09.22.2017

Champagne Chatting || Monthly Q + A Of My Most Frequently Asked Questions

(Sweater | Jeans | Necklace)

I hope you’ve all had a great week! We’re heading into the last few days of our vacation and I’m planning on soaking up every minute of it…. TJ has been working the past couple of days, so lots of family time is on the agenda…. with nothing in particular planned expect the beach, cocktails, and sunsets. Hope you all have a good one!!
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1. I’m on the hunt for an everyday low brown bootie that’s especially good for us petite girls with skinny-ish ankles!  

I bought this pair at the Nordstrom sale (in the blush) and absolutely love them… very comfortable and practical. They aren’t the cheapest, but if you’re looking to invest in a pair this fall, I highly recommend them. Other options include this diamond cut-out pair, stacked heel option, and this bootie with cut-out sides.

2. What do you use to measure how many miles you run in the mornings? 

I use the NikeRun app and find it to be pretty accurate. I’m looking into an apple watch though. My sister currently has one, and she has me intrigued. My husband uses iMapMyRun and has had success with that as well.

3. I’d love to know your thoughts on baby #2. I think your experience with becoming a mom was very similar to mine (my girl is almost 13 months) and feeling so many mixed emotions about doing it again and when/if would be the right time. Would love your thoughts!

I have so many different thoughts on baby #2. I feel so blessed to have been given an opportunity to carry, birth, and now raise Harper. I was chatting with one of my girlfriend’s moms this back weekend and she mentioned that at toddlerhood “the good is so good, and the bad is so bad.” She nailed it exactly. For me at least…..

At 33 (34 in December… ohmygosh…..) I know that I have a clock that’s ticking and with every year that passes it will become increasingly more difficult to conceive, yet I also don’t want that to be the reason we have another little one. TJ and I talk about this often. I found the transition to motherhood not as easy as others (I have always been candid about this in my motherhood updates), and while we still travel and live a fun life, in transparency, there are days I miss the ease of just worrying about the two of us… and the thought of adding another little munchkin to the mix makes me a little anxious. We also love watching Harper grow up…. and watching her take in all her new experiences. I worry that I won’t be a good mom to two little ones…. that I won’t be able to equally divide my attention and give them both all the love they deserve. Something TJ and I have both agreed upon though is that until Harper is potty trained and starting to dress herself, we likely won’t be having another one. Another thought I have (I apologize that this answer is lengthy and tangential) is “can I really do it all again??” I know the answer is yes, and it’s so worth it, but for me personally, I want to be fully prepared…..

All that to say, I am sensitive to the fact that some people cannot have a baby… that many have struggled for years, gone through rounds of IVF, and have not been able to conceive. I can only imagine the sadness and sense of loss on a monthly basis. So, I do hope that my answer is not offensive, or comes off as callous, as I do recognize that there are many who would love to go through what I explained above. 

4. What kind of face moisturizer do you use? I’m looking for a moisturizer for sensitive skin.

I’ve been using this intense evening moisturizer and this daily moisturizer for the past year and love both products (SHANNON for 20% off). I also use this daily moisturizer as well.

5. I’m looking into upgrading my hair dryer and straightener. I was wondering if you could give me any suggestions? 

I love t3 products. They aren’t cheap, but they’re very well made and not as harsh on the hair as other tools I’ve used. The hair dryer works in half the time of a cheaper option, which is very valuable time for me! I have this little travel version and it’s a great for everyday use as well!

6. What are a good brand of jeans that are in a budget friendly price? Looking for high waisted and $75 and under price range. I like skinny and jegging style!

I always think that Free People brand has some great jeans. I recently purchased this pair and they are well made and have the perfect amount of distressing (I also own them in grey). I haven’t personally tried this brand but have heard really great things about it. I’m considering purchasing this pair and this pair.

7. How do you and your family budget for trips, going out, nice things (lol!), etc… sorry if this is nosy! I just need to budget more and not live so in the “now.” 

Budgeting is always an interesting topic. A while ago, my girlfriend who is a Certified Financial Planner, wrote a blog post for me on the topic. We try to follow her tips as closely as possible. Each month, we put aside the necessary amount for savings, Harper’s college, and “accidentals.” Then we allocate the bills (never fun) and what is left we consider “fun” money. This concept has changed over the years, but we divide the funds between travel and miscellaneous (i.e. eating out, babysitter, workout classes, shopping, etc). It’s something that has worked fairly well for us over the years, and I think what has always helped is knowing exactly what he have to “play” with. If there are bigger ticket items that either of us are eyeing we typically save from that pot in order to purchase them. 

8. Do you have any tricks for slides or shoes that are slick on the bottom? Bought a pair or two that I love but I slip on certain floors chasing after my toddler. Any ways you have found to remedy this? 

