12.11.2017

Weekend Recap || Perfectly Imperfect

(The smoke + ash was so bad, the masks were necessary….)

TJ and I snuck away Saturday night, for a parent’s night away. We headed up to Santa Barbara, aware of the fires close to the area, but not aware of the heavy layer of smoke and ash that filled the sky.

And while the conditions were less than ideal (I feel terrible for all those impacted, and those who continue to be, by the fire’s destruction) we decided that we weren’t going to let it put a damper on our time together. Hey, we were childless, schedule-less, and in one of our favorite cities in Ca. So, we headed to the local library, grabbed some medical masks (they were graciously giving them out), and headed to the funk zone. We tasted wine, ate good food, napped, and then enjoyed some evening libations at one of our favorite spots, all while listening to piano music. It was a subtle reminder to me that life isn’t about everything being perfect (less than ideal weather conditions, many of our favorite spots closed down….), but it’s about surrounding yourself with people who fill your soul… those people who, no matter the situation, you can have a good time with…

So, as we head into the last two weeks of the holiday season, I want to hold onto that small reminder that life is more about who you spend it with, than what you spend it doing. It’s often in those imperfect moments that you end up having the most “perfect” time with those you love (if you allow it to happen). I hope you all have a great week friends! xx

(A new favorite rosé… so crisp….)

(Mix and matched my favorite casual pieces for an afternoon of wine tasting. Cami, Jacket(a lot of similar jackets here), Jeans, Mules (also loving all of these casual mules))

(Nightcaps at one of our favorite piano bar spots…. Belmond El Encanto)

(All black for a fun night out: booties, leggings (loving these leather legging options too), cami, blazer)

(Grabbed a quick brunch at Malibu Farm on the way home… we actually tasted our good….)
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Took the weekend off from working out, but looking forward to a few long runs this week, along with a spin date with TJ early Tuesday morning. I’ve also noticed such a difference in using heavier weights with my leg/booty workouts. I highly recommend it if you’re looking to really tone that area!

There have been so many cute new arrivals in stores lately, so I’ve added a few items to me Christmas list… and picked up a few pieces for a few events we have in the next few weeks. I think this blush cardigan is super cute, as is this wrap front sweater (such a cute basic), and lightweight white sweater (#obsessed). I recently purchased this super super super (it’s really soft, can you tell) fleece zip-up and since it’s so hot here in CA, I’ve been wearing it to lounge around the house (and it’s currently on sale!). These blush joggers + sweatshirt combo are on my list too, and how cute is this rose colored fuzzy sweater (perfect for someone who loves comfort!). I also think this swiss dot top is gorgeous for the holidays.

If you’re still looking for some cozy Christmas pajamas, I’m loving this plaid set, this super soft set that comes in several different cute prints (I featured it here), and this red + white thermal top + pants combo is adorable (and an amazing price point…).

Urban Outfitters also has some of the cutest cozy wear pieces… perfect as a gift, or for yourself. I recently received this oversized mock neck sweater (in the muave color), furry house slides, velvet pillow, and this super soft throw blanket (in the mauve color), as well as this high low sweater.

With the holiday indulgences in full swing, keeping up with my workouts has helped me feel balanced. I recently bought these camo leggings (and love them)…. as well as this rose colored pullover and this velour gray hoodie. Great options to take you from post-workout to regular life.

Annnd, lastly, I’m on the hunt for a new pair of jeans. I have my eye on this darker wash of a favorite pair I already own, high waisted + slightly distressed option, and this high waisted skinny option.

12.08.2017

Happy Hour With Shannon || Monthly Q&A

(Pants | Tank | Jacket)

Happy Friday friends…. we. made. it. Sharing the answers to the most frequently asked questions from the past month…. with a lot focusing on eating + working out. Always feel free to send along any questions via e-mail or comments.

TJ and I are heading out of town for a night…. just the two of us… just a tad bit excited. I hope you all have a good one!!
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1.   I am a mom to two girls, 5 and 3. I tend to mainly live in activewear. Seriously for almost a year now I have been debating whether to buy the sincerely Jules jogger. I saw you had them on in one of your posts the other week. I was hoping to get your honest opinion, are they worth the money? If so, what size were you wearing? I’m an avid runner and am roughly 5’4″, 110lbs.

