A Spiffy Little Update
posted in: Random

Welcome to the new and improved Jill Nicole website! As you can see, it’s been awhile since I’ve last posted. Leaves have changed color and fallen, snow and ice made us cuddle up inside, and most spring flowers have made their debut and gone. I’m constantly amazed by how quickly time goes by. Is it just a testament to the early child-rearing years? Or maybe something more convicting, like not living more mindfully? I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking it’s a bit of both.

While our babies were busy learning how to do all the things changes and upgrades where being created, and I’m so glad you’re here to see them! Check out the new images everywhere, but especially in the galleries. Hop on over to the about page for updated info on the gal behind the camera. The heart of this site is more or less the same which makes me smile, and I can’t wait to share what I’ve been working on while this site was cooking.

 

Sincerely
Matcha Tonic
posted in: DrinksRandomRecipes

I have given up something for Lent every year since I was in high school. It’s funny how things cycle because when I was younger, I picked things that were challenging for me at the time like “secular music.” Only Christian and country music for me. Yes, insert eye roll here. When I was in my twenties, occasionally I would pick something challenging like no unnecessary purchases, but most of the time I gave up stuff I was cool with giving up for 40 days. What’s the point right? This year I’m doing a double whammy of hard. I’m giving up two things that give me great comfort: alcohol and sweets. I love me my wine, and I love me my desserts (I’m sure if you looked at the recipe section this comes as no surprise).

It’s been about 2 weeks, and I have already learned quite a bit about my reliance on said items for comfort (and dropped the ball twice). If you’re a social media mama, post something about your rough day and likely one of your mama friends will insert the wine glass emoji. And it’s true! A nice glass of wine is very helpful for unwinding from a rough day, but what if you’re going to that glass of wine or that cookie instead of prayer. That was me. “I can handle this on my own,” I must have subconsciously thought.

Well, I really can’t, and this exercise has proven extremely humbling and stretching for me. Fortunately, I have a very thoughtful husband who started making me a delicious concoction as an afternoon pick-me-up after a particularly trying day. And it was a DELICIOUS Matcha Tonic.

If you aren’t familiar with matcha, it’s a green tea that is ground down to a powder that dissolves with liquid rather than steeping. I’ve been a big fan for years, but I’ve never tried it in a cold beverage other than smoothies. I am 110% hooked. Not only is matcha a source of caffeine that this sleepy mama needs, but it is also a known mood-lifter. So this drink is literally a perfect afternoon pick-me-up.

To be honest I look forward to having my sweets and wine come Easter, but this simple refreshing tonic won’t be going anywhere.

Welcome to the NEW Jill Nicole
posted in: Random

If you’ve visited my website in the last few days, you may have noticed that things are looking quite a bit different around here. Ten points to you for your keen observation skills! This website has been a long time in the making, and I am so excited to finally get to share it with you! As you may know, I was in the 2 blog business for awhile and getting a little worn out trying to keep them both going.  That’s when Second Street Creative stepped in and helped me combine my photography site and food blog site into 1 brand new Jill Nicole!

On the Home page, you can scroll through some featured posts and recipes. You can also use the super slick grid at the bottom to quickly see my mosts recent posts and recipes, as well as, the most popular posts from the past.

On the “About” page, you can read more about my journey into blogging and photography. You can also find out some of my favorite things.

On the “Photography” page, you can flip through galleries of my work and find out about packages and pricing. I also answer a few of the more common photography questions I get, and you can read some nice words from past clients.

On the “Recipe” page, you can click through all of my recipes by category or use the very handy search function to find what your heart so desires.

On the “Blog” page, you can scroll through all the content for the website or pick a category that you find interesting.

Lastly, you can use the “Contact” page to get in touch.

I hope you love the new site as much as I do. This will be a fun place to grow as a photographer, foodie, and as a wife/mother/friend/etc! Thanks again to Ryan and his team in making this dream a reality.

Take a look around, and please do come back again!

Sincerely
Miracle Mondays
posted in: Random

Today is Monday….. but you’re smart so you already knew that.
Monday typical isn’t the favorite day of the week, but what I gave you reason to love Mondays?

