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    Mojave Wonderlust – Think Elysian

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    This week my son and I took a little beach trip to the sea wall to enjoy the beautiful weather and to take his 6 month pictures. I was so excited to wear my new Mojave dress I had received as a gift from Think Elysian Boutique. I was so excited to do this collaboration, because I absolutely loved the idea this boutique was founded on. Loren, the creator and mastermind behind Think Elysian, is a wanderer, an adventurer, a traveler, a bohemian spirit like myself. Her inspiration for her online boutique is to provide fashionable yet affordable clothing for the like minded girl. I love how all of her pieces are perfect for any future vacation you have in mind. I know I can see myself on a beautiful remote island with nothing but beautiful crystal clear waters in front of me wearing this dress.

    This simple white dress is great for the beach goer who doesn’t want to sacrifice style for comfort. It has the prettiest back detail and color trim. Another thing I love about this dress is the material. It has a linen feel for cool comfort, but has a smooth inner lining so you don’t sweat through it. You can actually get this dress  and any other items from Think Elysian for 15% with my discount code DAWN15. This dress went great with my favorite monogrammed gold sandals, and my fun white floppy hat. I accessorized this look with simple gold jewelry and my favorite Kendra Scott earrings which I got free from Rocksbox. For all my wonderful readers you can actually get your first set free on me just by clicking on the link below.

    Free Kendra Scott or Accessory of your choice

    Outfit detail:

    Mojave Dress/ Monogrammed shoes/white floppy hat

    So for all of you who loved this outfit don’t forget to check out Think Elysian boutique and use your 15% your purchase. Happy shopping!


    Look at my little Man, he is getting so big!DSC00747Thank you Think Elysian for sponsoring this post!

    <3 Dawn

    P.S. Sharing is caring, and if you love this post make sure you subscribe to my blog so you can get exclusive shopping discounts  like this sent directly to your email. 🙂


    Neon Pink

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    When your friend say’s flip your hair, you flip it! Lol having too much fun with Margret!DSC06295

    This past weekend my sister, friend, and fellow blogger Style the Girl, went downtown to visit some of Houston’s local art scene, and some of Houston Blogger’s favorite photo destinations. I wore this super cute and fun pink dress from Sheinside with my favorite yellow espadrilles from CiciHot, which by the way can be purchased on sale for less than $15 in the link below! Can you believe that? When we went to the Lawndale Art Center, I was amazed at the neon wall art. It was a perfect summer backdrop for this dress. I love bold colors for summer! Also making an appearance on the blog is my new favorite fringe purse from JustFab. It’s already sold out so I posted a similar style! I do a lot of online shopping as a mom. It is so convenient, especially when your schedule revolves around the baby. You can find some great deals for less. Check out my links below!

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    Pink off the shoulder dress/ yellow espadrilles/Kendra Scott Earrings/Fringe Purse (similar style)/ Bracelets: BP/ Sunglasses (similar style)

    <3 Dawn

    P.S. Follow my instagram @dawnpdarnell for more fashion and style post! And don’t forget to check out my friend Margret’s Denim look below! For outfit details check out her blog on Style the Girl!

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    Be Comfortable in Your Own Shell


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    This month I partnered up with DesignR to promote a positive self image and encourage a happy healthy lifestyle with clothing made for the active style conscious woman on the go. Their motto “Embrace the Turtle”, and “Be comfortable in your own shell,” really speaks to the idea that getting fit is not a race. Everyone’s journey is different, and fitness looks different on everyone. It is not a quick fix. It doesn’t happen over night. It is a every day choice to be healthy and happy and loving yourself every step of the way. Fitness is a way of life.

    There are so many benefits to making fitness a priority in your life, not only physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. As a wife and mother, here are my top 5 reasons why I make fitness a part of my life:

    1. It lowers my stress levels. As Ell Woods put it,  “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.” I know my husband can appreciate this lol.

    2. It is something I do for myself. After a long busy day of working and taking care of my family, it’s nice to take 30 minutes for myself to workout. It gives me time to myself where I can wind down and do something to improve myself.

    3. It pushes me mentally to be stronger. There are many times where my body wants to give up, but my mental strength has pushed my body where I never thought it could.

    4. It strengthens my faith. When all else fails and I feel like giving up, my faith has been the number one factor to keep me going. Believing in something greater than myself has helped me in my fitness journey.