The joggers are great! They’re a thicker material, so they are very appropriate for everyday life. That being said, you can also find cuter, less expensive options. My two current favorites are these joggers (which they brought back this season) and these (I’ve worn them several times this week!).

2. Do you use a daily sunscreen and/or a primer under your makeup? If so, which ones do you recommend? 

I use this SPF foundation and love it (I mix it with a heavier one as well). I don’t use a specific primer, but prep my fave with a serum…. and the foundation is creamy enough that it doesn’t look cake-y.

3. I have to say that I have just discovered your blog and love it! Our style is very much the same, fitness is a major part of my life, nutrition is something I care about, and I was a special education teacher for 12 years before deciding to stay home. I am 30 weeks pregnant, and looking forward to postpartum fashion…although also struggling to find options. What would you suggest? I was thinking lots of layering options (to breastfeed) and leggings. Mostly tees and cardigans.

Yes, I think you’re on the right track with leggings and cardigans and tees. I lived in these high waisted leggings post partum (still do actually) and this wrap is a great option if you’re planning on nursing… easy access! Some really great oversized, cute, and easy access tees include this button-up thermal (great for nursing) and v-neck (great for layering under cardigan!). If you’re looking for a great nursing bra, I loved this one!

4. I have a few winter weddings to attend and I’m not sure what to wear. Any ideas would be helpful. Preferably in the $150-$200 price range. 

I am loving velvet for winter… this burgundy dress is gorgeous, as is this navy one. I love this forest green lace option, and this lace burgundy dress is beautiful.

5. Where do you typically buy your bows/headbands for Harper? I’d love to get a few for my niece for Christmas! Thanks so much.

Most of the headbands and bows come from A Little Lady Shop. She makes the cutest bows!

6. I promise this is not a judgmental question, I’m actually inquiring because I’m working on getting healthier, but I love me some wine…. do you only drink on the weekends??

Hahaha! I get asked this question all the time, no offense taken! Yes though, I’d say 90% of the time I only drink on the weekends. I’ll have a glass or two of wine during the week if it’s for a special occassion though (lots of those during the holidays….). I wake up so early in the morning, and sometimes even a glass makes it a little difficult… I’ve found that’s what works best for my body!

7. I love the rug I always see in your instastories. Where is it from???

Thank you! It’s from Anthropologie.

8. I bought this cardigan in the red color and was wondering if you had any suggestions for ways to wear it for the holidays. We’re casual, and I am typically running after my son.

Love this cardigan, one of my favorites. I think it would look super cute with these velvet leggings (such a great texture for the holidays), studded booties (they are my recent obsession), and a black blouse. I always love layering some dainty gold pieces… this crescent necklace, bracelet (layered with these + these) would add the perfect touch.

9. I’ve been following you for quite sometimes and I am inspired by your commitment to take care of yourself. How do you make/find time? I have a 1 year old son and we don’t have any family in the area. I find it isolating. Any tips would be appreciated!

Thank you so much! I wake up at 5:30am every morning, and get my workout in before everyone wakes up. It’s definitely early, but if I don’t do it early in the morning I won’t get it done. I also use a lot of at home workout gear to get in my strength workouts (you can see my suggestions for a gym here… and I’ve recently added a heavier kettlebell).  Tone It Up has great workouts you can do at home, as long as you have the equipment I listed in the post above. I also have a jogging stroller, so if I don’t get my cardio in, I can take Harper along (pending she’ll actually sit long enough) for a quick run.

10. Do you ever use the tapered barrel with your t3 wand? I’m trying to decide if I want to get the trio or not…..

I used it a few times, but found that it made my hair a little too spiraly (I don’t even know if that’s a word…). I do use the other two regularly though.

11. I got both the boots you recommended from Black Friday (the OTK boots, and navy blue booties). Such good recs, I love them! What dresses do you wear with the OTK boots? Every dress I have either goes too far above them (no need to look like a hooker) or too long (where did my legs go??). I’m 5’3″ so any recommendations would be helpful. 

So glad you love them! For the OTK boots, my favorite dress to wear with them is this super comfortable long sleeve option (such a great price point… $17, and lots of color options). I also love this ruffle sleeve option.