I just bought a pair of slides that I had this exact same problem with. While I’m not sure if this is very ingenious, or a “trick,” I just wore them outside and scuffed up the bottoms on the concrete. Solved the problem pretty quickly.

9. Could you share some fall wedding outfit suggestions? Going to three weddings this fall and have my own rehearsal dinner this November!

I’m loving the deep hues, florals, and luxurious textures for fall… and there are so many beautiful options that are wedding guest appropriate. This maxi floral dress has been on my wish-list for a few months (dress it up with heels and down with booties and a suede jacket) and I love this gorgeous pleated velvet dress in blush. This yellow floral dress is stunning….and the cut of this burgundy off the shoulder dress is gorgeous. I also think this navy lace midi dress (comes in a pretty mauve color too) is beautiful. For your rehearsal dinner, if you’re open to not wearing white, I am obsessed with this gorgeous velvet rose colored wrap maxi (I would totally wear it to mine if I could go back…. I didn’t wear white though…) or turquoise lace midi dress (such a stunning silhouette). Yet, if white is what you’re wanting, I love this bell sleeve fit and flare dressblazer ruffle dress, and this beautiful eyelet wrap dress

10. What are you must-haves from Trader Joe’s? 

My must-haves from Trader Joe’s include the microwaveable lentils, chili lime seasoning, everything bagel seasoning, spinach super salad, rolled oats, salsa verde, cauliflower pizza crust, and their chicken sausages. Those are the items I specifically get at Trader Joe’s that I can’t find anywhere else (that I like as much….).

11. I would love to know what type of exercise you continued during pregnancy. I am newly pregnant and have this awful fear I’m going to lose the baby if I continue my cardio! I know that’s crazy but first time mama fears I guess. I ran, did stairs, and barre classes pre-pregnancy. 

First of all, congrats! Such exciting news! I feel as if your fears are so normal… we all have our own fears as first time moms since we don’t know what to expect! I jogged and did my normal cardio up until the day I have birth. I also continued weight training… and yoga as much as possible (I mean, some of the moves just weren’t possible with a belly…). I also did the Tracey Anderson Pregnancy Project, which I loved. I did consult with my doctor though when I first found out I was pregnant and she assured me that as long as I could carry on a conversation I was fine…. and to avoid road cycling and skiing since those could result in traumatic falls.

12. I love your healthy eats! Do you have any easy and tasty vegetarian or vegan recipes you can share that Harper also likes? Or just you and TJ? We’re planning to go either pescatarian or mostly plant based when we get back from our travels and wondered if you have any great go-to dinner recipes? 

A few favorites include this fried rice, lentil soup, shrimp ramen, coconut curry, and this black bean and sweet potato chili (one of my absolute favorites).

13. How did you train your hair to not have to be washed as often? 

It’s funny because i used to wash my hair every other day and my hairdresser would always tell me that wasn’t necessary. So, when Harper came along, it pretty much became necessary for me to follow her advice. I can’t say I put my hair through a “training” process though. I basically didn’t wash it, used dry shampoo, and blew it out (when the hair was dry) to make it look “fresh.” I typically like how my hair holds a curl on days 3-5 best, but after that it’s not as easy to manage and isn’t the ideal situation…. more of a time issue. I use this dry shampoo though, and often double shampoo my hair when I wash it to get it extra clean (that’s a trick I learned from my hairdresser). 

14. How do you manage meal prep and workout prep? If that makes sense?? How do you get it all done?!!

Sometimes I feel as if I don’t. Haha! You can read about how I meal prep for the week here…. I squeeze in my workouts very early, before anyone else is awake in the house. It’s the only way I can get it all done. So, I guess the answer is I wake up very early, and follow the tips above!

15. HOW do you get yourself up so early for a run? I have a half marathon coming up in December and really struggling to train!

I had to train myself to do so. Before Harper was born, I woke up around 6:30 every morning… but still had to train myself to do that by waking up 15 minutes earlier every couple of days. Once Harper was born and I needed to work out around 5:30am I did the same thing. Eventually my body got used to it (although, it’s not always easy I know I won’t get a workout in if I don’t just get myself out of bed).

16. I’m searching for a post workout cardigan open front sweater/wrap for fall/winter! Any suggestions?? 

I own this one (bought it last year) and love it… it’s slightly oversized though. If you’re looking for something a little more fitted, this one is a great post-workout and everyday choice, and I also own and love this wrap front cardigan. This one is specifically meant for post-workout wear and looks super soft. 