    5. And last but not least it gives me confidence in myself. All the factors above contribute to added confidence in my life. I can look in the mirror and know I can make a difference. I have all the right tools God gave me to improve myself daily.

    A healthy lifestyle is a happy lifestyle. And fitness has helped me become a better person, a better wife, and a better mother.

    Don’t forget to check out the details of my outfit below, and make sure to stop by DesignR and checkout all their cute and comfy active wear!

    <3 Dawn

    top: DesignR/ capri: BKE Sport/sports bra: New Balance/ shoes: Nike (similar style)/ water bottle: Design R

    P.S. The capris I am wearing are reversible and on sale! Check out the colorful print on the other side in my previous post here.

    IMG_0146(This post was sponsored by DesignR)

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    Easy No Bake Chocolate Protein Peanut Butter Cream Pie

    Easy No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cream Pie

    Inspired by Jamie Eason’s Peanut Butter Protein Chocolate Pie, I decided to make my own version of this recipe. For those getting their beach body ready for the summer, or just want a healthier version of a chocolate peanut butter pie this recipe is for you! No need for a crust, this works perfect in a mini pie dish. In less than 3 steps this is by far the easiest and tastiest recipe I’ve made. This is a perfect guilt free dessert or post dinner or even post workout treat!

    Ingredients (for 1 mini pie):

    2 scoops whey protein

    1/2 cup low fat cream cheese

    1/4 cup non fat greek yogurt

    2 tbsp natural peanut butter

    2 tbsp honey

    2 tbsp stevia

    2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk

    1/2 tbsp coconut oil

    3 tbsp Reese’s chocolate and peanut butter topping (optional topping)

    Easy No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cream Pie


    1. Blend and mix all ingredients but the chocolate topping in a bowl

    2. Pour in pie pan and top with chocolate topping

    3. Freeze for 30 min and enjoy!

    Yup it’s that easy! It’s a perfect summer guilt free treat, and a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth. Definitely try it out and let me know what ya’ll think! Stay healthy my friends!

    <3 Dawn

    Easy No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cream Pie


    Non fat cheesy chicken and broccoli casserole





    So this week as a part of my May Resolution I challenged myself to cook something a little more difficult than my last post. I was craving a casserole so I found this healthy recipe on Yummly.  Yummly is an app you can download, and I highly recommend it to anyone. It is easy to use and has a large database of recipes. Below are the ingredients from the recipe I found. However instead of reduced fat cheese I used non fat cheese as an alternative.


    • 13/4 cups low sodium chicken broth ? Tasty tip
    • 2 cups quick cooking brown rice 
    • 1 lb broccoli florets (chopped into bite-sized pieces
    • 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil 
    • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (chopped into bite-sized pieces
    • 3/4 tsp kosher salt (divided
    • 3/4 tsp garlic powder (divided
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper (divided
    • 2 tbsps flour 
    • 2 cups milk (divided, I used skim
    • 3 tbsps dijon mustard 
    • 1/3 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt 
    • 11/2 cups shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese (divided, about 6 ounces)




    For the directions, it was a little more complicated that I expected it to be. I never juggled having 3 different things going on when it comes to cooking. I had the chicken cooking, the rice boiling, and stirring the cheese sauce all at once while trying to entertain a 4 month old. If I were to try something out like this again I will look for less complicated directions. I know for other moms out there, or anyone like me who doesn’t have the best attention span when it comes to cooking, how difficult it can be to do all these at once. One thing I would change is to avoid sprinkling the cheese on top until its fully cooked, that way it doesn’t harden too much into a crusty like top layer like mine did.

    Directions (Well Plated): 

    1. Place rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9-inch square, deep baking dish or a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray.
    2. Bring chicken broth to a boil in a large pot, then add rice. Return to boil, add broccoli to the top of the pot, then cover, reduce heat to low, and let cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for an additional 5 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, heat extra virgin olive oil in Dutch oven or large deep pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Sauté until cooked through and no longer pink in the center, about 4 to 6 minutes, then remove to a plate and set aside. Being careful not to burn yourself, wipe the pot clean with a paper towel.
    4. Reduce heat to medium. In a small bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the flour and 1/2 cup milk. Pour the mixture into the pot, then add remaining 11/2 cups milk. Cook mixture, stirring constantly until thickened, 7-10 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and whisk in Dijon, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Once combined, stir in the Greek yogurt and 1 cup of the shredded cheese until smooth.
    5. Add the rice and broccoli mixture and the reserved chicken to with cheese sauce, stirring gently to coat. Spoon the mixture the prepared dish and top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake 25 minutes until hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes, then serve.


