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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hello 30, It's Me, Brooke

This week I turned 30 years old. I'm going to be honest, I had a bit of a freak out. Granted, I've always been prone to an existential life crisis here and there, so it was of no surprise. I had very rigid clear cut goals for myself to accomplish by the time I reached, what I considered milestone, and needless to say, I reached very few of them. I am well aware that 30 is young and I have my whole life ahead of me, as I've parroted these exact words to my husband 6 years ago, but telling yourself that is something quite different.

For the most part my 20 were wonderful. They were filled with education, art, adventure, travel, love, and friends. They were also filled with mental turmoil and immense heartache. I can honestly say I embraced them to the fullest extent.

Twenty-nine was one of my favorite years out of the decade. I got to take a once and a lifetime road trip with my father back to the state of my birth, we settled in a bit more into our house, and we added a new addition to the family, our new rescue dog Ernie (who Penny thinks is the best thing on Earth). Twenty-nine was a good year. I thought I'd share some of my favorite photos of the past year, while looking forward to whatever lies ahead in the future.

Fulfilling a childhood dream
Daddy & Me


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Why I Haven't Recently Blogged

Hi Everyone,

As you may have noticed, I haven't posted since March, 4 months ago! I think that might be a record for me. I have received a few emails from really lovely readers asking if I'm alright or if I've stopped blogging altogether. To them I say, thanks for checking up, I'm just fine, but to the blog question, it's a bit more complicated.

I started my blog 4 years ago (I can't believe it's been that long!) after I lost my job and had a good deal of free time on my hands. I was interested in plus size fashion blogging and new to the world of blogging in general. I wanted to create a place where women could see another woman that looked like them wearing clothes on a body that looked like theirs. I was searching for shops and sites that sold the kind of clothes I wanted to wear so I figured a blog would be the perfect way to share what I found with women looking for the same thing. I never thought of myself as stylish or even a fashion blogger. I still don't which is where I think the disconnect is. I met a bunch of lovely people through this blog, but over 2013 & especially 2014 (you'll notice the total of 3 posts) I felt like I was becoming something that I loathed, materialistic. I found myself buying things for the blog and not for me. I have never been a materialistic person, so when I began noticing this in myself it bothered me. I felt like putting things up on my blog was me saying "look at this thing I have", and it felt dirty and out of character. I read other folks fashion blogs all of the time and those thoughts never cross my mind, so I don't know why it did when it was mine, but they do, so I stopped.

I haven't bought any new dresses in months even though the itch is there and boy do I want to scratch it. I miss blogging and I want to start again, but it doesn't feel right as of yet. I think I may have to reformat a bit and incorporate something other than fashion into my blog, something that is a bit more of who I actually am. I still want to be a visible body for those of the same size and shape that think they can't find clothes that will look good on them, so I'll do that from time to time, but it just won't be the focus.

In the meantime you can follow me on Instagram at PrettyPennyMae to keep up with my life if you're interested and I can keep up with yours. I update that all the time.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Pattern Clashing: Hit or Miss?

Today I decided to play around with my new $8.00 dress. I own two black dresses, both with white polka dots, but this is the newest of the two, and the dots have quite a different pattern than the other. Because I tend to wear more color and patterns, I have a hard time dressing black. Simply choosing a cardigan and pair of tights to go with the dress seemed rather daunting. I decided on one of my favorite cardigans that oddly, rarely makes it out of my closet.

To be honest, I'm not totally sure it worked, but I tried! Color-wise it went well together, but I did notice more than a few side eyes today. Oh, well!

OOTD Details:

Dress: eShakti
Cardigan: Old Navy
Tights: Walmart

I had a $30 off coupon for eShakti and this dress was on sale for $38.00, so I decided to go for it, even though I wasn't totally sold on the pattern. I wanted more black in wardrobe since I don't have any and I figured I'd step out of my box and try something different. Plus at $8.00 I figured, why not? The cut and fit is great which works out nicely, because they have solid dresses in the same style that I may have to get. Overall, it's definitely more of a graphic print that I'm used to, so I'm going to have to get used to it, but I like it. I'm not sure whether or not the cardigan choice was a hit or miss though. What do you think?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Tasty Oat Balls

I love trying out different recipes that I come across and recently I've been doing it a lot more than usual. Because of my Bickerstaff Syndrome, my neurologist doubled my medication, and has me keeping a headache diary. In addition to this, over the past year I've slowly been learning my dietary migraine triggers. With all of this combined, I'm hopping to have a relatively migraine free 2014. It's also led me to exploring a ton of new recipes with my new restrictions, such as little to no breads (which for me is HARD), only a light amount of dairy, no caffeine, and nothing carbonated (my medication causes it to taste flat, yuck!).  For me it feels fairly restrictive, but I started about 2 and half weeks ago and so far so good.

