Monthly Archives

November 2016

Fashion + Style Holiday Shopping

Black Friday Weekend Sales/Gift Guide for Her + the Kiddos

November 25, 2016

Gift Guide for Her + the Kiddos, Laureenloves.comWith all the carbs we’ve consumed the past 48 hours thanks to the Thanksgiving holiday, there is not much energy left except to sit on the couch with my phone and laptop browsing the Black Friday sales. Online shopping is just the way to go. It’s so much more efficient, and there are tons of great sales for Black Friday weekend that just kicked off.

I’ve rounded out some of my favorite picks for her and the minis. I’ve also listed some great deals going on at some of my go-to stores. It’s the perfect opportunity to buy family and friends Christmas gifts without the hassle of going to the stores that are often picked over. And, while you’re at it, don’t forget to treat yourself. 🙂 Happy shopping!

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Gap – 50% off everything through Nov. 26 at 11:59pm ET. Use code TGIF50 at checkout. Always a great place to stock up on everyday kids’ clothes. B has a whole pajama wardrobe from Gap Kids, and I love all their Christmas PJs.

Zara – 30% everything through Nov. 26 at 3am ET. I buy so many of Braden’s clothes here. I think they have the best boy clothes. I love how they have a good variety of cotton or twill pants that are perfect for pulling on really quickly —  a requirement for potty training, which we started recently.

Ann Taylor -50% off everything through Nov. 27 at 5pm ET. Use code CELEBRATE at checkout. I have shared my love for AT shoes here and here, but I get a lot of work clothes here, too.

Banana Republic – 50% off 5 regular-priced items with no exclusions until Nov. 26 at 11:59pm ET. Use BRFIVE at checkout.

Anthropologie – 30% off everything with code LETSGO. Perfect place to get tons of gifts for friends and family. I love all of their kitchen accessories.

Shopbop – 15% – 25% off depending on how much you spend through Nov. 28 at 11:59 PT. Use code GOBIG16

Pottery Barn Kids – 20% off and free shipping using the code OHWHATFUN through Nov. 28. For Braden’s second Christmas (he was 16 months) we got him a personalized workbench from PBK and it was the BEST toy we’ve ever purchased. He still plays with it all the time (he’s now 27 months) and it keeps him occupied while we’re cooking dinner, cleaning downtairs, etc. The one we have looks a little different, but the one I’ve showcased is pretty similar, and I love that you can get the name or monogram on it.

J.Crew – 40% off through Nov. 27 at 11:59pm ET. Use code HOLIDAY at checkout.








Home Design + Decor

Carpentry details

November 23, 2016

I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving holiday has started off great! It’s been awhile since I’ve shared an update on the Lucas family home front. In some ways it seems like a lot has happened but in other ways it seems like not much has. So many decisions have to be made on the back end and a lot of work in one area has to happen before the next piece can start. I’m share what I’ll call a carpentry update.

Carpenters have been creating the cased openings, crown molding, door trim, built-ins, and cabinets in every nook of the house. You may have seen a few posts from me here and there on Instagram but I’ve been slacking on the blog front with the #Lucasfamilyhome updates. Ben goes over there pretty much daily to see the progress and measure things to make sure they’re correct and catches things we see that might need to be changed. For instance, we realized we forgot to put an outlet in an area of the kitchen that really needed. It was a relatively easy fix, but walking through the house and thinking through all of this once or twice isn’t enough; some things just seem to get overlooked and I was actually the one who pointed this out last week. It’s like we have to make a weekly or bi-weekly punch list. Are we micromanagers? Probably. But, we’re invested in this home in every way possible, and it’s better to be as thorough as possible in my opinion.

How far are we from completion? We are probably looking at late December or early January to be totally realistic. We wanted to get in by December 1 and that’s not going to happen, and we REALLY wanted to move in by Christmas and that’s looking unlikely as well.

I’ll be back more frequently since we’re just a few weeks out. Next up, I’ll share a tile update, including my top picks if you’re going for a neutral, timeless look.


carpentry-1, Lucas Family Home

Cased opening into dining room


Built-in bookcases upstairs


Reading nook/built-in bench seating with storage at top of staircase


Cabinets in kids’ bathroom


Kitchen cabinets


Master bathroom cabinets


Kitchen area cabinets


Entryway in the making




Fashion + Style

Lace-up sweater dress

November 21, 2016


cream-dress-5cream-dress-2   cream-dress-9 cream-dress-10  cream-dress-3


I’m loving this sweater dress I picked up from the Shopbop sale a couple of weeks ago. It’s oh-so-cozy, and it’s a great non-maternity dress that can work with and without the bump. It finally feels like fall here in Houston, thank goodness! So, this is definitely a #realoutfitgram. 😉

Lace-up sweaters and tops have been right up my alley as you can see here. Although this dress is a newer piece, I still feel like it has a timeless quality to it because it’s neutral. I can definitely see myself wearing it a ton beyond this fall and winter season. I have a few sweater dresses that I’ve had for years that I pull out when the temps drop, and this one will get added to that rotation. I like the length, too, and I can wear it to work, changing it up with tights and flat boots when it gets even colder or keep it casual. Bottom line — I love the versatility and the price point isn’t too bad, especially when you snag it on sale like I did. It’s available at Madewell, too.

It’s perfect for Thanksgiving, too because it’s so comfortable and a tad loose in all the right places!

