Fairy Tale Forest Easter Tablescape
These mini chicks were one of my favorite parts of this table.

There's nothing I love more than creating a pinterest perfect tablescape. But I must admit-I'm a shameless host-I love when my guests walk in and "oooh" and "awe" over every little detail and that's half of the satisfaction! Creating this scape was so simple-every single item is from World Market, even the adorable sugar cookies! I had a casual & playful vibe in mind but I still wanted it to look pulled together and elevated. Head over to the World Market blog to see all of the details and learn more! 

9 Reasons Why I think Every Couple Should Go to Marriage Counseling Before Saying "I Do."

Brandon Kidd Photography

Brandon Kidd Photography

When I met Mr. Amazing or Mr. A (a nickname I gave my husband after meeting him-since he was the most amazing man I had met besides my dad), it took us only two dates before deciding we never wanted to be apart.  We said “I love you” six weeks later, went on an epic trip to Asia, fell in love with each other’s families and after 11 months, we were engaged. It’s our whirlwind romance that felt like a dream.  But despite all of the perfect feelings, we decided early on into our courtship to talk about the tough topics and ask the hard questions. And because having a full, healthy, lifelong marriage is something both of us are very serious about, soon after getting engaged, Mr. A and I decided to go to marriage counseling. We knew we wanted to make it a top priority to build a solid foundation for our future together before the big day and we also respected enlisting the help of a professional.  In a lot of ways, we spent more time planning our marriage than we did our wedding. Over the course of nine months we made it our mission to prepare for our sacred union.  This included writing and creating our family mission statement, sharing our goals and expectations and going on a weekend engaged couples retreat through our church. 

Here are our nine crucial topics we covered and why I think going to marriage counseling before the big day will save you from couples therapy later.

1.    The Past Is the Past…or Is it?

One of the first exercises we did during our couple’s retreat was share our past and I’m not talking about exes. We each had to complete a serious of questions about our childhood and our upbringing and then discuss them together. This included how we were raised, how we were disciplined, our parent’s relationships, how arguments were resolved in our house, and how we were shown love as a child. This was really interesting because we learned how one’s childhood and how they were brought up affects and shapes how we are as adults including how we act in relationships and even how we parent. Even if you think you know how your significant other’s upbringing was, you learn so much from each other by exchanging stories.

2.    Do you know each other’s Love Language?

We took Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages Quiz a couple months into dating to learn how we express and receive love.  I learned I like to hear Words of Affirmation while Mr. A wants Quality Time and my undivided attention.  Knowing each other’s love language allows you to understand how your significant other interprets love and how they accept love. For example, if your love language is Acts of Service, this means having someone clean the dishes might mean more to you than receiving a gift. 

3.    Money Talks

Having a neutral space where you can discuss money, credit scores and spending is key to keeping an open line of communication about your financial future. How much money did either of us feel comfortable spending without letting the other know? How would we divide household expenses and bills? For my husband and I we decided creating a family account while still keeping each of our individual accounts worked best for us.  I found myself really enjoying the time we spent creating our budget including prioritizing spending to reach our goal of buying a home. 

4.    Rules of the Household

If everyone knows his or her job, there’s less of a chance that you will argue over spilled milk.  I’ve spent hours listening to friends complain about their husbands who never put their dishes in the dishwasher, etc.  What that has taught me is how important it is everyone knows their role in the home. For example, Mr. A usually is on dinner duty during the week because he gets home before me but on the weekends I usually try to cook for us. 

5. Future Parenting

By the time Mr. A and I were engaged, we had already discussed when we wanted to start a family but we weren’t exactly on the same page.  He already had names for our future children while I thought we would wait a while. This is also the man who wanted to get married six months after getting engaged while I thought we’d wait a year-so I should have known! After we discussed becoming parents with our marriage counselor, we learned that we were more on the same page than we thought and reached a compromise. #LittleAmazing

6.  Fighting Fair

I hate fighting; people screaming at each other stresses me out.  I’m the kind of person that wants to apologize and make up immediately.  Mr. A on the other hand, needs space and time.  We’ve both adapted to each other’s needs but this was only after hearing each other’s point of view. Writing letters to one another explaining how we feel during and after a fight and reading them to each other after things have cooled off helped too.  Keep in mind you could meet with the counselor days or weeks after the fight so you’re no longer upset but it helps you resolve the problem, figure out how to handle future conflict and move on.

7.  Family (the in-laws) Boundaries

Both of us are extremely close to our families but as our relationship grows and as we start our own new family, it’s important to keep the relationship we have together separate from our immediate families. This is especially crucial when it comes to running our household or how we will parent one day.  When you’re close to your family it’s easy to share things with them and include them in decision-making.  However, discussing family boundaries is important for maintaining your own privacy while keeping an open line of communication.