A few months ago I met an energetic spark of guy named Joey.  Joey is a Duke grad who was living the life in NYC when after a significant lose in his life realized that there was a bigger calling for him.  He moved back to NC and started Miracle Mondays.

Miracle Mondays is a non-profit “who infuses children’s hospitals with color/music/art/poetry/games/fun.”

The action plan is simple. Donate $1. Every Monday.  This simple gesture will impact the lives of the patients and their families.  It will make you feel good.  It will make you love Mondays.

Take a minute to visit the Miracle Mondays website.  It explains further why color/music/art/poetry/games/fun are so important to these kids and how you can get involved. Please, feel free to spread the word about this great charity!

Happy Monday Everybody!

Sincerely,

Jill

Friday Favorites
posted in: Random

Currently I am sitting at my kitchen table drinking my coffee and typing this post on my phone…. I cannot wait until I have the Internet again. Internet is my favorite. I love lamp… Anyway.
What I really want to share with you is some new favorite blogs I’ve come across. They range from home decor to baking to random insight.

Decor8 is the best home decor blog I’ve come across. The aesthetic of everything shared there is right up my alley. I always save looking at the posts from that day for last… so I can savory each tidbit.

http://decor8blog.com/

Love, Julie and Cornflake Dreams are two blogs I’ve “met” through other blogs. It’s a small bloggy world (not really, there are so many out there). These ladies love to travel; Julie recently got back from a 3 week trip to Greece and Jillian has a trip planned for both Spain and Turkey this year! I’m not ridiculously jealous… not me. They both also have a beautiful eye for design. Check these ladies out.

http://juliedmonds.blogspot.com/

http://www.cornflakedreams.com/

The last blog I’d like to introduce you to is Keiko Lynn which a really fun style blog. You can tell that Keiko loves creating outfits. She is unique and fun; don’t expect the usual here. I think that’s one reason why I love her blog so much, she’s no cookie cutter dresser. She, too, has an affinity for bold lipstick… a girl after my own heart.

http://www.keikolynn.com/

Well, All… I hope you have found some new places to foster your creative mind.

Have a happy day!

Sincerely,

Jill

Happy 4th!
posted in: RandomRecipes

Impromptu trip to the coast?

Sure! Why not?

Every hotel and camp ground full…

No problem. We’ll make it work.

We’re flying by the seat of our pants ladies and gents.

Have a Happy Independence Day!

Sincerely,
Jill

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Friday Favorites – BRB
posted in: Random

Guys… I’m excited… You see, I’m going on a trip. I just bought plane tickets on Wednesday. It’s a happy day.
So for this Friday Favorites, here are some of my favorites iPhone photos… Because I may or may not be writing this at the airport at 5:45 in the morning.

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Sincerely,
Jill

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas…
posted in: Random

Mothers… aren’t they wonderful?

I’m quite partial to my own.  She makes me feel loved.  She tells me I’m wise and pretty.

When I lived in Kansas, we would go on long walks together and talk for hours.

She is an unbelievable hostess and cook… but she’s very unhelpful in teaching me cook because she just flings something together with no recipe.  That’s talent.

I’m told I look just like her which I take as a huge compliment.  She’s gorgeous.  She also dresses to the nines… I like to think my sister Kelly and I helped with this.

So what to do for a mother as wonderful as this?  Here are some ideas I have for my mom, and I think they should be great for many mothers out there.

Pottery

I just happened to run across whitney smith pottery shop a year ago on etsy, and I have been just waiting for a reason to buy one her gorgeous items.  Some of her items are pricey but would be worth the investment.  Pottery doesn’t really ever go out of style.

Tulip Ceramic Vase in Vintage Green

Pair of Bird Cupcake Stands in White with Yellow Birds

Five Nesting Ranunculus Rose Flower Ceramic Bowls

Address Stamps

Myrubberstamp is another etsy shop I’ve found.  There is something charming about address stamps.  Maybe it’s because I love getting mail, or that I haven’t had a residence I’ve lived in for more than year since college.  Here are some cute ideas.