17. Is there a specific “diet”that you follow?

I don’t follow any specific diet, as I believe each one of them is a little too restrictive for me and it’s all about finding a healthy lifestyle that fits for you, and is manageable daily. That being said, some days I eat meat, some days I don’t. I do avoid dairy as much as possible (this was recommended to my by my acupuncturist). I prefer foods with minimal ingredients, or ingredients I can easily pronounce and don’t need to look up what they are. I also incorporate healthy carbohydrates such as quinoa, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and fruits…. and try to eat as many vegetables as possible. I try to create a balanced “diet” that leaves me satisfied and properly nourished… with small indulgences along the way.

18.What healthy kid snacks do you recommend for grab and go options…. when there just isn’t time to cut up fruit and veggies? 

I did this post on 16 healthy snacks a little while ago, but a lot of them do require some preparation. My favorite grab and go snacks for Harper include string cheese, siggi’s yogurt packs, Late July peanut butter crackers, dried cranberries, Love Grown O’s (identical to cheerios), these KIND fruit + veggie bars, both Hormel Naturals + Horizon Organics have good grab and go snack packs with cheese, crackers, and meats too.

19. Any suggestions on gift ideas for toddlers?

I think the ideal gift idea for a toddler is anything active (read: anything that will wear them out), or something that promotes imagination. I was at a birthday party recently and someone brought a slide (which was adorable). I also love this car, kitchen set, doctor kit (Harper loves taking care of her stuffed animals), and these puzzles. I also think you can never go wrong with books… and a bottle of wine for the parents (wink, wink). 

09.21.2017

My Four Rules For Building A Versatile Wardrobe With Marks & Spencer

It’s no secret that I’m keen on versatility in my wardrobe…. I haven’t always been that way… which resulted in loads of one-time-wear pieces being donated after a year or so. It pained me, and always felt like such a waste. So, around the time I became pregnant with Harper, I realized I needed to streamline my wardrobe. Make pieces work for several occasions, even cross seasons (no, a down coat will never work in summer… but, you know what I mean). That being said, I’ve developed a few rules over the last couple of years that have helped me to do so. I in real life apply them like so: When I’m contemplating purchasing a piece of clothing, I ask myself if that item fits the four categories. If it doesn’t, I take a step back and consider whether or not the piece is worth it. Of course, there are some items that don’t match all four categories and I make the purchase anyway (think a dress for a special occassion, or a trendier item that won’t break the bank). Yet, at least it’s a more conscious decision and not so “spur of the moment, had to have that.” So, today I’ve teamed up with Marks & Spencer to share these rules with you, along with some of my favorite versatile items for this fall from their women’s + children collection. 

  1. Neutrals: I typically stick with neutrals when forming my wardrobe. While I love fun prints and brighter colors from time to time, I’ve found that they aren’t as versatile as clothing that remains in the more neutral category. This allows me to easily mix in those fun pieces I also own. So, when I stumbled across these charcoal leggings +  white blouse with black piping, I knew they would easily work in with other pieces in my closet. Wear the top with jeans and this classic trench for a breezy fall day, or as I paired it here with body sculpting leggings (seriously, these are the best) for a day of errands and chasing after your little one. 

2. Classic Shapes: While I love ruffles, asymmetrical cuts, and the oversized fit, classical shapes will always take me across occasions and seasons. This trench is exactly that. The perfect length, a fitted cut, and a neutral color allows it to take me from daytime to evening, “off duty” to “on duty,” with a few simple swaps.

3. Well Made: Let’s face it, if I’m buying something that I want to stick around for a while, I don’t need it falling apart on the first wear…. yet, I also don’t want to break the bank. I’ve found that Marks & Spencer has excellent pieces that are quality at affordable prices… for myself and Harper. I snagged these little shoes for her and she loved running around in them… and these leggings + tee combo stood the test of time while we were running around at the park (which, isn’t easy to do with the way she plays!). When an item is well made, in a classic shape and neutral color you know you’ll have it for a long time (read: no one time wear).

4. Easy To Layer: As I look at building a versatile fall wardrobe, this one is key. With temperatures fluctuating throughout the day, the pieces I purchase need to be able to stand alone and layer under, or over, other items. All the items I’m wearing today can do just that. The trench can easily layer over a thicker sweater, the blouse works under a jacket or sweater, and the leggings easily tuck into over the knee boots.

Oh, and the same goes for my little miss too!
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(Outfit Details || My Top | My Jacket | My Leggings | My Shoes | Harper’s Leggings | Harper’s Tee | Harper’s Shoes | Harper’s Cardigan (which she kept taking off…. but it’s really too cute!))