8. Social Life

We have my friends, his friends and our friends.  When you add family and work social obligations, it leaves little time for “us” time.  Figuring out how to prioritize time for each other takes work and it also means having to say “no” to others sometimes. However, a healthy balance is when Mr. A gets his boys nights and I have my girl time. A solution we came up with to make time for our friends without sacrificing time with one another is to spend time with our friends when the other is busy. Plus, we are lucky to have a ton of mutual couple friends so we love to double date.  Most importantly, we rarely make plans without checking in with each other. 

9.  Goals (mission statement)

One of my favorite activities we did during a session was write down our goals. We each made a list of our personal, professional and couples goals. One of my favorite quotes is “Love is not gazing at each other but looking outward together in the same direction.”  This activity serves as a map for where you want your relationship to go and the compromises (promises) you must make to get there.  While your goals list can and should change quarterly or annually, your family mission statement should be the core philosophy of your lives.

At the beginning of this post I said that I think marriage counseling before marriage saves you from couples therapy later. This doesn’t mean you should stop working on your relationship once you are one. In fact, I think it should continue! I believe you should absolutely continue to work on your marriage beyond your big day-whether it be with a marriage counselor, one-on-one or going on retreats. Having monthly, quarterly or yearly check ins with your significant other is healthy and a positive way to protect your relationship.  I look forward to continuing to learn more about my husband, growing and changing together and improving myself as a wife, friend, partner and soon, mother. 

My Go To Snack Right Now

Everyone keeps asking me what I’m craving. If you’re eating a lot more protein, you’re having a boy. Consuming bread like it’s your job? Definitely a girl! For the most part, I’m eating the same foods-more veggies, lots of water and no supersized Oreo chocolate bars. The snack that is always stocked in my fridge? noosa yoghurt. I’m not even a “yoghurt person” but it’s the only yoghurt I like.  I love the thick and creamy texture made with whole milk and all natural ingredients. They just came out with three tart & sweet flavors: orange & ginger, strawberry & hibiscus and pear & cardamom.  And while I love them by themselves, they are great for making smoothie bowls; toppings for my whole-wheat waffles and I just love a dollop on top of my warm oatmeal. The rich and creamy noosa is the perfect combination with the warm oatmeal.  Check out my go-to recipe below and then click here to download the noosa coupon! You can find the new tart & sweet flavors at Target stores nationwide. 

Brandi's Afternoon Snack

Ingredients

  • 1 bowl warm steel cut oatmeal
  • 1 tub Strawberry & Hibiscus noosa yoghurt 
  • fresh fruit (raspberries and strawberries)
  • chopped pistachios

Directions

Top warm oatmeal with a dollop of noosa yoghurt and garnish with fruit and nuts. Serve and enjoy!

Be sure to follow me on instagram @BrandiMilloy for more fun and easy recipes!

 

Dear Little Amazing (My First Trimester Update)
Some of my favorite books from my childhood are Dr. Seuss. Can't wait to read them all to Little A.

Some of my favorite books from my childhood are Dr. Seuss. Can't wait to read them all to Little A.

Being a first time Mom is a whirlwind of emotions. And as much as I thought I knew about pregnancy from my Mom, Sister and close friends, it's a whole new adventure for me. I thought I'd capture how I'm feeling in a series of letters to our baby, Little Amazing and share them here with you.  Reaching the first trimester was such a huge feat and now I finally feel like I am settling into this new chapter of carrying our first little babe.  For photos and more updates, follow along on instagram @LittleAmazing. 

1/17/17

Dear Little Amazing,

You are such a beautiful blessing and we can’t wait to meet you.  Your Dad always said you would come right after we were married and he was right.  He told me on our second date that he wanted to be a Dad and he has been talking about you ever since. I had a feeling God had sent you even before we confirmed it.  I felt different. I just knew it.  I feel like I already know you.  You made my first trimester almost too easy.  You’ve been such a good baby-never making Mama sick.  You had me craving baked potatoes, steak and veggies but when am I not craving those things? I’ve wanted to take more naps on the weekends and sometimes I can’t stay up past 9pm but that’s probably best for both of us. Everyone keeps telling me to sleep as much as I can now but I have a feeling even when you’re here I won’t be able to stop staring at you long enough to go to sleep.

