and readers alike) have made life so much richer and sweeter!  So, thank you, yes, YOU, for being here!  You are always welcome here and appreciated more than you now!

Now onto the my favorite part of this post, a (secret) giveaway ...which I must say makes it all the more fun!  I'm not putting the word "giveaway" in the title of this post nor will I be sharing that I have a pretty lit'l prize for one of you on my Instagram, Pinterest, or elsewhere.  This giveaway is not aimed at gaining new numbers of those interested only in winning a freebie.  I am hosting this giveaway for the readers who stop by this week because they care to read a celebratory post and share in the joy of this blogiversary!  Those of you who do, deserve a fun favor for popping by this party of a post! ;)  

First, I can't resist a good back story so I'm spilling the origin of those fabulous fashion accessory!  In December I received both a Popsugar Must Have Box and a Popsugar Cozy Home Mystery box.  Both boxes included identical Baublebar necklaces along with a unique coupon code for 20% off a baublebar purchase.  As soon as I realized I had a darling duplicate my husband suggested I use one for a giveaway.  See, four years of blogging! The man behind my blog has picked up a thing or two. ;)  

Now to the giveaway details!  I'm giving away one Baublebar Snowfall Pendant (a POPSUGAR exclusive design) with baublebar bag, and unique coupon code for 20% off a baublebar purchase (should there be another pretty there you've had your eye on).  This giveaway is open to United States residents.  A winner will be chosen at random a week from this post's publishing date.  The winner must respond within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen.  Enter below!  I'm rooting for you, friend!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Join me in the adventures to come!
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