Thank you to Marks & Spencer + Shopping Links for sponsoring this post

09.20.2017

Wellness Wednesday || 6 Easy, Healthy, + Delicious Weeknight Meals

When TJ and I got engaged, someone gave us a cookbook that was titled “30 Minute Weeknight Meals.” I thought it was brilliant. Until I attempted a few of the recipes… and realized that they took much longer and had too many ingredients. I think I’ve made one recipe out of the book (still have it though!). All that to say, over the years, I’ve become adept at making meals that are on the quicker side, with ingredients I regularly have in my refrigerator…. because, often I don’t know what we want for dinner until the afternoon. So, today, I put together some of our favorite easy, tasty, and nutritious weeknight dinners (based on this grocery list– which needs some modifying for the soup)… you can make these for one person or they are easily multiplied for a larger family. And while I’m not making any of these this week due to vacation, they will all likely be on heavy rotation next week when it’s back to clean eating!

Monday Night: Salmon Bowls

Ingredients:
Salmon filets (6oz sizes)
Lentils (I prefer Trader Joe’s)
Arugula
Asparagus
Tomatoes (plum)
Arugula
Lemon
Dill
Salt
Dressing

Directions: 

Marinate the salmon in lemon juice, salt, + dill, add a handful of tomatoes to the grill pan. Prep the asparagus with some avocado oil spray, garlic powder, and salt. Grill both. Prep the lentils. In a bowl combine 2 cups of arugula and some dressing (you don’t need much at all, probably less than a tsbp). Top with asparagus, roasted tomatoes, 1/2 cup lentils, and salmon.

Tuesday Night: Taco Night 

We love these salsa verde tacos (featured above). An easy “set-it + forget it” option for the middle of the week. You will likely have leftovers, which makes lunch the next day pretty easy!

Wednesday Night: Breakfast Tacos 

Ingredients:
Cabo Chips Corn Tortillas (So.Good. Found at Sprouts)
5 Eggs, 1 Cup Egg Whites
Guacamole
Mango Salsa (or a fruit based salsa)
Salsa Verde
Micro Greens
Black Beans (can)
Bell Peppers (chopped)
Onions (chopped)
Meat Option: Bacon (prefer this one) cut into small pieces

Directions: Make guacamole. Scramble eggs to your liking. Sauté peppers + onions. Cook the tortillas. Place a dollop of guac on your tortilla. Add eggs. Top with salsa, micro greens, black beans, bell peppers/onions, and bacon (if you choose). I ate two tacos, and also had some more eggs on the side with salsa and guac.

Thursday Night: Healthy Fried Rice

Another favorite in our house is this healthy fried rice recipe. I love that you can top it with any protein. Last Sunday evening we marinated some skirt steak for about 6 hours in pepper, salt, + soy sauce and cooked that with some bell peppers. We added this friend rice to the meal and it was so tasty.

Friday Night: Protein Burgers 

Ingredients: 
1lb ground beef (we prefer Bison, or Trader Joe’s has a great organic, grass fed option)
Butter Lettuce Cups (Trader Joes + Sprouts)
Red Onion
Tomato
Mustard 
Ketchup
Pickles
Sweet Potato Fries (it’s Friday!)

Directions: Cook the fries accordingly. Assemble the hamburger patties. We grilled ours, along with the red onions, on the BBQ.  Wash butter lettuce leaves, slice tomato and pickles. Assemble burger to your liking.

Saturday Night: Order Out

We always like to give ourselves a break and order out on the weekends…..

Sunday Night: Lentil Soup

This is my all time favorite lentil soup recipe (that I shared 3 ago…. I apologized for the poor quality….). I love making it on a Sunday evening because we always have leftovers and it’s often better the day after. Plus, with the temperatures cooling down, and football on Sunday evenings, it’s the quintessential fall meal!

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  (Leggings | Pullover | Cap)

(Leggings | Tee)

09.19.2017

Travel Style || The Jogger Pant (I Swear By Them)

Today is travel day for us, and something both TJ and I have been slightly apprehensive about for the past few weeks. We haven’t taken Harper on this long of a flight since last year at this time… when she wasn’t mobile and didn’t mind just sitting on my lap (or nursing and sleeping the entire flight). We’ve armed ourselves with a few tools (snacks, a musical on the iPad, and some novel toys she hasn’t seen before….) and are hoping to land with half of our sanity left. She’s actually a pretty good traveler, and I’m sure our worries are exaggerated…. but, nevertheless, we’ve prepared ourselves for the worst. That being said, traveling in comfort is key, and if there’s anything I’ve learned over the past couple years, it’s that traveling with a little munchkin means you need pieces that are easy to move in (I’ve relegated jeans to the traveling solo pile). Enter joggers. In my mind, the holy grail of looking pulled together, and practical, while traveling. With an expanding waistband, and looser fit, you can rest assured that you won’t be moving around uncomfortably in your already itty bitty seat. I’ve been wearing this camo pair non-stop over the past couple of weeks…  and my favorite way to wear joggers out in public for fall is paired with an über soft pullover + two toned bag….. comfort, practicality, and style combined.

