Wednesday, June 29

Strawberry Shortcake

Ohhhh how I love strawberry shortcake!!! Growing up, this was a summer dessert staple in my family. Along with whipping up chocolate chip cookies and pancakes in record time, my mom would quickly make these shortcakes if we were craving something sweet after dinner. Being honest though - I have had a slight fruit phobia (it's a texture thing, I think) since a young age and for all of my life I've eaten just the shortcake with whipped cream. I know, I'm crazy. 

 And with the Fourth of July coming up, what feels more American than a good ole shortcake with strawberries?! Okay, maybe apple pie or blueberry pie. But strawberry shortcake too. It's a great and super easy dessert to make for holiday celebrations - you can even add blackberries or blueberries for a pop of blue! Last night I hosted Bible study and decided strawberry shortcake would be the perfect treat to make for everyone. And wouldn't you know, last night I actually ate strawberries with mine and liked it!!! Progress, I'm telling you!


Strawberry Shortcake
2 1/3 c Bisquick
1/2 c sugar
3 tbsp butter
2/3 c milk
1 c heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp sugar
sliced strawberries
1 tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 425. In a mixing bowl, melt butter and add Bisquick, sugar, and milk. Mix together. Spoon onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Mix whipping cream and sugar together in a smaller bowl. Use an electric mixer and mix until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate whipped cream until time to serve.

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believing in yourself

I recently signed up for Jess and Blair's Blogging for Keeps service (which, by the way, I love and if you're a blogger, definitely sign up). Every Friday, they send out a "coffee talk" email, discussing various subjects. Two weeks ago, it was on confidence in yourself and your blog, and y'all, did this hit close to home for me. I was reading it and thinking to myself "oh my gosh this is 100% me." I would say in general I'm a pretty confident person. But when it comes to my blog, that confidence just isn't there. I love this line of the email: "We hold ourselves back from accomplishing our own dreams because we tell ourselves we aren't good enough." Isn't that the sad truth?! If I am not my biggest cheerleader, how am I ever going to succeed in anything, especially this blog? 

I've had Love This Life for some odd 8 years and to be completely honest, I don't think I've ever really owned up to it. It's sad to say, but I have been almost embarrassed to say I have a blog. And why?! There are literally hundreds of thousands of bloggers out there who completely own what they do. I admire so many women in this space - successful, smart, talented women - many living off their blog, or in new careers because of it. It's a lot harder than it looks, honestly. Being a blogger requires so much - understanding SEO and coding, planning and keeping a content calendar and coming up with fresh, new ideas, writing, photography, etc. etc. That's so much, like literally four different careers rolled up into one! So if being a blogger is so bad-ass, why do I shy away from claiming to be one?

I think a lot of my hesitation comes from that evil comparison game - comparing my follower count and my content and my outfits and my posts to others. It's actually exhausting and does absolutely nothing for me and my confidence. The worst thing is, I'm comparing myself to women who have been blogging and running it as a business for years. I look at Julia from Gal Meets Glam and wow, has she established herself and her blog. But if you look at some of her earliest posts, they aren't anything special. They are actually a lot like my early posts. It's just that she has believed in herself and her blog and has taken that belief and created this beautiful, successful site, with a lot, a lot of hard work.

Bottom line: I need to be confident in what I'm doing with this blog. Sure, it is pretty weird explaining to others outside this space that I take photos of what I'm wearing, but ultimately I'm doing it because it's something I enjoy and love - along with sharing recipes and what I've found online shopping and my travel adventures. The only way this blog will ever succeed and grow to what I want it to be is for me to believe in myself, this creative space. Thank you to everyone who has stayed with me on this blogging journey. It's time for me to have complete confidence that I am good enough. :)

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Tuesday, June 28

what i'm loving

There is so much cute stuff out right now. Last summer, I felt the opposite. I pretty much hated everything. I don't know what happened this summer but y'all, I seriously have to restrain myself from just going crazy and spending a ton of money without even blinking. Self restraint, Rachel. Self restraint. If I COULD go nuts, below are things I would most certainly scoop right up. I love the tiny scallop detail on the shorts, the peplum top has grosgrain ribbon straps (adore), and something about that orange and blue dress is just speaking to me. Those Fighting Illini roots coming out in me, I guess?!