Your Dad has been so awesome-giving me foot & leg rubs and making dinner for me when I’m too tired.  He is the best. I can’t wait for you to meet him.  You have a lot of people that love you already. Your grandparents are thrilled! You have so many aunts and uncles-it’s going to be fun! And your cousins, Maximus and Bexton are especially excited! They’ve already nicknamed you “Sweetie!” You've already flipped our world upside down and changed it for the better. 

I’ve so enjoyed our first trimester together.  I find myself smiling a little more, radiating love and always on the verge of giggling. It's a miracle what's happening inside of me. My mommy friends tell me the next six months are going to fly by! I hope it doesn’t go by too fast! They also tell me being pregnant was some of the best times in their life.  I've never been happier and I'm cherishing every moment.  Thank you for being our little love baby. I hope you know I'm soaking it all in day by day and loving each milestone we reach together.

Love,

Mommy

7 Layer Salty Sweet Peanut Butter Dip

Whether you're pregnant like me or just want something salty sweet to enjoy during the big game, this dip is the answer to all of your cravings. Inspired by 7 Layer Mexican Dip, this sweet take is loaded with salty potato chips, creamy peanut butter, chocolate and more! Enjoy with animal crackers, pretzels or a spoon! Scroll down for the recipe below and follow me on instagram @BrandiMilloy for more food inspiration & recipes!

7 Layer Peanut Butter Lovers Dip1.jpg

7 Layer Peanut Butter Lover's Dip by Brandi Milloy

Ingredients

1 cup whipped peanut butter 

¼ cup salted caramel sauce 

2 cups whipped topping

½ cup crushed pretzels

½ cup crushed potato chips

¼ cup crushed peanuts

¼ cup peanut butter chocolate cups, chopped

Directions

Onto a serving plate or pie dish, layer peanut butter, caramel sauce, whipped topping, pretzels, potato chips, peanuts and chocolate candies.  Serve immediately with crackers, animal crackers, pretzels and cookies.

We're Having a Baby!
Follow @LittleAmazing on instagram for more!

Follow @LittleAmazing on instagram for more!

We are beyond blessed to share we are going to be a family of three this summer! This has been the toughest secret to keep but we've enjoyed having this special time to ourselves and our families. We are most grateful to have a healthy, thriving baby and can't wait to meet him or her. I'm excited to announce I'll be sharing my journey as a first time Mama here on my blog and on all of my social media channels so be sure to follow along! Mr. A (Mr. Amazing) will also be making blog posts to share his perspective on things including below where he interviewed me about being pregnant. I hope you'll enjoy being a part of this adventure with us. We're having the time of our lives! Get ready for @LittleAmazing!

Mr. A : When did you know you were pregnant?

Brandi: I had a feeling something was different but wanted to wait a week to be sure so I waited until the following Saturday to take a pregnancy test. You were sleeping like a baby when I snuck into the bathroom. Before I could even finish washing my hands the test said PREGNANT. I couldn't wait to jump back in bed and wake you up!

Mr. A: Yeah, I was sleeping!

Brandi: I know....so I nuzzled you a little and when you finally woke up I looked at you and said "There's a baby inside of me!"

Mr. A: I was still half asleep and didn't realize really what was going on and I heard you talking but didn't register what you were saying until you flashed the pregnancy test in front of my eyes. I was overwhelmed with excitement and can't wait to be a future dad! So how did you get pregnant? 

Brandi: Haha! Real funny. That's what's crazy though! I was on the road so much that month but we managed to make a baby somehow!

Mr. A: What was your first trimester like? 

Brandi: Well I had zero morning sickness so that was incredible. I felt a little more tired than usual and I was hungry all of the time. 

Mr. A: Well that's nothing new! You're always planning your next meal when you're eating your current meal. But you have tons of energy so it was crazy when you'd want to go to bed early.

Brandi: Right? I've been a sleepy head these past couple of weeks. It was also so hard not to tell our friends we were pregnant but I'm so glad we waited. 

Mr. A:  As excited as I was my main priority was to make sure the baby was healthy before we told everyone and to get your blood work done for the genetic testing.

Brandi: I know. All that matters is that the baby is healthy and I'm so glad we focused on that.

Mr. A:  After you got your ultrasound done and the results back from the blood work and we found out the baby is healthy and thriving, how relieved were you?

Brandi: I was so relieved! And grateful! As both of us know, the first trimester can be stressful but all that matters now is we are going to be parents to a healthy baby! 

Mr. A: What are you looking forward to the most? 

Brandi: I can't wait to see how great you're going to be as a Dad.  You're already an incredible husband and best friend but you're going to be the best Dad. I'm so grateful for everything you've done to help me during this first trimester....like bringing me my vitamins, picking up loaded baked potatoes (my current craving), texting me to remind me to drink more water and doing most of the housework cause I'm so lazy right now! What are you most looking forward to?