12. I’m in a major struggle of getting my toddler twins to eat. I’d love some suggestions as to what you feed Harper!

Toddler eating struggles are real. Harper will love something one day (i.e. avocado) and the next not touch it…. That being said, I give her organic chicken nuggets (I discovered this brand and really like them), veggie burgers, quesadillas, peanut butter sandwiches, grilled cheese, lots of fruit (she loves fruit), eggs, oatmeal, yogurt, granola, peas carrots, asparagus (hit or miss here), salmon, shrimp, brown rice, lentils, turkey bacon, and cottage cheese. I am sure I am missing some things, but those are the main food items. Sometimes she eats everything, sometimes she doesn’t!

13. What are your travel tips for flying with a toddler? My husband and I are getting ready to take our 16 month old on a 3 hour flight and we’ll need all the advice we can get. 

I feel you on this one! I for sure recommend bringing “novel” toys and books… a lot of people recommended window stickers…. lots and lots of snacks (this is one of our go-to’s), a baby carrier for the airport (this is a lifesaver…. navigating the security and check-in line with a toddler who just wants to run is nuts. The carrier makes it so manageable). Crayons/coloring book…. oh, and don’t forget your iPad. Honestly, I brought all of the above. Window stickers kept her occupied for 10 minutes. Coloring 15 minutes. New book 15 minutes. So, after 40 minutes we still have 4 hours left. The snacks and the iPad (she watched Goldie + Bear) kept her occupied, and she ended up falling asleep for about an hour.

14. What do you do when you crave carbs badly and you’re all out of calories for the day?? 

That would suck! I actually don’t follow a strict calorie regime (read: I don’t overeat, and know around how many I consume a day…. but there is flexibility in that always), so I always give myself something small at the end of the night…. some perfect bar, a small bowl of popcorn…. and I always have a bedtime tea, which I think actually helps to curb cravings.

15. Do you sell any of your gifted clothing items? 

I actually don’t accept a lot of gifted items to feature on the blog… and when I do, it’s items I love and would wear regularly (and designate with a c/o). With that being said, since I love the items, I don’t sell them! I also have a sister, so when I clean out my closet, she goes through everything first and then I donate anything to a local thrift store.

16. Do you eat 3 meals a day or several small meals throughout the day? 

I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner… and typically two snacks in between. I also always have a little something for dessert. No need to deprive myself, anything in moderation!

17. Any tried and true skin care favorites?

I am a huge fan of TULA. My favorites are the exfoliating mask, illuminating serum, and the moisturizer (oh, and the eye cream). I also love OSEA malibu. Their body scrub + facial oil is so moisturizing especially during these dry winter temps.

18. What does TJ do for work? 

He’s in software sales.

19. What is your overall diet/exercise regimen? For example, do you try to eat minimally processed? And do you feel like you stick to it 90% of the time? As far as exercise goes, do you go for 5 times a week? And how do you pull it off with a toddler? 

My overall “diet” is to just eat clean, with proper portion control. I focus more on the ingredients in a product than I do the nutritional facts (not discounting their importance… just, if you eat something that has zero fat, but it’s loaded with ingredients you can’t pronounce… how “good” or “healthy” is that really?). I prefer my meat to be organic + grass fed… but, you know what, I can’t always find a restaurant that serves that and it’s ok. I’m not SO obsessed that I can’t enjoy life… I’ve always been a firm believer in balance and that’s part of it. As far as exercise goes, I try to do something daily. Some days are more intense than others, but I typically do active recovery days where I go on a 20 minute walk with Harper in the morning. During the week I wake up at 5:30am and get my workout in first thing (before Harper wakes up). On the weekends, TJ and I work out together, sometimes heading to a spin class as our weekly date.

20. I don’t have a Trader Joe’s BUT I do have a Sprouts + Whole Foods. Can you post about your must haves from there please? 

The items I’m going to list can be found at both stores:

Perfect Bars
Hilary Eats Well Veggie Burgers
Purely Elizabeth Granola
Healthade Kombucha
Primal Kitchen Salad Dressing
Vital Farms Eggs
Siggi’s Yogurt (Harper loves)
Butter Lettuce Cups
Brat Hans sausages (I think only Whole Foods)
Wild Friends and/or Justin’s Almond Butter/Peanut Butter
Boom Chick Popcorn
Appelgate Organics Bacon/Breakfast Sausage
EVAN’s Paleo English Muffins
Mi Rancho Organic Corn Tortillas (street taco size)
Explore Lentil Pasta

 

 

12.06.2017

Wellness Wednesday || 4 Ways To Stay Positive

I like to call myself a realist… I see the glass “as is” as opposed to the “half empty/half full” comparison. TJ begs to differ…. but that’s likely because he is one of the most positive people I know. As in, almost everyone I meet asks me (and him), “How is he (you) so positive?” We’ve had so many different conversations about his perspective over the years, and whenever I’m in a negative loop he is always able to offer some piece of advice to help me see things more positively, or at least from a different perspective.