top: 1  |  2  |  3
middle: 1  |  2  |  3
bottom: 1  |  2  |  3

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Friday, June 24


I hope everyone had a good week! It was a little quiet around here - a little bit of a rollercoaster week with work. But next week I'll have plenty of fun, new posts ready for you. I'm excited for this weekend - tomorrow morning we are heading down to a friend's houseboat for a day full of sun, lake, and beers! It's supposed to be like 93 degrees and sunny here, so it's a perfect weekend to be on the lake. 

shopping  |   There are SO MANY good sales going on right now. Shopbop has an extra 25% off sale through midnight tonight! I bought these sandals and love this dress, these heels (perfect transition to fall), and this top). Loft is 40% off everything, Anthropologie has tons of markdowns, and Madewell has an extra 30% off sale.

listening   |    Broadway stars gathered to record "What the World Needs Is Love" as a tribute to the Orlando shooting. I can't stop listening - it seriously gives me chills. Every song purchase on YouTube goes straight to the LGBT community in Orlando.

reading   |   Loved this blog post from Whitney. A good reminder we all need now and then.

voting   |   No, not in the election. But my blogging friend Annie has been nominated for a lifestyle blog award in Charleston. She's pretty amazing, so you all should go vote for her!

Have a great weekend! See you all Monday! 

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Wednesday, June 22

roasted corn and tomato pasta salad

I'm actually not lying when I say that some of my happiest moments and greatest joy revolves around food. I mean, it's just so tasty! And a great meal usually involves great drinks and company, hence happy moments. This weekend I was at Burger Up with friends and having a happy moment, because naturally we were discussing food! My friend Cobb had a recent birthday dinner at Mangia in Nashville and was describing this one pasta they had and literally, my mouth was watering. Because, foods! So that night when I got back into Lex, the first thing I did was go to the grocery and attempt to recreate it. And while I might have varied a few things and Mangia's version is probs way better than mine, I think this is an excellent weekday lunch or summertime side. Easy to make for big groups, or just for yourself. 

Roasted Corn & Tomato Pasta Salad


2 c noodle of choice
2 ears of corn off the cob, roasted
2 chopped tomatoes
Chopped basil
Fresh mozzarella
Olive oil

Boil noodles, assemble other ingredients, and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Serve warm or cold.

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Tuesday, June 21

Weekend Recap: Nashville

This past weekend was a good one! While I did travel AGAIN, it was a relaxed, fun weekend and I loved getting to be back in Nashville with my friends. 

Friday night my old coworkers and I went to Old Glory, a new bar in Edgehill Village. I wish I had better pictures of the space, but the ones I took are super grainy and do not do it justice at all. Just trust me on it - go. And I recommend the Birdie with gin - of the 4 drinks I tasted, that one was my favorite! 

Saturday morning, Mary Jeanne and I got our butt kicked at Orange Theory, and naturally followed it up with donuts from Five Daughters. We got the Maple Glaze and Peaches and Cream and both were delicious! 

Stopped by Warby Parker to get my sunglasses adjusted... it's just the prettiest space.

Saturday night we went to the Sounds game and got whiskey and coke slushies from The Band Box. It's this cool bar/outdoor game and lounge area in right field, brought to you by the owners of Pinewood Social, Patterson House, Paradise Park, etc... so naturally it's good. Had it not rained earlier, I think we would have spent more time at The Band Box, but tons of the lounge chairs were soaked. We ended up at Acme and a new bar - Crazytown - downtown, and had tons of fun singing and dancing.

Yes I took a screenshot from Kelsey's snapchat, no I don't care :)

Sunday brought church, lunch at Burger Up (I'd been craaaaaving it!) and then I was back on the road to KY. Thanks for another awesome, awesome weekend, Nashville! 