A few other favorite joggers include this distressed option (wearing tomorrow), more work appropriate pair, thicker option (I own them in blush), and this incredibly soft pair.
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(Outfit Details || Joggers (run large) | Sweater (c/o) | Sneakers (also love these) | Bag (c/o) | Sunglasses | Necklace)

09.18.2017

Weekend Recap || Listening To Yourself

(Small signs of fall….)

I thought about what I wanted to write about all day. Not because I didn’t have anything to talk about (no shortage there), but because the single topic that kept coming to mind was the one that I didn’t know if I had the correct words to formulate a post about. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been feeling slightly overwhelmed with everything on my plate… parenting and managing toddlerhood, making sure nutritious meals are cooked, meeting deadlines and scheduling projects for work, squeezing in workouts, quality time with TJ, and keeping in touch with my girlfriends… it all sort of came crashing down at the end of last week. I’ve never been one to have panic attacks, or really suffer from intense anxiety, but I could feel that something was off on Friday. My heart was racing, I couldn’t turn my mind off, worrying about loads of “what-if’s,” obsessing over certain things being perfect, I was irritable, and felt on the verge of tears several times. While I took some time to reflect on Saturday, I realized that I’ve been feeling as if I’ve been doing everything “half-way….” a mediocre friend, mom, wife, writer…. I felt like a slight hypocrite always encouraging women to take time for self-care…. to ask for help when they need it… and here I was, not doing either….

So, I guess you could say that this trip to Hawaii is coming at an opportune time (TJ had a last minute work trip, so Harper and I decided to tag along). A chance to disconnect, reconnect, and take some time to focus on a few important things in my life. I’ve prepped all blog posts, which means minimal working while I’m there. I’m hoping to text a few girlfriends (maybe even chat) and read a book or magazine while little miss sleeps, and to be as present as possible.

 All that to say, I was reminded of the importance of asking for help and taking care of myself…. so, if you’re feeling the same way, stop for a moment and do something for yourself (I ended up doing some yoga to center myself, taking a long shower, and treating myself to mani/pedi tomorrow). If you’re not feeling that way, do something nice for yourself regardless….. we all deserve it… and don’t have to go it alone! I hope you all have a good week friends xx

(An end of the week family breakfast out… almost too pretty to eat….)

(Went back to an old favorite, Outpost Kitchen, for a morning breakfast date)

(Grey on grey for a spin session… leggings, hoodie)

(Saturday evening bubbles)

(Sunday morning comfies… pullover, joggers)

(Always obsessed with the balls….)

(Felt a little like fall…. comfy cardi, band tee)
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We’ll be traveling all day tomorrow, and I’m not a huge fan of airport or airplane food. So, I picked up a few snacks for the plane for our little family including these fruit and veggie bars for Harper, peanut butter crackers, kale chips, perfect bar, and beef jerky. I’m also considering making a few of these egg muffins for a quick breakfast since we have a very early morning flight.

I haven’t started packing yet, but I know what I am brining… so I guess that’s better than nothing. I’ll be tossing in this gorgeous one shoulder top to pair with shorts for an evening mai tai, and later with my favorite jeans and mules for a night out. The other tops making it in the suitcase include this soft thermal, gauzy ruffle top in the prettiest hue for fall, knotted pullover (which I will likely wear backwards), and my favorite distressed shorts to wear with them. I’ll also be bringing a few dresses including this blue and white one I wore to my sister’s bachelorette party, embroidered black off the shoulder dress, casual cold shoulder dress, tunic dress to toss on as a cover up (and easily wear with booties when I return), and this adorable stripe romper (slightly obsessed). I also bought this headband, and I’m oddly excited to wear it…. To travel in, I plan on wearing these joggers and this pullover (with a tank underneath, since it’ll be hot when we get off the plane).  I also bought this little boho romper for little miss and I’m obsessed.

A few items that I saw this over the weekend that I thought would be perfect for everyday include this lace-up pullover, marigold cardigan (love love the color), pleated knit top (looks perfect for work or play), blush velvet camisole (#obsessed), and this wrap front sweater.

09.15.2017

Motherhood Update || 20 Months

What a month. I feel as if I just wrote my 19 month motherhood update, which is just a constant reminder to me as to how quickly my little lady is growing up. From her developing stubbornness to her sweet little hugs + kisses, my little miss is certainly growing into a little lady and continually helping me grow as a momma…..

(Dress | Similar Cardigan | Harper’s Dress | Harper’s Cardigan)

Favorite Part: Her growing independence. I absolutely love watching her develop confidence and try new things on her own. She politely lets me know to “back off” by swatting my hand away when I follow too closely behind her on the gymnasium at the park… or when she insists on swinging without the bucket seat… or refusing the highchair and opting for an adult seat… they’re all just small daily reminders that my little baby is no longer that. More and more I come to see her as a little girl, with a strong little personality ready to take on life. At the same time though, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I love it when she runs to me for comfort when she is scared or timid in a social situation…. a small reminder that I’m still her safe base from which she can explore the world.