Mr. A:  I can't wait to be a Dad. Whether it's a girl or a boy, I can't wait to hold our little glow worm, see them smile and play with them.  I can't wait to watch our child grow up and play sports with them and teach them something new everyday.  I know my beautiful wife is going to be an amazing Mom and I'm so glad we're doing this together.

Brandi: I love you.

Mr. A: I love you more.

Check out more photos from our pregnancy announcement that we took at our family Lake House in Big Bear during New Year's Eve. It had snowed 8" the night before and it was like a winter wonderland! 

 

 

Our 1930's Spanish Style Home in the South Bay

We are thrilled to be new homeowners! ! We love being in the South Bay so much and after living in Manhattan Beach for a couple years we knew we wanted to stay in this area. 

Mr. A actually found this home while I was judging on Guy's Grocery Games and knew he had found a bit of greatness in a dream neighborhood. When I got back from my trip he couldn't wait to show me the space. I immediately saw the potential in the house and it began when I fell in the love with the door. It's original to the home and reminded me of something you find in a fairytale.  The house has an amazing backyard with room for a garden and so many charming details we adore. We are so excited to begin renovations and share our journey with you! 

30 Minute Chicken Pot Pie with Drop Biscuits

This is definitely one of my most cherished recipes. Anytime I make this people tell me they've never had chicken pot pie that tastes like this. Maybe it's the spice from the pepper jack cheese or the fresh grated nutmeg that instantly makes this dish taste like "home." All I know is, it takes a half hour to make and is a win every time. The best kind of comfort food especially during these cold weather months. Enjoy!

Amazing Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients for filling:

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (potatoes, carrots, corn) 
  • Fresh grated nutmeg 
  • 2 large raw chicken breasts, chopped or 2 cups
  • 3/4 cups pepper jack cheese

Ingredients for biscuits: 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup whole milk

Sage Brown Butter

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 8 sage leaves 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. 

In a large cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium high heat and add chicken. Season with salt and pepper and cook until chicken is brown.  Slowly add flour and whisk to combine.  Add chicken stock.  Add cream and keep stirring. Next, add garlic, and onion and stir until thickened. Add mixed veggies and nutmeg. Reduce heat to medium.  Fold in cheese and stir occasionally. 

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and rosemary. Whisk to combine. Add butter and milk and stir. 

Drop biscuits by rounded tablespoons on top of pie. Place skillet on cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until biscuits are golden brown. 

While the pie is cooking, make a sage brown butter by melting butter over medium high heat, about 5 minutes.  Add sage and cook for 3 more minutes.

Once pie is done, brush sage brown butter over biscuits.

DIY Dream Dessert Table From Our #AmazingEverAfter Wedding

When my husband and I were planning our wedding we knew we wanted a dessert table. How incredible would it be to have a buffet of all of our favorite sweets & candies?! From our favorite homemade Oreos at Superba Food + Bread to Mr. A's favorite Milk Jar Cookies, our guests were absolutely spoiled with the very best! Learn how to make your own dessert bar and get inspiration from ours! Click here to see all of the photos and sweets we choose featured on POPSUGAR.com

Behind the Scenes: Judging on Guy's Grocery Games on Food Network

I've judged on Guy's Grocery Games for a couple seasons now and every time is a treat. The crew that works on the show is like family. I feel beyond welcome every time I'm there.  Guy is an absolute pleasure and a true talent. He is a culinary expert, producer and an incredible host.  It's been surreal working with him and I find myself constantly learning from him.  I love meeting the other judges. Chef Richard Blais was the first judge I judged with and he definitely helped me out a lot. It's such a big job and the first time I judged I was so nervous. He not only gave me the confidence I needed but did a great job including me in conversation and making the experience fun.  But one of the best parts of judging is meeting the contestants, hearing their stories and eating their creations. :) For the full scoop, check out the personal essay I wrote on POPSUGAR.com "What It's Really Like Working With Guy Fieri on a Food Network Show" here.

Our #AmazingEverAfter Wedding Day
BKP_0612.jpg

My romance with Mr. Amazing is a whirlwind. We were inseparable from the first day we met. And after only a couple weeks of dating, I met his family. He told me he loved me a month later.  On a beach in Tulum, he proposed 10 months later. And we were married 10 months after that.  Our wedding day was the best day of my life. I could relive that day over and over.  It's so surreal having everyone you love in one place. And to marry the man of my dreams is the biggest blessing God has ever given me. A full feature of our special day was featured on POPSUGAR.com Click here to see all of our dreamy photos. 