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Friday, June 17



It's been a sad week around the world, so let's fill it with a little positivity and happiness, shall we?Guys, I'm so excited for the weekend! I've had a lot of great weekends recently, and this one will be no exception. I'm headed to Nashville (!!!) for no particular reason other than to hang with my sweet friends. I can't believe it's been over a month and a half since I was there last - time seriously flies by! There's not too much on the agenda - cocktails somewhere fun, wandering, the Sounds game, and probably out! Follow along on Instagram (@lovethislifeblog) or Snapchat (@rblack2761) to see where I go!


shopping  |   I am loving J.Crew's new arrivals. It feels like the old J.Crew again, and that warms my heart and makes me happy. I've rounded up some of my faves below. So much to choose from!

reading  |   Two books, actually. The first is for my bible study - we are doing Annie Down's study Looking For Lovely and I'm loving it so far. Really puts things into perspective, and I highly recommend it! I'm also reading The Light Between Oceans but haven't gotten as far as I'd like. So far so good, though!

loving  |   Man Repeller. I haven't visited the site for a long time (why, I don't know), and there's just so much goodness to it. Particularly, this article on women and how they view success (loved it), how fashion is getting too close to the 2000's (terrifyingly true), feeling inferior around teenagers (seriously WHY are none of them awkward?!). The site is literally a black hole I could have spent hours on. No regrets.

traveling  |   Nashville this weekend, Charleston in two weekends! A Bit Of Charleston put together a nice little travel guide for me, which was awesome! Some great suggestions that included a few things we are already planning on. I'm so excited to get to the city and meet up with Annie!

watching  |   I need to see Me Before You and Finding Dory, ASAP. My friend Kaitlyn saw Me Before You last night and said it was amazing and her face hurt from crying. #allthefeels.

beautifying  |   I'm about out of my Bare Minerals tinted moisturizer which I love, but I'm thinking about switching it up and trying the BeautyCounter tinted moisturizer. I've heard nothing but good things about them and I love the mission behind the company. Any opinions out there?!

Have a great weekend, everyone! 

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Thursday, June 16

Look for Less

I love a good look for less, and I also love a good jumpsuit. So bring the two together and it's a perfect blog post! When I saw Liz wearing this Club Monaco jumpsuit, I was in love. First of all, I'm a sucker for anything blue and white these days (if you've followed my recent blog posts, you've probably noticed a trend!) and a jumpsuit is just such an awesome piece of clothing. It's like a dress, but almost chicer and cooler.

I knew I couldn't afford the nearly $300 price tag on it, so luckily I found this $80 version from Loft that is maybe almost even better than Club Monaco's. Where as the Club Monaco one is a little dressier, the Loft version can be dressed up easily with wedges and jewelry, or worn casually with sandals. And well, the price - you really can't beat that.

Loft is currently running 50% off sale prices, which includes this jumpsuit. All sizes are still available, so hurry, hurry! For reference, I sized down from my typical small. 

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Wednesday, June 15

3 summer cocktails

With all the weddings I've had and after work commitments like bible study and kickball, I really haven't gotten to do a ton of cooking, so no recipe post today! Instead I thought I'd put together this fun little graphic of summer cocktails I want to try out this summer - a sangria margarita, strawberry rose slush, and cucumber basil & gin drink! They all sound so yummy and refreshing - especially that CBG! What are your favorite summer cocktails? Any I have to try?



Tuesday, June 14

What I'm Packing: Charleston

In just a few weeks, I'm taking my first just-because vacation in what feels like YEARS! But actually, I don't think I've been on a true vacation for three years. Simon and I are heading to Charleston the week of the Fourth of July and I could not be more excited!!! When I lived in Hilton Head, we would take day trips to Charleston, but I've never spent a prolonged period of time there. Naturally I've been stalking Annie's Charleston posts and Instagram, and searching for every blogger Charleston guide there is. If you have any suggestions on places to eat or things to do, please email or comment!! So far we are planning on going to The Ordinary for those oyster slides, the Gin Joint (on a friend's reco), Sullivan's Island for beach days, and Leon's Oyster Shop.