With the end of the year coming, it’s always a time where goals are evaluated, progress is analyzed, and performance decisions are made…. sometimes it’s a time when we look around and feel less than those around us…. someone has prettier holiday decorations…. or, they’re able to do more around the holidays than we can. So, I thought I’d have TJ share a few of the ways he’s able to maintain a positive perspective thorough almost anything (because, he’s actually quite the hypochondriac… we currently don’t allow WebMD in our family anymore….)…..

1.  Life Situations Are Temporary: We were talking about this tonight. I was upset about a few setbacks I was feeling and he mentioned to me that we all have slumps…. some are longer than others… but that they eventually end (maybe not exactly when we’d like them to, but they do). Sometimes they’re a few days, and other times they’re a couple of months… but if you can remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel (even if we can’t yet see it) it can give you a little more positivity.

2. Do Something Good For Yourself Every Morning: Part of having a positive outlook is feeling good. So, starting your day with a morning workout is a simple way to make you feel good about yourself… from the fact that you accomplished a task, to the natural release of endorphins. With the temperatures cooling in the morning, TJ has needed to scoop up some new activewear to stay warm on his morning runs. Nordstrom has a great selection of men’s activewear, and is always the first place he heads when looking for new items. He snagged this windbreaker, which is a great layering option as it works in both “warmer” winter temps and the chilly winter mornings…. and this tee is super soft and versatile enough to be worn with jeans and a jacket for an everyday look. The joggers are great for morning runs, our spin date workouts, and evening lounging… and he’s always beenNike fan for his running shoes (I tried to buy him a different brand and he wasn’t having it….)… and goes between this pair (featured) and this black pair. He’s also a huge fan of this hoodie. I’m thinking about getting him this running vest and the matching pants to the windbreaker jacket for Christmas. If the man in your life is in need of some new activewear, those are some great options.

3. Stay In Good Company: They say you become like the five people you spend the most time with….so choose wisely. It’s so true though. At work, you can choose to sit and have lunch with a bunch of complainers, or you can choose to sit with people who may acknowledge the challenges, but still have a positive energy. Energy is contagious. You don’t have to be all rosey eyed, but being able to be optimistic leads to a more positive outlook…. look for those people and surround yourself with them. Those people tend to be the most successful in life as well (just saying….)….

4. Fake It Until You Make: TJ loves to start his conference calls every Monday morning by saying “Monday, it’s the best day of the week!” Deep down does he really feel that way? Not really, but having a little laugh about the fact that Monday actually sucks lightens the mood…. and sometimes, just being able to laugh is the best way to stay positive. Also, ending the day by finding one thing that was good helps to recognize that while a day might not have been the best, there is (typically) always at least one good moment…..
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(Outfit Details || TJ’s Joggers  (3 other colors) | TJ’s Jacket (8 color options) | TJ’s Tee | TJ’s Shoes | Socks | TJ’s Sunglasses | My Jacket | My Tank | My Leggings | My Shoes | My Sunglasses)

Thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. 

12.04.2017

Weekend Recap || Lowered Expectations + Gifts Under $50

(Friday night cuddles…)

I learned early on in parenthood that in order to enjoy most of the pre-parenthood activities, I simply needed to lower my expectations. I don’t mean that in a negative way, just in a matter of fact, don’t set yourself up for disappointment, kind of way. With that mindset, most of what TJ and I enjoyed before we became parents, is still possible. Traveling (don’t expect to sleep in… or to really relax… consider it an adventure… and be prepared to get into some small arguments on the journey….), lunches with friends (catch up in between side conversations with your toddler explaining why she can’t eat the crayon….), and then, Disneyland……

We decided to take our perspective of “lowering our expectations” to Disneyland over the weekend. Yes, you read that right. We took an almost two year old, to Disneyland, on the weekend, in the middle of the holiday season. We mapped out some of what we wanted to do the night before, but went into knowing we weren’t going on any of the “adult” rides… and that it was mainly for Harper’s enjoyment. We didn’t count on going on any more than 3 rides (lines… toddler patience….), and decided we would take her to see events over rides…. parades, lighting ceremonies, dancers in the streets. We knew it wouldn’t be easy (someone graciously reminded us that California Adventure sells wine… and beer…and cocktails…. and most of those in line were parents…..), but we went for the “experience.” At the end of the day we were exhausted. Yet it was so worth it.