Secret Diary Rubber Stamp

Your Monogram / Initial Rubber Stamp

TREE Rubber Stamp

Books – Baking, Art and Decorative

Books are always charming.  I love flipping through the pages of cookbooks and design books. It’s like I can feel the inspiration and creativity being soaked up into my fingertips.  Below is my favorite baking cookbook, gorgeous art book, and an inspirational decorating book.

Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

This book is full of genius classic and interesting recipes.  I know my mom loves the blueberry pie recipe from here.

The Four Holy Gospels Bible

Artist Makoto Fujimura was commissioned to illuminate The Gospels.  I saw this gorgeous book in person, and it would be an unbelievable treasured gift.  Yes, it’s pricier, but it is actual art.

Simply Scandinavian

I picked this book up from West Elm last fall.  It’s full of the most beautifully decorated houses. Very inspiring.

Hope this is helpful for you and your mommy.

Sincerely,

Jill

Future Project!
posted in: Random

I am so excited to tell you about a project I’ll be taking on here in the next couple months with the talented and beautiful Krysta from Purple Pond.
I have decided to revamp my chair for my kitchen/dining room table.

Here are my chairs….

Here are the paint colors that I’ve been looking at.  I obviously want something colorful.

I have tons of blues, reds and greens in my house. I actually don’t have any yellow… I just love it.  It’s happy… and who doesn’t need happy in their house?

Honestly, I’m not exactly sure what I want for the fabric on the chair.  Here are some that I found that are pretty…

Ok all you wonderful readers… please, please… I’m begging you… especially you Mom, Kelly, Molly, and Krysta… Tell me what you like!!! Especially in regards to paint color.

I need some help; I’m an incredibly indecisive person.  I like so many things. I need a filter, and that filter is you!  Don’t you feel honored?!? I knew you would…

Sincerely,

Jill

P.S.  There has been a lot of destruction and sadness in our world lately.  Let’s support the people who are helping out all those in crisis.  You can give a one time donation to American Red Cross, click here.

Surprise Engagement Party!!!
posted in: Random


This Katie and Brian… and as you could probably guess they are engaged! This is very exciting to me, because Katie was the very first friend I made here in North Carolina.

Here is how the story went: The Divinity school was hosting a pre-school pizza party for all the first year students and their significant others.  I was awkward.  I guess I don’t consider myself the dainty, quiet preacher’s wife type so I was afraid that I would stick out like a sore thumb.  I tried to lay low to prevent myself from being found out.  Josh and I found our seats, and low and behold this super cute, friendly girl sits next to me.  Katie was immediately a breathe of fresh air, and I think something like this was exchanged between us: “Hi, I’m Jill…. I need girlfriends… now.” Katie responds, ” OH MY GOSH, me, too!”  Bingo Bango… we’re friends. It was awesome.  Thank the Good Lord for Katie.

But this blog post is not about Katie and our friendship… it’s about her and  her sweet relationship with Brian, and the fun party Brian and I planned to surprise Katie.

 About a month and a half ago, Brian contacted me to help him pick out an engagement ring.  I’m always down for looking at and trying on jewelry so of course I agreed to help.  Oh the ring! It’s gorgeous; I’m obviously biased since I helped pick it out. From there he began to tell me his plan and asked if I would be able to throw this party after the proposal.  Something for me to be super detail-oriented about, bake for and make my friend happy…. I’m in.

So here are some pictures from the party.  I will have a post later this week about the decorations I used, how I made it or where I got it from.

Entrance to the party… the party was floral themed per Brian’s brilliant request.  He asked everyone to bring flowers since Katie loves flowers and the outdoors so much.

The dessert table…

There were Carrot Cake cupcakes and Lemon Strawberry cupcakes (recipes tomorrow).

Such a cute couple.

Side note: they were on their way out.  They don’t typically carry  around cupcakes and wine all the time.

Love you Katie Bird. I’m so happy for you and Brian.

Sincerely,

Jill