Besides thinking of things to do while in Charleston, I'm also thinking about what I'm going to pack (obviously). I put together a little mood board - some of these things will actually be in my suitcase, others won't. I'm going for easy and breezy so I stay (somewhat) cool during those hot days! But let's be honest, I'll probably be sweating. a lot. 

Ann Taylor striped shorts  |   I got these on sale and I can't wait to wear them. So comfortable and light weight! And they are on sale right now with an extra 40% off. 

Warby Parker Reilly sunglasses  |   I got these for my birthday in the Whiskey Tortoise color and love them. Warby Parker has so many great sunglasses, it was hard to choose just one pair!

Jack Roger sandals  |   I have the classic Jack Roger sandals, but I just wore these kind the other night and they are SO comfortable. Like, a million times more comfortable than the classic ones with the ouchie wooden heel. 

Straw Clutch  |   Because it goes with everything else blue and white that I'm packing and is under $40. How cute is it for summer?! 

Cupcakes & Cashmere Romper  |   I want this. I need it. Oh baby oh baby! Ha in all seriousness, I really do love this romper and think it would be perfect for the Charleston heat. Gahhh can the money fairy come visit me?!

Club Monaco Crop Top  |   I don't own this, but I would love to. It would go with so much - the Ann Taylor shorts, skirts, high waisted pants... a closet staple, really. And it's on sale. And Club Monaco is one of my favorites. 

Old Navy Panama Hat  |   For when the hair is looking rough. Or when I'm on the beach and my wispys (does anyone else have those hairs that won't go back, no matter how hard you try) are out of control from the wind. 

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Monday, June 13

full heart

It's a short and quick post today - I got back late last night from an incredible wedding weekend celebrating one of my dearest friends and her HUSBAND! It was one of those great wedding weekends where everyone just exuded happiness. We laughed so much, danced our feet off, and just had the best time. Weekends like this are so good for the soul, as my friend Natalie said. No matter how tired I am, I leave with such a full and grateful heart, and full of peace. These weekends remind me how lucky I am to have the amazing friends and family that I do. In light of the tragedy in Orlando over the weekend, I thank and praise God for each and every day I get to spend with the people I love so dearly. 

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Thursday, June 9

5 great tassel earrings

Remember when statement necklaces were totally the thing? And we couldn't get enough of arm parties?

Well, I think it's the time of the statement earring.

Don't get me wrong - I still love a good statement necklace every now and then, but earrings are just doing it so much more for me right now. It sounds silly, but I love that I can choose how they make their statement - with my hair pulled back, proudly showing off the earrings, or with my hair down, making them slightly less noticeable. The trend really seems to be some sort of tassel, so I've rounded up five of my favorite tassel earrings under $60.

1. Club Monaco Tassel Earrings (under $20!)
5. Vanessa Mooney Tassel Earring (comes in 5 colors)

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Tuesday, June 7

summer bucket list

So, I planned on doing a look for less post today, and then once I sat down and started, I realized two of my looks were sold out! So here we are at Plan B - my summer bucket list! It's beginning to really feel like summer, isn't it?! It has finally stopped raining every single day here in Lexington and the temperatures are getting higher and I LOVE it. I just wish that I could enjoy the summer days like I used to - being at the pool or beach with friends! I have a few trips coming up in July (Charleston and Austin !!!!!), but for the weekends that I am in Lexington, I want to make sure I make the most of them.

image c/o The Blue Bijou

go to a drive-in movie   |  Growing up, going to the drive-in was a summer ritual. My mom would make homemade caramel corn and we'd pack up the suburban with tons of blankets and friends. There are a few drive-ins near lexington that look like good options - just need a great movie! 

visit 3 new breweries   |   Lexington doesn’t just do bourbon - they do craft beer, too! There are quite a few breweries in the area and I need to make a day of visiting them and trying out the different beers. 

go cabrewing   |   This is one of my favorite summer activities. Grab a group of friends, pack a cooler full of summer shandys and take a canoe trip down the river. It’s just the happiest day!

make s’mores   |   Because, why not? Is there anything that feels more summer than a great, melty s’more? I didn’t think so. Make sure to watch The Sandlot while eating s'mores. 

host olympics party   |   The Summer Olympics are hands down one of my favorite sporting events. I just want to take off work and do nothing but watch everything, even archery (it's addicting!) My friends and I are planning a beer olympics day for opening ceremonies, which is sure to be an eventful day.