Most Challenging: This hands down has to be the shifting emotions of a toddler… and the inability to fully communicate their needs… which, I believe, go hand in hand. One minute we’re having a jolly good time, and the next, because I can’t decipher what she is saying, it’s as if the whole world has come to an end. A complete 180. I know that this is a time that will pass, as she continues to develop language and her ability to communicate her needs… but man, it’s not an easy phase by any means. Toddler tantrums are also a challenge. Yet, I try to remain as calm as possible, because when I get upset it doesn’t help the situation at all.

I know I’ve talked about this so many times in my past motherhood updates, but mom guilt is so real for me…. often I feel it the most as I get busier and feel as if I am not giving her my full attention during the days. While I know it’s not possible to always give 100% all the time, it’s something I have to constantly remind myself of when I feel the guilt creeping in……

(Joggers | Tank | Harper’s Tank)

Sleeping: For the past week or so, TJ and I have been wondering where our good little sleeper went. Naps are varied in length (sometimes only an hour) and we’ve been having some consistent wake-ups around the 2am time zone (this used to be my college bedtime….). Needless to say, it’s resulted in a few haggard days this week, but again, trying to remind myself that it must be a phase. I put it out there on instagram and received a lot of feedback from others with kiddos around Harper’s age that they’re going through the exact same thing…. an early morning wake-up, crying, and asking for “momma, daddy.” From what I’ve read, I imagine it has something to do with her canine teeth coming in and her rapidly developing mind.

It’s funny, on those nights where a part of me just wishes she would go back to bed, there is also a part of me that knows how quickly this time will pass. When she won’t want to be in my arms, and have me sing her a goodnight song (much quicker than I realize….). I remarked to TJ the other day that we should be sleeping the best at this point, when we know she is safe under our roof…. since there will come a day when she isn’t and that will likely keep us awake…. Do you ever really sleep as a parent??

Eating: Well, we no longer use a high chair and have graduated to a booster seat (per Harper’s decision). I actually really like this transition. It feels as if she is really part of the family and engaging at dinner time, not merely a little being sitting in her high chair. We say our prayers, listen to some music, and eat together. Surprisingly, she eats much better sitting in the booster seat than she did in the high chair. I’d also say that 90% of the time she does better in the booster seat at a restaurant (before she was dying to get out of her high chair).

Harper’s Favorites: I feel as if her preferences are constantly shifting. She currently loves this farm animal puzzle + shapes puzzle (always wants to do them first thing in the morning) and anything to do with balls. Her imagination is flourishing and she thoroughly enjoys playing with her toy food and shopping cart, sidewalk chalk (a budding Picasso maybe??….), and sitting in her little chair reading out-loud (not discernible, but hey, it’s a start). When we go to the park, she loves going up and down the slide by herself (do. not. help.), and swinging without the bucket seats. She  loves giving kisses by rubbing her nose against yours….. Oh, and she loves getting dirty (didn’t get that one from me….) in the sand, with her food, you name it, if it can make her filthy she’ll do it!

Friendships: My friend sent me a text message the other day saying that she felt like she has been the worst friend lately. I laughed out loud. Hardly. I had been feeling the same way. I replied to her that I could barely pull it together to return a text message. It’s nice to have all my friends in the same place of life, but sometimes it saddens me (if I’m being honest) that we don’t get to talk and see each other as often. Healthy female friendships are so imperative, and I can often sense when I haven’t connected enough with my girls. I stumbled across this article, as well as this one, the other day and thought they were both amazing narratives of this place in life (while I don’t relate to them 100% I think the overarching theme they present is very relatable).

09.14.2017

Fall Trends || Top 5 Tops For Fall

I’ve always been a jeans and top kinda gal…. don’t get me wrong, I love a cute dress (my closet is filled with them), but when it comes to daily living, jeans + a top is the combo I opt for 90% of the time. That being said, with a new season, comes a few new updates to my closet (I purged it last weekend… so there’s room now…). So, while I was shopping last week (I brought my mom along this time for reinforcement with little miss…) I couldn’t help but try a few different tops on when I was in Nordstrom. There were so many great options, and I noticed that all the tops I had fell into one of five categories…. so, I decided to share them with you today….