I think we have so many expectations as to how life “should” be…. and often life, or others, just don’t (or can’t) meet those expectations…. so we ultimately feel let down…. frustrated. And while it’s great (and important) to have standards (I mean, don’t lower what your standards are for unhealthy relationships, or situations of that nature….) we have to make sure they are realistic. Which is what I’ve come to learn, over the past couple years, with little miss. When my (and TJ’s) expectations are very reasonable I (we) set us all up for a good time. So, here’s to a week of setting very reasonable expectations! Have a good one friends! xx

(Prepping myself for the following day’s Disney adventures…. thermal joggers, cardigan, slippers)

(Call us brave (or outright crazy…) but we tackled Disney, on a Saturday, in December, with a toddler….)

(Annnnnd then, someone told us California Adventure sells wine, cocktails, and beer…… #DisneyWithAToddler)

(TJ probably carried Harper around the park for 75% if the day…. great arm workout… earned those beers….)

(Small World was her favorite….)

(My intention was to have a cute mommy + me pic with those minnie ears….. Harper refused to wear them… she did wear them for about .5 seconds….(pearl embellished jacket))

(She loved everything….)

(Just a pretty during the day as at night….)

(My favorite… along with the pickles… Disney treats….)

(Little miss’ too……)

(Friday’s chunky knit…. obsessed with wearing it backwards too….)

(Sunday’s comfy sweats + pullover for an afternoon of cookie baking….)
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Snuck in this HIIT workout before Disney… and it was a great way to pump myself up for the day (or make myself more tired….. haha). Then we made these cookies (healthy option) and these sugar cookies (which we’ve been making for the past 25 years, on Sunday afternoon. All about that balance.

I was looking for a few small gifts, and came across a lot of cute options, all under $50, that I thought I would share with you….. I love this plush throw blanket (which comes in so many gorgeous colors, and a great price!), and these cozy fleece lined socks look so  comfortable. I own this planner, and think it’s a great, cute, option for your super organized friends! We all have a candle lover in our life too and I’m a huge fan of this Capri Blue one (been using it for years). For the wine + libation lover in your life I think this “Rosé All Day” glass + Rosé coffee table book is a super cute option… and this cactus bottle opener…. and these monogrammed stemless champagne flutes (own and love). For the mom on the go, who wants to look stylish, this velvet fanny pack is seriously perfect. Oh, and this jewelry organizer, paired with these earrings is super cute. Shopbop has great gift option under $50 + under $100.

I am currently loving white mules… and this pair + this pair are on my radar…. and I also found an almost identical pair of dupes for these Chloë booties….. and these leopard heeled booties are the perfect subtle touch.

I am also eyeing this über soft pullover (looks like a teddy bear), and this swiss dot blouse would be beautiful for the holidays (and beyond… like a date night…). A few other items that are super cute include this ruffled back tee (I like the rust color), grommet detailed sweater, floral velvet bodysuit, and this gorgeous textured lace blouse.

 

11.29.2017

Wellness Wednesday || Beating The Holiday Blues

While we are now well into the holiday season, with social activities buzzing around us, and making festive merriment, I am always reminded that this time of the year isn’t always filled with joy for everyone. For some, it’s a sad time, remembering the loss of someone, experiencing a recent heartbreak, or feeling a void in their life for various reasons. Or, others are burdened by finances, and worrying about how to make ends meet this time of the year. Some are simply stressed with everything on their plate… having a case of the “holiday blues….” And while I know that might not be the happiest of scenarios, it’s the truth…. and I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t come down with the holiday blues from time to time. So, what’s one to do? I thought about what I used to work on with my clients on around this time of year and came up with a few tips and tricks that I used to use… and still do when I feel a little blue… that I hope will help if you find yourself in one of the above situations…

1. Take Some Me Time: Sometimes, during the holidays, we get so wrapped up in doing things for others… planning the perfect party, finding the perfect gift, making sure everything is crossed off the list, that we forget to take care of numero uno. I was reminded of this when we were traveling back from Park City. The flight attendant specifically came over to us and said “You first with the face mask….” Sometimes the blues come from feeling worn down, depleted of “self energy” as I like to call it (or, as if your bucket is empty… that’s the specific term I use when describing it….). When I’m feeling this way, I like to take an hour for myself (at night, while Harper naps, or hire a babysitter for a little while) and do something I like…. get a manicure, take a nap (actually, I never nap…. but if that’s your cup of tea go for it!), read a book (likely one I started months ago…), take a bath (ohhh, and read a book), do a face mask…. just do something that makes you feel good about yourself… something to fill that bucket.

