Basil Lime Margarita

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Summer is almost upon us and that means one thing is certain in the Jaynes household: margaritas.  We love us a good margarita over here.  We used to use pre-made mix but I always found it to be a bit too sweet and syrupy for my taste.  One day last Summer I set out to make my own margarita from scratch and I've never looked back!  So when Samantha and Cristina announced that this month's Cooks in the Kitchen ingredient was limes I knew immediately I wanted to make some sort of variation of a margarita.

It's sort of a running joke among my in-laws that I love to add herbs to my cocktails (like this rosemary lime spritzer.)  Basil is one of my favorites and it adds such a refreshing twist to a classic margarita.  The touch of sugar mixed with the rim salt turns up the sweetness just a notch.  This is definitely my new favorite cocktail and is one I can totally see myself sipping with a nice al fresco dinner on the porch.  Mmmmm... is it Summer yet?

Basil Lime Margarita
Makes 1

  • Juice from 1 lime (about 1.5 Tbsp)
  • 1/3 Cup water
  • 4 basil leaves, plus 1 more for garnish
  • 1.5 oz good quality tequila (I prefer gold, but silver is fine too)
  • 1 Tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp granulated sugar
  • Ice
  1. Combine salt and sugar and spread out on a plate.  Wet the rim of your glass with a slice of lime and dip into the salt & sugar mixture.  Set glass aside.
  2. Muddle basil in lime juice and water.  Strain into salted glass.  Add tequila and agave syrup and stir until syrup is dissolved.  Add ice and garnish with a basil leaf and lime slice.

Question of the Month

Monday, April 28, 2014

Happy Monday, friends!  Earlier this month I decided to incorporate a monthly Q & A to introduce you to some of the wonderful bloggers that have been hanging out on my sidebar.  I've loved getting to know these ladies and am continually encouraged by their writing.  I hope you will stop by their blogs and get to know them, too!

I don't know about you, but for me Spring tends to be a time of inspiration.  In that spirit, April's question of the month is:

Jenny from Wonderfully Complex

“Lately, my grandmother has been a real inspiration. She was just diagnosed with cancer and had colon surgery, but when I saw her this weekend she was beaming talking about all the art projects she has planned and the activities she’s been enjoying. She has such a joyful outlook on life that I hope to have when I’m her age.”


Amanda from Notes From a Newlywed

"I am inspired by the Mowry twins (aka Tia and Tamera). It's true, I'm a little obsessed with those sisters, but to me, they represent the best qualities in a woman today: Grace, professionalism, poise, kindness, sense of humor, and true beauty inside and out. They're great mothers, great wives, and great human beings. I think they both are fantastic role models in a day and age where upstanding people in Hollywood are hard to find."


Robyn from Robyn's Nest

"My parents and parents in general inspire me so much. Now that I'm married & working full time I struggle so much to get everything done that needs to get done every week. How my parents ever did it with me & my sister running around I will never know! There is so much to "adult life" that it really leaves you with little time for yourself & your family. Parents make so many sacrifices that we don't realize until we grow up & have our own kids. My parents somehow managed to raise two kids while still putting their marriage as a priority & I think that's pretty inspiring! "


Be sure to stop by and get to know these wonderful bloggers; each of them truly has been inspirational to me! And if you're interested in being part of the next question of the month check out my swap & sponsorship opportunities here!

Weekend Edition: The In-Laws

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

On Thursday my in-laws came down from Northern California to spend some of their Spring break with us.  We had so much fun taking them around to our favorite spots in the area- I think we pretty effectively ate & drank our way through Los Angele-.  I know there is a stigma surrounding in laws but mine happen to be some of my favorite people in the world.  In addition to being kind, generous, and phenomenal parents (obviously!) they are also just a ton of fun to be around.  We went to a Maundy Thursday service at our church on Thursday and took them to a Dodger game on Friday night.

On Sunday after church we headed to my grandparents' house in Laguna Beach.  We went for a little beach dip and whittled away the afternoon playing cards and sipping Chardonnay.  Few things make me happier than seeing our families laugh together.

They're a total bunch of wierdos (and need lessons on smiling in pictures) but I'd be lost without them.

Jack of All Trades Link Up

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

This link up is a place where we as bloggers can find new blogs to read, to be able to give encouragement to others and also be encouraged.