1. Wrap Top: I love this option for pretty much any occassion. It’s dressy enough for the office, but can be dressed down for weekend wear as well. I prefer mine in a slinky material, which lends itself to a more luxurious feel and fit. I opted to pair this white one with my favorite flat mules and fall fedora for an afternoon of window shopping in Old Town Orange with my mom (TJ watched little miss while she napped). I also have my eye on this flutter sleeve option (in the gorgeous rust color) as well as this velvet burgundy camisole…. both such gorgeous colors for fall.

2. Pullover/Sweatshirt: You all know I’m no stranger to comfort… and a pullover has my name all over it. They’re the perfect “off duty” piece to have in your closet… and if you’re work place is more on the casual side, a great Friday option (if done right). My current favorite is this ruffle number… a little dressier than my typical comfy choice. Yet, I  recently purchased this striped one and this marled grey hoodie and both will be on major repeat all season long.  Pair them with a simple skinny trouser and mule for a casual Friday office look.

3. Bell Sleeved Sweater/Top: While these can range from minimal to dramatic, I tend to keep mine more towards the minimal side of the spectrum (no surprise there….). I love the dimension they add to an outfit. This black one is a great choice to dress up or wear to the office…. and the color of this sweater is perfect for fall. I recently purchased this one to wear with jeans, joggers, and leggings.

4. Thermal Top: Mostly relegated to the “off duty” side of the closet, but a must have for sure. Perfect for lounging, a casual brunch with friends, tossing on as an under layer, or a post work-out top layer. My all time favorites include this one in the ivory color as well as this bell sleeved beauty (last featured here).

5. Classic Button-Down: In a bind, this is a perfect go to with a pair of jeans (or trousers), kicks (or mules), and a cap (leave that off if you’re going to the office….). These are my favorite (and softest) plaids in my closet, a plain white one is always a must, and I love this striped option too.
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(Outfit 1 Details || Sweatshirt (TTS) | Jeans (run small, I sized up 2) | Shoes (also love these) | Sunglasses | Bag)
(Outfit 2 Details || Top (runs TTS) | Jeans | Mules | Bag (vintage, very similar) | Hat (in black))

Thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. 

09.13.2017

Wellness Wednesday || Chocolate Banana Protein Smoothie… My New Favorite Afternoon Snack

My afternoon snack, the one between lunch and dinner, is always my favorite. Always has been. So, I put a lot of thought into what I want to have. If I’m out and about, I typically opt for a snack bar (LARABar or Rx Bar), but when I’m at home, I like to get a little creative. Whether it’s making some guac with sliced veggies, or whipping up a smoothie, I make sure it’s filling and DG (I mean, it’s typically one of the only meals I get to consume alone). That being said, a few weeks ago, I began trying out chocolate protein smoothies. I’d been making this berry one for a few weeks, and decided I wanted to switch things up a bit….

What I came up with is pretty much my dream afternoon snack… it’s sweet, filling, and something I can savor every last sip of (so, it’s not so small that it’s gone in a bite… I hate snacks like that). It keeps me full up until dinner, and TJ even likes to whip it up for a post dinner dessert topped with a little chocolate granola (that little touch is pretty divine). So, whether you’re looking for an afternoon snack or post dinner treat, I got you covered today.

A little bit of “wellness” to mention. I’ve started adding Maca Powder to my smoothies. It has tons of benefits, including balancing out estrogen levels (which ultimately helps with PMS, Menopause, and PCOS), can help to increase positive mood and decrease anxiety, can assist men in the fertility department, is an antioxidant booster, and has been shown to have positive effects on stamina, mood, and energy levels. You can read more about it here.

Chocolate Banana Protein Smoothie

1/2 cup frozen banana (I prefer mine in slices, since it blends better)
1 cup frozen riced cauliflower (adds thickness without altering flavor)
1 cup nut milk
1 scoop chocolate protein powder (gentle on my stomach)
1 tsp Maca Powder
dash of cinnamon
1 cup of ice
(optional, cup of greens or 1 tsp and/or almond butter)

Toss all ingredients in the blender and blend on high until thick and creamy.
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(Outfit Details || Pullover | Leggings | Cap)

09.12.2017

Couple’s Style || The Evolution

TJ and I met 13 years ago. He had graduated, I was still a junior in college. I’d always thought he was cute, and apparently he’d had a thing for me as well…. I just hadn’t known it (probably had something to do with the fact that I had a long distance boyfriend the first couple years of college). Anyhow, we ended up meeting late one night in college, thanks to my girlfriends, at an after party. I remember thinking how cute he looked, and then looked down at his shoe and noticed he had spilled bean burrito on it (I figured he had visited Sara’s…. a local burrito joint that was notorious for late night food….). I remarked on how nice he looked and how the beans sitting on his shoe complimented his outfit (he’ll tell you I’m still just as blunt with him today as I was back then….). He immediately cleaned them off, ever so proud of his appearance. After TJ played the “two day rule” (which almost got him the ax…) we went on our official first date a week later (there may or may not have been several Long Island iced teas involved…).  The rest is history, and here we are today…. and while I’d say that TJ has always had relatively impeccable style, over the years we’ve done a few wardrobe updates.