I created a Migraine Free Menu on my Pintrest account to help me with meal planning. My favorite recipe so far has been the No Bake Oat Bites. I cannot stop eating them as they are delicious! So, I figured I should share the recipe with everyone so y'all can enjoy them too!

1 Cup- Rolled Oats
2/3 Cup- Almond Flakes
1/2 Cup- Peanut Butter- I like to use crunchy peanut butter for added texture.
1/2 Cup- Dried Cranberries
1/3 Cup- Honey (or Maple Syrup)- I used syrup this time as we were out of honey.
1 tspn- Vanilla Extract

Step 1- Stir all DRY ingredients together in a bowl.

Step 2- Add in WET ingredients and mix it all together.

Step 3- Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for 30 to 45 minutes

Step 4- Once chilled, roll into balls of desired size. Mine were between 1- 1.25inches and I was able to get about 18 balls total, it would have been 20, but my husband ate some of the chilled mix before it made it into balls!

Step 5- Enjoy!

They should be kept in your refrigerator and will last about a week, but I'm venturing to say it won't take you that long to eat them!

I just love this recipe! It's super easy and you can put it together with items you probably already have in your pantry.

Let me know if you try them out and what variation on the recipes you take! Also if you have migraines with dietary triggers, I'd love to swap recipes and ideas of how you keep yours in check.

Friday, January 3, 2014

The 2013 Holidays

2013 was an odd year for my little family. It started with a punch in the face with the loss of my beloved Grandmother, my husband and I bought a house and celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary (the wood anniversary how fitting) on the same day, took lots of little road trips, and basically just spent the rest of the year nesting. We had lots of little personal ups and downs, but 2013 will keep stay with us for many reasons.

For me, one of the reasons will be that it was the year that holiday traditions and hosting was passed to us. As I've mentioned before, I'm an only child and I have only maternal grandparents. My grandmother, Mimi as I call her always hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas. Everything was always so immaculately decorated and smelled of the season. I have such fantastic and fond memories of this. Now that she has passed and we are hosting, it is so very important to me that I keep this as intact as possible. In fact, I've been a bit obsessive about it, which may seem silly since it's just my husband, parents, and Grandfather, but I look at it as tribute to my Mimi and her years of giving me such wonderful memories. Everything went fine and the food turned out okay for me having cooked it so, all in all not too bad.

We took some photos of our Thanksgiving and Christmas that I thought I'd share.

Thanksgiving: my mother with Papa's dog Toby, my husband & I
We were able to decorate for the first time.

My dad captured this sweet little moment right after we hoisted up Penny, before we were
about to actually pose for the photo. It's my favorite photo of us ever.

So how was everyone's holidays? Any plans for the New Year?

Monday, December 23, 2013

First Modcloth Dress

I know I'm probably late to the Modcloth party, but I have been admiring their dresses forever, though have always been afraid to buy. I don't really know what has kept me from it. I guess it's been that fear that they will be marketed as plus size, I'll be excited, but when it comes down to it, it won't fit. I have had it happen before, and have been disappointed, so I was afraid that the same thing would happen with Modcloth. Then recently I noticed their semi-aggressive marketing towards the plus size community. I follow them on Instagram and kept seeing all of these gorgeous plus size ladies in these adorable dresses. I felt that it was time to take the leap of faith and give them a chance. I did it at a great time too apparently, as they were having a big after Thanksgiving Sale and were offering $15 off to new customers!

I am so so glad I decided to take the Modcloth plunge because I LOVE my new dress!

 OOTD Details:

Dress: Modcloth
Cardigan: Target
Leggings: Walmart
Socks: Gap
Shoes: Target

It goes without saying that the dress is SHORT. For reference, I'm 6 ft tall and I ordered the 3X. I probably could have sized down, but it would have been a shirt if I did. The dress is medium to light weight fabric and unlined. Because of the length, I will ALWAYS have to wear leggings under it, I don't really have a choice, as without them we go full on porno for everyone around me. That being said, with leggings, I don't think it's too short, and frankly I don't care if it is, because it's damn cute.

I can't wait to order from them again when I get the chance. I feel like a new world of options has just been opened!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Favorite Holiday Treat

Today I wanted to share one of my favorite holiday eats. Granted you can eat this lovely treat anytime of year, but I feel myself indulging more often when it's chilly and cloudy outside. It's probably the scent.