This morning I am so excited to be co-hosting the Jack of All Trades Link up with Chantel from A Harvest of Blessing.  I've been following Chantel's blog for awhile now and I am always so encouraged and uplifted by her posts.  A couple of months ago she and her family came down to California and I was lucky enough to meet up with her for coffee.  I had never met a blogging friend in person before but I can tell you that Chantel truly is as genuine and sweet as she seems online.  Her love for Jesus totally radiates and I am so glad to know her!  Some of my favorite posts of hers are  Caring for an Extroverted Child, Patience is a Courageous Endurance, and Is Commenting Easy on Your Blog?  She also has a great eCourse for learning how to shoot in manual mode on your SLR- what a great resource for bloggers!

  1. Link up to one of your blog posts (not your blog homepage), the post can be on any subject but I do ask that posts are family friendly, any posts linked with inappropriate content will be deleted.
  2. Since the purpose of this link up is to get to know other bloggers you must leave encouraging comments on at least two other blogs, the one that is linked up before yours and one (or more) other ones.
  3. Link back to this post so we can grow this blogging community, you can use the button below if you like.
A Harvest of Blessing

Brave Pants

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

If you've been reading this blog for awhile, well, for one thing, you're a saint. But aside from that you may remember a post I wrote awhile ago about the pants that made me cry. If you haven't the gist is this: I bought a pair of parachute pants in India that I thought were the coolest things ever. Then I wore them all the time. Then a friend laughed in my face and told me I looked like Mr. T. Then I cried because my self esteem is was that low.

Fast forward to a couple weeks before my first day of grad school.  I decided I needed a new outfit for the first day of classes because, really, it doesn't actually count as the start of a new chapter in your life if you don't have a new outfit. So I'm perusing H&M and my eyes land on these pants. So soft. So comfy. So exactly like the pants that made my self confidence melt into a pathetic puddle on a dorm room floor just a few years prior. Plus they were leopard print which I vowed to never wear again after a 7th grade photo day catastrophe. 

But there wouldn't be any harm in just trying them on... right? Bad idea. It was love at first sight. They felt like pajamas and sat on my waist in just the right position so that I could devour two Chipotle burritos and/ or be five months pregnant and no one would know.

But the voice of fear was telling me not to. "You'll get laughed at" it said. "None of the other kids grad students will take you seriously." I almost listened. 

But then I realized... If I'm going to be a therapist then these are the exact voices I'm going to be helping people to say no to.  The voices that whisper lies about your worth.  The voices that say "what people think about you is far more important than what you think about yourself and than what God thinks about you."  So I made a conscious decision to be brave, shut those voices out, and buy the pants.  I wore them with confidence on my first day, and during my last class I had a girl from Singapore tell me, "I love your pants! They are all the rage in East Asia right now."  Point, set, match.

Top & Pants: H&M//Necklace: Stella & Dot//Sunglasses: Ruche ( here!)  Shoes: Marshalls

Shop this look:

PumpUp App

Monday, April 14, 2014

Have you guys heard of PumpUp?  It's a free app that creates customized workouts for you based on your fitness level, goals, and available time & equipment.  I hate hate double hate gyms but I'm trying to be consistent about getting at least 20 minutes of exercise a day so finding this app was a major win!  It has over 500 exercises that can be done at a gym, at home, or on the go.  Each exercise is timed and since there is a lot of variety in the workouts they don't get boring.  Each exercise also includes an animated example in case you are like me and have no idea what a "burpee" is (please tell me I'm not the only one?!)  You can create a workout schedule and PumpUp will send you reminders when it's time to get your bum off the couch.  And, like pretty much every app these days, PumpUp also has a community feature.  You can share your progress with friends, but be warned; you will encounter about a million shirt-lift mirror selfies. 

You can download PumpUp here- add me if you do! My username is lov3austere (but don't expect any ab selfies from me)

This post is in no way sponsored by PumpUp- I just love it so much that I wanted to share!