    This dish is easily customizable to your tastes and the season. Feel free to swap the rice for prepared farro, quinoa, or another whole grain (adjust the quantity and cooking time accordingly), the chicken for white beans, or the broccoli for any sautéed vegetable of your choice.

    Let me know how yours turns out!

    <3 Dawn



    Stylevise Photo styling – Joanne’s Graduation


    Hey guys I’m super excited to share with you one of my first projects with Stylevise. For those who were wondering how it works here is a step by step over view of my first Stylevise session with my wonderful friend and sorority sister Joanne for her graduation pictures. I created her interactive style guides based on a series of questions she answered when first submitting her style dilemma, (click here for sample questions), her personality, and her personal wants and needs. The interactive style guide below was broken down into three different looks, with interactive pictures where you could click on direct links to find to purchase the product, an interactive tutorial on how to create the makeup and hair inspiration, ideas for props to suit her photo shoot theme, and sample poses to showcase her personality. I even added photo shoot location ideas to make it even easier for her to make her vision into reality.

    Below is the first look of the interactive slide. This is a screenshot of it so the links to the pictures are not added. Her first look I wanted to cater to her profession as a teacher. I love the classic 50’s style because it suits her classy personality. Joanne was able to find similar styles she already owned in her closet to recreate the looks below.

    1st look


    For the second look we wanted it to be more semi formal to wear under her cap and gown. We continued with he 50’s style inspiration and catered to looks that accentuated her figure but also had a touch of sass to highlight a different aspect of her personality, yet still keeping it classy.

    2nd look


    The last look we wanted to go for the casual Friday look, a more everyday look to showcase more of her genuine personality. I loved the pop of color with the cardigan, and the cuffed jeans to show off her adorable shoes. Love the 50’s inspiration in this look as well.

    third look - semi casual



    For makeup, hair, and accessories, we continued with the overall 50’s theme. We had to make sure we completed the look and didn’t skip out on important details such as these.

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    For the props, we chose things that really meant a lot to her and yet also played to the overall look and theme to the photos. These were all things she already had with her so it was no extra cost to add these in.

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    When it comes to photo shoots I think its always a great time saving technique to have certain poses in mind, and it also helps in showing you in your best angles. Below I broke it down into three sections though I am only showing the first part of the slide.

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    Location, location, location! One of the biggest thing about photography is having a great background and having the right background to compliment you and your overall theme. Because it was her graduation pictures we made sure to make the University part of her pictures. The campus was absolutely beautiful so it really worked well with her photo shoot.

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    I hope you enjoyed my presentation, and if you have any questions or would love to work with me don’t hesitate to contact me. Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

    <3 Dawn

    P.S Below is a comprehensive video of the complete photoshoot. Enjoy!

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    Family, Fashion, Food



    This weekend for my first Mother’s Day my husband took us out to the city for the day. We went to this cozy hole in the wall restaurant called Roost in Montrose to try their famous fried cauliflower and donut holes. It was amazing and I highly recommend anyone who wants to try something new. I loved their unpretentious feel and diverse menu inspired by local availability of farm fresh ingredients. After dinner my husband and I went to a local park downtown to take family pictures. I can’t believe my little man is trying to walk already. Love some of the candid pictures my hubby took of us. I know I will cherish these memories forever.

    Below is a more detailed look of my outfit. Can you believe my dress and heels are less than $15! It’s a steal for a momma on a budget. I posted links below where you can purchase the items. IMG_0324 IMG_0326IMG_0327  IMG_0328 IMG_0329 IMG_0332

    dress: sheinside/shoes: cicihot/ purse: guess/ belt: BCBG/ earring: Kendra Scott/ bracelet: Alex and Ani/ hat:(similar style)

    <3 Dawn

    P.S. Don’t forget to follow my instagram located below  @dawnpdarnell for more fashion and style post. Thanks and have a great day!