2. Release On The Gift List: I used to have client’s parents talk to me about this all the time. They would stress about everyone they “have to buy a gift for.” I always took that time to explore the idea of “gift giving” with them… where the notion of “having” to purchase a gift for that person came from. And while I’m not going to do that today, it’s something I’ve looked at, and something I think is valuable in understanding where the stress is coming from. Gift giving ought to be something that is fun…. for me, personally, I don’t want anyone stressing about giving me a gift… nor do I want to stress about buying someone a gift. People who love and care about you shouldn’t be mad if you can’t get them a gift. I think it’s always important to remember that gifts don’t have to be monetary in nature, or “big” to convey thought and love. Some alternative gift ideas that I have found to speak more than monetary ones includes offering to help someone in some way (if you have a family member who is a mom, offer her an hour or two to herself… trust me, that’s like gold)…. or pet sit someone’s dog when they go out of town. Offer to have a friend over for a glass of wine and conversation, as opposed to “giving” an actual gift. I am always reminded of the saying, “Collect moments, not things….” and sometimes approaching gift giving from that angle can really give it a new perspective…. and help release any financial hardship that might be burdening you this season… and put the fun back into the act.

3. Give Back: Sometimes, when I feel blue during the holidays, I take some time to give back. It’s not always in a demonstrative manner, but often times an extra tip for the person giving me my iced tea… or buying some extra groceries in the store for the homeless person I saw waiting outside… or, grabbing coffee for a friend just because. Or, one of my favorites is taking cookies to a retirement home…. I used to do this in high school and it always put a smile on their face, and mine. It’s amazing what acts of kindness can do to your mood.

4. Schedule In Fun: While the holidays are typically a festive time of year filled with various get togethers, sometimes calendars don’t fill up, and that’s enough to make someone feel blue… a little isolated. The perfect anecdote to that is to schedule in fun. Simply put, schedule in what you want to do. Grab a fun girl’s brunch (or HH… or just have mimosas at brunch…. leave the kiddos at home… actually eat your food….), plan a festive day with your family (there are lots of tree lighting ceremonies… and often times each town has special events for the holidays if you go to their website….), have a cookie baking afternoon with family, or plan a festive holiday movie marathon. It’s those little things that will have you looking forward to the season…. and not feel so isolated.

5. Talk To Someone: This might sound super basic, but it’s so helpful. Sometimes just chatting about what’s making you feel blue can help in so many ways. Feeling heard is validating, you may gain a different perspective, or that person may have experienced what you’re going through. I often feel when I am feeling a little down, simply chatting with TJ, a friend, or family member helps me feel better….

That’s it! If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them as well!

*As a disclaimer, I am not talking about severe depression. If you feel you might be suffering from something other than “seasonal blues” I recommend you speak with your healthcare provider. 

(Outfit Details || Coat | Pullover | Scarf | Boots | Harper’s Beanie | Harper’s Leggings | Harper’s Boots | Harper’s Jacket)

11.27.2017

Weekend Recap || Holiday Traditions + Cyber Monday Favorites

(A little Black Friday shopping with the ladies…)

I always love Thanksgiving weekend. For me, it has always signified the start of some of my most cherished traditions (both old and new). We kick off the Christmas season on Thanksgiving night by watching Christmas Vacation…. then the ladies in the family head out for a little Black Friday shopping (we don’t go early… we sleep in a little…) while the guys hang out and watch football. We get our tree…. spend an evening decorating it with Christmas music…. and then look forward to the next few weeks filled with tradition. I guess that’s why I always look forward to this time of year… it’s so deeply rooted in family and love that I can’t help but get excited as I think about all the festivities ahead…..