Dress | booties: old but nearly identical version here and here




Food Holiday

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

November 20, 2016




I’m always in charge of making the desserts for my family holiday celebrations. My husband is a really great baker and will often make an amazing apple pie. I think his love for baking is something  he inherited from his grandmother who had amazing recipes her grandchildren often talk about. He makes a few like her famous pepperoni rolls. Maybe I’ll share those in a few weeks since we’re smack in the middle of holiday binge season! We don’t shy away from carbs around here. Since he is a big fan of desserts, I’ve inherited that from him and started experimenting with a lot of baking over the years. We are pretty healthy eaters in my house, but I don’t like to skimp when it comes to desserts and holiday favorites!

One of my go-to recipes around the holiday that always goes over really well is this chocolate bourbon pecan pie I discovered a few years ago. It’s a recipe from Food and Wine magazine, and I’ve adapted a little over the years. My version is listed below but I’ve linked to the original version here.

If you’re out and about doing your Thanksgiving holiday shopping, definitely try this one. People will gobble it up! I think guys really like it, too, especially if they’re bourbon lovers like my husband. I think the hint of bourbon (and my other alterations to the recipe) make it the BEST pecan pie. The biggest changes I’ve made include using a Pillsbury ready-made pie crust. When you can cut corners like this without sacrificing quality and taste, then I’m all for it. My choice is chocolate chips is important, I’ve found so I really recommend the mix and brand I’ve noted below in the ingredient list. I typically serve pie with Bluebell Homemade Vanilla ice cream because it’s Texas, y’all. Bluebell is definitely a favorite in my house.


This beautiful pie pan is from William Sonoma, and I just love it. It was a gift we received a few years ago, and I actually went last week to the store to try to buy another one in white, but they were all sold out so I’ll have to buy one online.


Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

Ingredient List

1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust

2 cups (about 7 ounces) pecans

3 large eggs

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

2/3 cup light corn syrup

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

3 tablespoons bourbon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips.

I use this total amount but I mix together Ghirardelli chocolate chips – ½ semisweet and ½ 60% cacao bittersweet chips. (I’ve found them at Kroger and World Market.)


Preheat the oven to 375°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toast the pecans for about 8 minutes, or until fragrant; coarsely chop.

Note: I only need to toast them in my oven for about 4 minutes, otherwise they burn really quickly and if you over toast them it definitely changes the flavor. I recommend monitoring this really closely and check after 3-4 minutes and add more time if necessary since ovens differ.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the brown sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla, melted butter, bourbon and salt until blended. Stir in the pecans and chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

Pour the filling into the pie shell. Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for about 55 minutes, or until the center of the pie is set. Tent the crust with foil halfway through the baking time if the edge is browning too quickly. Transfer the pie to a rack and let cool for at least 1 hour before serving.

Note: I cook my pie for about 45 minutes because my oven cooks fast. I tent the crust about halfway through, around 22 minutes to prevent it getting too brown and crusty.

Make Ahead

The pie can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 day. Rewarm at 325° for 15 minutes.

Note: I make my pies either the night before I need them or in the early morning day-of to help free up my oven before I need it for all my other holiday cooking.


Fashion + Style Local

Black lace-up shirt with a pop of green

November 14, 2016

Black lace up shirtblack-shirt-6


black-shirt-2  black-shirt-3 black-shirt-4 I’ve been all about the flowy tops that are non-maternity because I’m sporting what looks more like a large food baby than a real baby. I bought this black lace-up tunic a few weeks ago, and I’ve been wearing it a ton. Wearing all black is not something I do a lot, but when I do, I love including a pop of color with shoes or accessories. These hunter green shoes are fun and comfy since they have more of a chunky heel.  I’ve also pulled out my J.Crew pixie pants, which are  like leggings but better because they’re thicker and more structured. Because they have great stretch, I can still wear these non-maternity pants for awhile. They’re also excellent travel pants because they’re comfy and take up very little room in a suitcase. I have them in 3 colors and bought them a few years ago and I still wear them a lot. They’re still something J.crew offers year after year probably because they’re so amazingly comfortable and timeless. I wear them a ton in the fall and winter with sweaters and cardigans, and pair them with heels, booties, flat riding boots — the list can really go on.

I  love the lace-up detail on this shirt, and I’ve picked up a couple of other tops with similar detail. It’s not available anymore (sadly since it’s great quality and was a steal at $65), but I’ve linked to some very similar options including this one, which I have in a cream color and actually wore today. Hi,  Houston fall weather!

We have been spending time outdoors since the weather has been pretty amazing, and we stumbled across this mural near the Lawndale Art Center when we were in the museum district this weekend. I love the Houston Mural Guide. It’s such a fun way to capture all the great spaces in the city and can’t wait to visit more! Braden loved the googly is what happens when you say, “Smile, show me your teeth!”)

A quick pregnancy update at 19 weeks: eating has become my second job. I don’t recall being this ravenous in my first pregnancy, and I haven’t gained much weight. This may sound annoying, but it’s almost time-consuming to have to pause what I’m doing to eat 4 snacks at work in addition to 2 breakfasts and pretty much dinner and a bedtime snack. The sheer volume of food I consume is pretty surprising actually but I’m trying to be somewhat smart about it. I sure do love peanut butter toast, though. (I’ve already passed down this addiction to Braden. Whoops.) I’m definitely more tired this go-round too but I think that has to do with having a toddler. But, as my husband says, ” If you go to bed at 9pm it’s like sleeping in but in reverse.” So, I’ve been a grandma and going to bed around 9-9:30pm most nights.

I don’t love most maternity clothes, but very open to suggestions, so send them my way if you have them! I still gravitate to more versatile non-maternity pieces like this black lace-up top that can be worn post-pregnancy.

Top: Wayf version in black sold out but I’ve linked to the striped option available here and black options here and here | Pants | Shoes | Marc Jacobs Handbag (Old)