    Don’t mess with Texas

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    First blog post using my new lens my husband bought me for my birthday. It is amazing how a lens can change everything. I highly recommend anyone who is looking to blog to invest in a good lens. It makes taking pictures so much easier because you don’t have to edit as much. These pictures above were done at noon and are unedited. The aperture is amazing, and the clarity of the photos really bring out the detail. Even my first picture which is out of focus looks pretty cool! This outfit is a must have for any Texas girl, and one of my favorite comfy casual to wear to work: boots, cutoffs, a Texas shirt to show your state pride, and of course Kendra Scott earrings to complete the look! I’m a big fan these Rock Revival shorts because of their 3″ inseam. The length is long enough that it is appropriate to wear almost anywhere, and there is a subtle bling back pocket detail that you can dress these shorts up or down.

    shorts: Rock Revival/ boots: Qupid/ top: Billabong/ vest: (similar style)/ sunglasses:(similar style)/ earrings: Kendra Scott/ crossbody bag: Jessica Simpson

    <3 Dawn

    P.S. Don’t forget to follow my instagram located below  @dawnpdarnell for more fashion and style post. Thanks and have a great day!

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    30 Day Challenge – April Resolutions


    Three months postpartum and I’m finally ready to get myself back on track. It took me a while to get my body and mind right to where I could take the time to really focus on my fitness goals.  I created this personal 90 day program  to get back to living a healthy lifestyle.  The first 30 days I will be focusing on creating healthy habits.  Here are my resolutions for the first 30 days of my 90 day challenge.

    My diet resolutions:

    This month for my diet, I will not be tracking my macros or calories. Instead I will focus on making healthy choices and creating healthy habits that will set me up for success in the future.

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     1. I will not eat fast food with the exclusion of Subway or Chic Filay and only once a week. There was a time in my pregnancy where I use to eat fast food everyday, no joke!

    2. I will only eat out when I am celebrating with family and friends, and that also means no take out or delivery. When you make eating out a special event, it won’t be part of your daily routine.

    3. I will eat protein for lunch and dinner whether its from a protein powder or an animal. Getting enough protein is very important for fat loss and muscle gain. I struggle with it because I don’t like to eat meat. I’m more of a “carbivore”.

    My workout resolution:

    1. I will exercise for 30 min at least 3 days a week. It doesn’t matter  where I work out, if I’m at the gym, at the park, or at home, as long as I work out for at least 30 minutes. Click here for the fitness apps I use for workouts on the go.

    2. When I go to the gym I will follow this 30 day total body workout from Fitness RX. Having a monthly plan when I go to the gym saves me time and also allows me to track my progress. You can print it out here.


    3. I will attend two group fitness class a moth. I eventually want to teach my own fitness class, and there is no better way to learn than to be part of it. Also I get bored easily and I love trying new things, and group exercise classes are a great way to mix things up!

    My mind and spirit resolution:

    1. I will go to church at least once a month. Faith has always been important to me and going to church has always helped strengthen my faith. I struggled going to church when I was pregnant and recently went for the first time this year with my family. I want it to be a priority in my life and for my son as well.

    2. I will make time to go on dates with my husband on the weeks he has off. I have taken this for granted lately since I’ve had my baby. Sometimes we get so caught up in the baby and doing family things that we rarely take time to spend with just each other. I want to make sure I have a good life balance with my family, my marriage, my work, and fitness.

    3. I will not let my situation become an excuse. Its been really easy lately to blame everything on having a baby, my bad moods, my lack of time, or sleep, my unhealthy habits, ect., but I don’t want that to be the reason why I don’t get things done. I know having a child is challenging, but it’s not an excuse. Where there is a will, there is a way.

    I am really excited to get back on track and I can’t wait to see my progress in the next 30 days. It won’t be an overnight transformation but each step will help me get closer to my goal. It may take longer than 90 days for me to get to where I want to be, but its a plan to set me up for success.  And for any successful fitness transformation, it must be one built on healthy habits. I challenge you to create your own personal 30 day challenge, and challenge yourself to make daily improvements. It takes just a step at a time to eventually get where you want to be. Be patient, work hard, and never give up. What will you do to be a better you?

    Thank you for following me on my journey!

    <3 Dawn

    P.S. For more fitness tips and motivation make to sure to like my Facebook page. Thanks and have a great day!


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