Morning Meditation

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Recently, meditating has become an integral part on my morning routine.  It helps to quiet my mind (which is usually in hyperdrive immediately upon waking) and focus me for the daily tasks that are ahead.  The word "meditation" used to conjure up images of cross-legged monks searching for enlightenment, but I've come to learn that meditation encapsulates a much broader practice than that.  One of the most common responses I've heard to meditation is that "it's not Christian" which, in addition to being a pretty narrow-minded view of Christianity, is just plain false.  The fact is that meditation brings me closer to God.  It allows me a moment to stop talking at God and simply listen.  It is a sacred time that allows God to pierce the anxieties that are so present in my heart and soothe them gently, breath by breath.  It doesn't come naturally, however.  I've had to be intentional about training my mind to calm down and not freak out about being "unproductive" for 20 minutes (which is also false, as this may be the most productive thing I do all day!)  Here are some of the ways that I've build meditating into my morning routine.

Find a comfortable spot: In most pictures of meditation the person is sitting cross-legged on the ground.  For me this is pretty uncomfortable so I like to sit in an armchair or on a pillow up against the wall.  Practice good posture and don't choose a spot that may cause you to fall asleep (like your bed.)

Limit distractions: Turn off the TV, silence your cell phone, and go somewhere that pets won't disturb you.

Start small: Start with meditating for 5 minutes each day, then gradually increase your time as you feel more comfortable with the practice.  Set a quiet, gentle alarm so that you aren't tempted to check your clock.

Close your eyes and focus on your breath: Take three deep breaths and then resume breathing normally.  Notice how your breath feels when you inhale and exhale through your nose.  Notice the rise and fall of your belly.

Don't beat yourself up: It is totally normal for thoughts to creep in. "What will I have for breakfast?" "What do I need to get done today?" Acknowledge those thoughts and picture yourself placing them in a box to be dealt with after your practice is over.  Don't feel guilty about having those thoughts, or about not being able to clear your mind completely.  It's totally normal and with practice you will find that they come less frequently.

Do a body scan: Rather than trying to focus on "nothing" I like to focus on my body.  Starting at your toes, try to focus on all of your muscles and picture them relaxing.  Move up your legs, back, torso, neck, head, arms, hands, and fingers.  Notice any tension that you may be holding and focus on relaxing each part individually.

When all else fails, return to your breath: It's amazing how simply focusing on your breathing can relax and rejuvenate you.

Have you ever meditated? What are some tips you have?

Image credit

Beer Tasting Party

Monday, April 7, 2014

In honor of Tyler's birthday we threw a little semi-surprise beer tasting party on Saturday.  I say semi-surprise because he didn't know it was happening until a few days ago. I knew that there was no way I could get him out of the house long enough for me to set up a party without him figuring it out, but I held out telling him for as long as possible.

Fun fact: Tyler is a homebrewer.  He has brewed over 15 batches of beer (that's 75 gallons!) and has become quite good at it.  We really enjoy visiting breweries and tasting all the different types of beers so I thought it'd be fun to throw a little tasting party of our own.  Ty picked out 6 different types of beers for people to try (one of which was a home brew of his!) and we covered up the labels.  I made up tasting cards for people to write notes and rank their favorites.  It was a blast!  I didn't get any pictures of the actual party- I was too busy stuffing my face with queso and tres leches cake.

Get this free printable here

We had a packed house and full hearts.  We are blessed with such fantastic friends and there's nothing better than getting to celebrate with them all at once!

Happy 25th Birthday, Ty!

Thursday, April 3, 2014


You are the strongest, kindest, and most loving man I've ever met.  I am constantly amazed by your selflessness and the way you show love to me when I'm feeling unlovable. You have taught me what true Joy looks like, and I have come to know Jesus more deeply just by knowing you.  

Happy birthday to the love of my life!


Hug It Out

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

In one of my classes last quarter our professor told us that the quickest way to shorten an argument with your spouse is to stop, take a deep breath, and hug for ten seconds.  Ten seconds! Have you ever tried hugging someone for ten seconds?? It's a long time, even when it's with someone you love.  But hugging is proven to lower stress, increase levels of oxytocin (the "love hormone"), and promote bonding between two people.  Here are some other benefits that come when you hug it out:

  • The brain releases dopamine: aka the "pleasure hormone"
  • Your muscles relax
  • Your self esteem is boosted
  • Your blood pressure is lowered
  • Your immune system is given a boost.

Virginia Satir, who is known as "the mother of family therapy" said,

"We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth"

So grab your partner, a friend, a family member, or heck- even a stranger and hug it out.  None of this side hug stuff- give em a full, frontal, all-up-in-your-business hug.  You'll both be better off for it.

Sources: 1//2