2013 Family Holiday Card

With Christmas just a couple of weeks away, I wanted to share my holiday photo card with you. This year, we got a little creative and did an 'ugly Christmas sweater' themed card!

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A few days before Halloween, we drove to Fayetteville, Georgia to do a quick mini session with the amazing Nicole Bolinger of Dorothy Nicole Photography. With a nice chill in the air and the sun close to setting, Nicole snapped away for 20 minutes straight while Ruben and I acted couple-y and Snack Pack acted like he was a little spoiled baby. (He kind of is though!) The poor little guy was so tired from the long car ride that he refused to walk and had to be carried everywhere! At least he cooperated and we were told that he "shoots better than a two year old"! Great, now we know he's photogenic. :)

Now, I know it's not exactly Kardashian-family-holiday-card-esque, but I am beyond excited and pleased with our final product. Having professional pictures taken truly makes the world of difference in terms of quality, with a more polished outcome. Besides, a lot of professional photographers will do holiday specials for a lot less than their regular portrait sessions, so why not?

I also wanted to share a few more pictures from our photo shoot that didn't quite make the cut, but love just as much...

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Even Snack Pack was on board with the ugly Christmas sweater idea!

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Where do you buy ugly Christmas sweaters, you ask? Well, there are a handful of websites that sell them, such as Tipsy Elves, Ultimate Ugly Christmas, and even Etsy, but (because I didn't want to spend a lot on something we would probably only wear once,) I just bought ours off of eBay. I didn't spend more than a dollar for my sweater, and Ruben's sweater was only $20. (Plus it lights up too!) Snack Pack's sweater was from PetSmart and cost a little over $10.

As for the rest of my outfit? Because my sweater is a statement piece all on its own (as well as the focal point of the photo), I kept everything else simple and understated with a Zara silk blouse, Club Monaco 'Tasha' leggings, and L.A.M.B. 'Oxley II' Pumps.

Happy Holidays from Caroline, Ruben, and Snack Pack!

Starbucks vs. McDonald's--The Pumpkin Spice Latte Challenge

With Fall in full swing, it's clear that the Pumpkin Spice Latte is the dominant coffee flavor of the season. Although Starbucks has been the (only) frontrunner of this popular drink for the longest time, other fast food/coffee shop spots like Dunkin' Donuts and even McDonald's have now created their own versions in attempts to knock Starbucks out of that holiday latte top spot. But the question is, out of all these 'fast food/coffee shop' joints, who makes the best Pumpkin Spice Latte?

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This is where I come in. I'm not a religious coffee drinker by any means, but I do like a nice pick-me-up every now and again. I decided to compare the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks and McDonald's, as they seemed to be the two places getting the most latte hype.

A few statistics worth mentioning:  

McDonald's Pumpkin Spice Latte is made with whole or nonfat milk, pumpkin spice-flavored syrup, and espresso.

Nutritional Info - McDonald's McCafe Pumpkin Spice Latte with nonfat milk - small  (12 fl oz cup)
Calories - 200 (from Fat - 0)
Fat - 0g (Saturated Fat - 13g)
Sodium - 125mg
Carbs - 41g (Sugar - 39g)
Protein - 10g

 Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte is made with whole, 2%, nonfat, or soy milk, pumpkin-flavored syrup, and espresso. It can be topped with whipped cream and/or pumpkin pie spices.

Nutritional Info - Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte with nonfat milk - small  (12 fl oz cup)
Calories - 200 (from Fat - 5)
Fat - 0g (Saturated Fat - 0g)
Sodium - 0mg
Carbs - 38g (Sugar - 37g)
Protein - 11g

To make things fair, I made sure my test subjects were both created equally--12 ounces, non-fat milk, no whipped cream or spices. 

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So which Pumpkin Spice Latte reigns supreme? To my surprise, the McDonald's version exceeded my expectations and came out winning. It was sweeter, more flavorful, and that fact that was $1.54 cheaper than its Starbucks counterpart was just icing on the cake!

Have you tried the Pumpkin Spice Latte from either Starbucks or McDonald's? Which one did you like the most?