Baked oat apples can be such a decadent food, depending on how you make them. I like mine with a bit of crunch and a lot of spice. I won't keep you waiting. Let's get to it.

In the photos you'll see 2 apples, but the recipe I'm giving you is for 4 apples. You can adjust it however you see fit.

4 apples (Jonagold, Fuji, or Honeycrisp (I used this one)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 tspn cinnamon
1/4 tspn nutmeg
pinch of clove
1 tblspn of butter cut into 4 pads (I cut this down further to make it fit the full apple top)
1 cup of hot water

Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 375˚F with rack in the middle

Step 2: Core the apple, leaving the bottom intact

Step 3: Mix brown sugar, oats cinnamon, nutmeg, & cloves in a bowl and divide mixture into apples pressing firmly.

Step 4: Arrange apples in a baking dish (8x8) and top each with pad of butter.

Step 5: Pour water into dish & cover lightly with foil.

Step 6: Bake for 20 min. covered, then remove foil and bake for 20 min uncovered. The brown sugar should be like syrup and a knife should easily slide through the oat mixture.

Step 7: Enjoy!

Not only do these apples taste delicious, but they make your house smell wonderful! If you try the recipe, let me know how it turns out or how you tweak it!

Monday, December 16, 2013

On the Road Dress

Happy Holiday Season to All! Things have been pretty crazy around these parts with having to finish up the last bits of house organization so we could/can for the first time host Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. It's a taxing task when you have a house with just 2 closets and are battling squirrels in an attic. Right now however we've tackled both of those issues, so fingers crossed it stays that way!

One of the great benefits of the holidays are all of the sales. Every year I buy myself one gift and this year, as most years, I treated myself to a dress. eShakti was having a 35% off sale and I had a coupon which led to the perfect storm when a saw a great print on a dress with one of my favorite cuts.

Outfit Details:

Dress: eShakti
Cardigan: Old Navy
Leggings: Walmart
Shoes: Target

As someone who loves road trips, the print on this dress was just perfect! Not to mention, right now I'm really into navy dresses, which made this dress even better! It's basically the same cut as my orange plaid dress, but with a lighter cotton blend fabric. I really can't recommend it enough.

If you've never ordered anything from eShakti, now is a great time as I've been given a  discount code for $30.00 off to share with those 1st time eShakti customers. It's good now through December 31st.
The discount code is  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

eShakti Discount for the Holidays

Hi Everyone! I know it's been ages since I've posted. I've been working on a big ol' blog update, but in the mean time I wanted to share a GREAT discount that eShakti recently sent me. Right now new customers can get $30.00 off their 1st purchase and they have site wide FREE SHIPPING! 

If you haven't noticed, I'm addicted to dresses and eShakti happens to be my favorite retailer, so when I get a discount code from them, you can bet I'm going to share it! Just use the code,


Here are some of my favorite current pieces: 

Dog Skirt!!!

I just LOVE these pieces so much! If you use the code let me know what you get! Remember the discount code is

Monday, September 16, 2013

Peter Pan & the Post Office

Ever since we moved to a rural town we've been spending our weekends exploring our new community. One of the gems I stumbled upon a few months ago while picking up a package was our local post office. Although it has the inconveniently painful hours of 8:30am to 4:00pm M-F, the Postmaster is willing to let you come to the back door after hours for a chat and to pick up what you need. Ah, I love small towns. Before I knew this however, I went in, without knowing I was late, and realized I had gone back in time. The post office has not been changed since it opened in 1930. All of it's original post boxes are there along with the fixtures and fittings. I told my husband that he had to see it. So, while we were out wondering yesterday we decided to stop by since it was Sunday and no one would be inside. It's just such a lovely building with so much detail. It makes me want to order things just to have to pick them up at the office.

I also took advantage of the lovely surroundings to take an OOTD photo. eShakti put out their Fall line last week and I fell in love with a few of their pieces, but one in particular especially caught my eye.

OOTD Details:

Dress: eShakti
Cardigan: Target
Shoes: Target

I know I say this all the time, but this is my favorite dress. This dress makes me wonder why I even own a pair of jeans. Just as an aside, I literally only own one pair of trousers and they are a pair of jeans. This dress was also available in eggplant, but I had already bought this one, by the time they released it in that color. Currently this dress is sold out, but when they have more, which I'm hoping they will, I'll be buying it in eggplant as well. I think it will look so great in the fall, with tights and brogues or boots. There are just so many possibilities.

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