One of the first items we updated were his jeans…. he was looking for something a little more fitted. So, I took him to Nordstrom to try on a few pairs. He fell for a pair of seven jeans… and a few more items if I recall correctly….

So, when TJ took a new job that required him to work from home, his daily uniform of a suit and tie were no longer fitting (only occasionally necessary). We headed to Nordstrom men’s shop to update his “casual” wardrobe… where we could find exclusive brands at very reasonable price points. We decided that these drawstring trousers easily worked for an off duty weekend look, as well as an at home conference call, and the henley top could easily be worn for a business casual lunch (with these trousers that he also snagged), or to a post spin class brunch on the weekends. A few other items we grabbed for him included this v-neck sweater (also interchangeable with the trousers and drawstring pants), half zip pullover,  trim fit sports shirt, and casual distressed tee (I decided we needed matching ones…). He also has his eye on this puffer vest for a few cooler weather trips we have planned in the coming months. And, if the man in your life needs to wear a suit + tie on the daily, some of TJ’s favorites include the smart care line of dress shirts, which are essentially wrinkle free (!!!), ties, and socks (loves his printed socks….). Either way you go, you’re sure to find good quality for the man in your life.
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(Outfit Details || My Dress (comes in navy, runs TTS) | Jacket | Shoes (also love these) | Sunglasses | Bag | TJ’s Pants | Henley | Shoes | Black Necklace )

Thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post.

09.11.2017

Weekend Recap || Small Reminders

(Small reminders that summer isn’t quite over…)

It’s hard to believe that exactly sixteen years ago, 9/11 happened. I vividly recall the events of that morning… I was getting ready for the second week of my senior year, curling my hair, and my dad came in and told me one of the Twin Towers had been hit (my mom was out on her morning run at this point). I went into his room, and watched in disbelief… and the rest of the day was spent doing just that… watching, and waiting, as the horror of the day unfolded…..

I remember the fear I experienced, in the following days, of something else happening… much like the fear that creeps in every now and again as I think about the world Harper is growing up in today. Yet, for some reason, this weekend, I was reminded of all the good that there is with very small instances, that I see daily…..

Every morning on my run, I cross paths with a young boy who has cerebral palsy and his aid who rides the bus with him…. she sits there patiently chatting with him each morning, and she and I kindly nod and smile when we pass each other…

We ran into friends, who we hadn’t seen in a while, this past weekend, and spontaneously decided to join them for a little beer tasting at a local brewery…. sports were on, and there was a sense of camaraderie in the air…

And, when I was running my errands this afternoon, an elderly lady was struggling to load her groceries and a college boy (I’m guessing on the age….) offered to help her.

Small little reminders that amidst some of the horrible things around us, there really is a lot of good out there too. So, as we go into the week ahead, my intention is to keep my eyes open to these small acts of kindness, and spread some myself…. paying it forward never hurt anyone. Have a great week friends! xx

(Matching my drink to my sweatshirt….)

(Back to our spin + avocado toast date mornings… such a great way to kick off the weekend)

(Keeping this taste away from those quick little hands wasn’t easy….  sweatshirt)

(Sunday comfies…. joggers, pullover)

(Sunday adventures with my crew in the comfiest jumpsuit)
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We stayed pretty balanced this weekend from an indulging standpoint…. opted for grass fed, organic burgers, protein style, on Friday evening… then we grilled chicken on Saturday night… and last night we made a pepper steak stir-fry and I cooked it with this cauliflower rice. Super tasty.

TJ has a work trip to Hawaii next week, so Harper and I are going to join him (it took a lot of convincing… not…). That being said, I’ll be bringing a lot of my favorite summer staples, but I also couldn’t resist this low back stripe suit and scalloped malliot to be worn underneath this gorgeous cover-up. I’m also considering these striped beach pants. For traveling, I’ll likely wear my favorite joggers, this jumpsuit and cardi combo, or this cozy pullover and my favorite leggings.

I snagged a few items over the weekend for everyday living…. like this ruffle sleeve short sleeve jacket, ruffle sleeve tunic in the mauve color, tie sleeve sweater, long denim jacket (can’t wait to wear with leggings), and this ruffle tank. I also love this black lace up pullover (seriously, so perfect), ruffle cardigan, crochet cardigan in ivory, and this raw hem denim shirt (such a great layering option with leggings and a white tee). I also couldn’t help but peek at these gorgeous date night tops…. like this one shoulder top (which I’m considering for Hawaii), balloon sleeve blouse, pretty little wrap top, and this black lace top.