Bruschetta in Cinque Terre, Italy

One of our favorite spots during our honeymoon to Italy & Greece this summer was Cinque Terre, Italy.  It's an amazing group of five centuries-old villages set along the Ligurian Sea.  Everywhere you look colorful houses, vineyards, terraces, fishing boats and beaches fill the landscape. And after a long day of walking, hiking and exploring we found this amazing vantage point overlooking one of the towns. Tucked away at the top of the mountain is the most adorable cafe with just a couple things on the menu: salads, bruschetta and beer & wine. Mr. A and I decided to get a salad and traditional bruschetta. Bruschetta is one of my favorite appetizers to make for parties. You can make it ahead of time and the flavors meld together over time and get even better.  

To make my bruschetta all you need is:

  • 1 fresh French baguette
  • high quality EVOO
  • 1 carton grape tomatoes (these are my favorite because they are the sweetest)
  • fluer de sel (flaky sea salt)
  • dry Italian spices 
  • burrata, buffalo mozzarella or shaved parmesan
  • 1 bundle fresh basil

Directions:

  1. Slice the bread into 1/2" slices. Set aside.
  2. Cut tomatoes in quarters and into a bowl mix them with a couple tablespoons of EVOO, and Italian seasoning.
  3. Spoon tomato mixture onto bread and season with fluer de sel. Top with cheese and garnish with basil and enjoy!
Brownie Bottom Peanut Butter Pie

When I first started dating my now husband, I asked him what dessert I should bring to his parent's house for my first time over for dinner. He started saying "something with peanut butter and Oreos and chocolate and....". He was partially teasing because those are all of his favorite things.  I decided to make a peanut butter pie but I swapped out the Oreo crust for a fudgey brownie. This dessert is so rich and sweet and decadent, you really only need a sliver. It's like the never ending dessert perfect for a party. I got to make this pie on the TODAY Show and it was one of their most popular recipes. Enjoy! 

15 things you might not KNOW about me

Whether it's on instagram, facebook, twitter or youtube, I get asked so many questions about my personal life or interests. I'm excited to share with you15 things you might now know about me inspired by some of the most asked questions I receive from my viewers and fans!

  1. My nail color is usually OPI's Funny Bunny. I love this color and have been wearing it for years.  It's a great neutral milk white pink.

  2. My favorite meal is breakfast and I love making killer big ass breakfast sandwiches packed with egg, bacon, avocado, tomato and cheese. 

  3. My husband and I wake up at 5am M-F and watch the news while drinking coffee until 6am. It's our "quiet time" together where there are no phones, no work, just cuddle coffee time.

  4. I'm the oldest of 3. I have a younger sister, Sonya who is the mother of my nephews, Maximus and Bexton. I also have a younger brother, Lucas who is nearly 10 years younger than me.

  5. Three years ago I traveled to Uganda, Africa by myself to volunteer and serve the Palliative Care Association of Uganda pcau.org. I shadowed palliative & hospice care teams and helped with communication strategy and reporting. We visited some of the most rural and primitive areas. It was the hardest thing I've ever done and the best thing I've ever done.

  6. I love the beach so much. For me, it's a way of life. I need to be by the water! I love swimming, paddle boarding and playing beach volleyball with friends.

  7. My favorite food is mashed potatoes. Actually, I love all potatoes-mashed, fried, scalloped, boiled, French (fries)!

  8. I'm a huge animal lover but allergic to cats and some dogs. I used to volunteer at the local petting zoo and help care for bunnies. Some have called me a "bunny whisperer."

  9. My nicknames are "B", "Queen B", "Mrs. A".

  10. The best gift I've ever received was my engagement ring.

  11. My must have beauty product is Argan oil. I put it on my face every night before I got to bed. 

  12. The most beautiful place I've ever traveled was to Santorini, Greece on my honeymoon. It's breathtaking!

  13. My girl crush is Taylor Swift. I love her music and style and have been a fan of hers since the beginning. My dream would be to bake with her!

  14.  I love sports. When I was  younger, I played basketball and soccer. I was a shooting guard in basketball and forward for soccer. I like to score.

  15. My favorite accessory are watches. I'm never not wearing a watch. I'm obsessed with knowing the time at all times.  LOL. And I love big, masculine styles.

Lifestyle, TravelBrandi Milloy
WELCOME TO MY BLOG!

Hi everyone! I'm Brandi. I'm a foodie, storyteller, newlywed and first time home owner with my husband of a 1930's Spanish style home in the South Bay. I wanted to create a space where I could connect with all of you and share my foodie life, travel tips, home & design and married adventures.