What's on your summer bucket list? Did any of mine make yours?

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Monday, June 6

What I Wore vol. 8: Akola Project

Aaaand we're back! This weekend was one of those great weekends where I had plenty to do, but never felt overly busy. Friday night I had a wedding shower/party, went to a yummy brunch Saturday morning, and had friends over for dinner and an old fashioned game night Saturday! And finally, finally (!!!) yesterday was beautiful. Simon and I went to church, laid by the pool, and relaxed. A pretty good weekend, if you ask me! 

So this outfit. Before I moved to KY, my sweet friend Mary Jeanne gave me this Akola Project necklace (in Kentucky blue, of course). I love the necklace itself, but even more I love the mission behind it. The Akola Project employs impoverished and uneducated women in Uganda and Dallas, TX, to make their products. Most of these women have survived HIV/AIDS, been victims of sex trafficking, or formally incarcerated. Akola gives them the opportunity to feel empowered and provide for their families, and 100% of the proceeds are reinvested to the mission. I highly recommend browsing the website - there are so many beautiful colors and jewelry options. 

dress (old, similarsimilar)  |  espadrille wedges  |  necklace

Since the necklace is such a statement, I paired it with a simple black dress and espadrille wedges by Dolce Vita - seriously so comfortable that I'm contemplating purchasing other colors! 

Have a great Monday! 

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Thursday, June 2

design crush: cassie kelley's nashville home

Growing up, my favorite color was green. Did anyone else go through the phase where painting your bedroom walls apple green was just the coolest?! I remember vividly when I got to redo my room - I had this daisy comforter from The Company Store and my walls matched with this apple green color and man oh man, I thought I was styling. 

I'm happy to say I've moved past apple green walls and daisy comforters and have a love affair obsession with all things white and blue (this has nothing to do with living in Kentucky, I swear). So when I saw this feature on Cassie Kelley's Nashville home, I obviously fell in love. One, they live in my favorite city. Two, their house is white brick. Three, it's decorated in whites and blues and feels so FRESH and perfect. Can I move in? It's literally my design dream come to life.

To see the full feature, visit One Kings Lane.

Get the look yourself - I've linked products in the shopping widget below! 

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Wednesday, June 1

sundried tomato pasta with grilled flank steak

Do you all ever get in a rut with cooking? I feel like I so often make the same go-to's time and time again. But like I do with workouts, I get bored with the same thing over and over! Last night, Simon and I made this super easy and absolutely delicious sundried tomato pasta and I highly recommend to you all! Simon actually found the recipe in Men's Health, something I'm obviously not reading. It looked quick and simple so I thought, why not, let's give it a try! So glad we did, this will definitely be entering the rotation! 


1/2 c sundried tomatoes (you can buy these prepackaged)
1 garlic clove
1/4 c chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped basil
2 tsp red wine
1/4 c olive oil
cavatappi pasta (or whatever short noodle you prefer!)
8 oz grilled flank steak
Parmesan cheese & basil for garnish


In a food processor or blender, pulse the tomatoes and garlic. Ad the herbs, vinegar, and olive oil. Pulse till combined, and add water to thin if needed. Toss the cooked pasta with 3/4 of the sauce and set aside. Season the steak with kosher salt and black pepper. Grill to medium, about 3 minutes a side, depending on how hot the grill is (I prefer my steak more rare). Let rest 5 minutes when done cooking, then slice and toss with remaining sauce. Add to pasta, garnish with additional chopped basil and Parmesan cheese. Enjoy! 

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