And, as I think about the traditions I had as a child, I can’t wait to continue making new traditions with my little family…. Harper is already getting excited, starting with decorating the tree (she may or may not have tasted a few pine needles….)…. and TJ and I have had numerous conversations about what we want to start with her this year. We want to take her to Disneyland to see all the decorations…. take her to a local holiday train that runs in the evenings through tunnels of lights (she’s obsessed with “choo choos”), and take her to look at all the Christmas lights. I’m excited to start baking with her (she already likes to help in the kitchen), and introducing her to the Polar Express book…..

So, as we head into the week ahead I do so with great anticipation for the holiday season in front of us. Have a wonderful week friends! xx

(Post Thanksgiving tradition with the sista…. vino, cozies, + Christmas Vacation. stripe pajamas, pearl joggers, slippers, glasses)

(Comfies for a morning chasing after little miss…. pullover, joggers, slippers)

(Little lovelies for the Christmas Tree… gold bird, pom garland, white bird, unicorn (20% off))

(Black Friday outfit…. velvet cami, cardi (both on sale))

(Picking out our Christmas Tree… little miss was more interested in rocks than trees…. Harper’s dress, my top, TJ’s top)

(Only broke one in the process….. love how she’s starting to get excited for the Christmas season too….)

(After a busy few days, our bed was calling for me Sunday night…. comforter, woven pillow, pillowcases, pouf(20% off))
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So, I fully indulged in all there was to offer this past weekend which is why I’m hitting it hard tomorrow morning. I bought a 20lb kettle bell this past weekend and am oddly excited to start using it this week. I read somewhere that increasing the weight you use for your booty workouts will help to lift + tone it… and I could sure use that right about now! I’ll also be doing my quick little bands workout during the week too.

 The last of the “Cyber Week” deals is today with Cyber Monday (not likely you needed to be reminded of that!…) and I thought I’d share a few personal favorites with you (that didn’t get included in my Black Friday roundup…..

I shared my gift guide for the man in your life, in case you missed it, and some of the items are included in a buy more save more sale. My dad actually loved the headphones so much, my mom got him a pair for Christmas.

Sole Society is having 30% off site wide and my favorite OTK boots (featured here) and these navy booties (featured here) are both in stock and included. Super comfortable and great for cooler weather… and easy to run after a little tike in!

Athleta is having 20% off, and my favorite pair of stripe crop leggings (that I’ve had for 3 years) are on sale….

Bandier, a workout line, is having 20% off everything, and I have my eye on these camo crops + blush lace up hoodie.

 Anthro is having 20% off site wide and I shared some favorites above. When I was in the store, I also fell in love with this beautiful fluffy cardigan and this sequin bell sleeve top (thought it would be so fun for the holidays!).

Free People is having 25% off sale items…. I love this super soft collarless zip up.

Annnnd, Nordstrom is still having a sale and my favorite oversized henley is included, and this v-neck sweater looks so comfortable. Also, another gorgeous sequin top for the holidays… as is this velvet slipdress (such a beautiful color).

11.20.2017

Weekend Recap || Park City

(After a full day of snow, this sunset was spectacular)

I’ve been looking forward to this trip since we left last year. As a born and raised California native, snow isn’t something we get to experience often… unless we head to our local mountains… and even then it’s hit or miss. So, as I monitored the weather reports the days before the trip, I was utterly ecstatic to see snowfall forecasted for one of the days we were here (I know, I sound crazy to all those on the East Coast and Midwest….). It ended up snowing, heavily the day after we arrived, which afforded us lazy time inside (something that was much needed), some naps, and family coloring time….. the days that followed included much of the same, along with playing in the snow and warming Harper up to the freezing stuff (pun intended)….

And while no trip with a toddler is without challenges (we had a 3am wake-up from little miss and it took and hour and half to get her to fall back asleep… something that rarely happens… or how we hired a photographer to shoot family photos and Harper refused to let us put her down…. and then decided after the shoot that the snow looked fun… ), we have learned to lower our expectations, roll with the punches, and just create memories wherever we can. Which was exactly what this trip was… one big memory for the books… both the good and the bad (which I am sure we will look back on some day and laugh…). So, while we have one last evening left, I intend to soak up every minute with my little family….

Also, I received a few questions regarding a review of the hotel. We stayed here last year as well, and couldn’t recommend it more. It’s very kiddo friendly, and they have a fun s’mores hour, indoor pool, and lots of space to play outside.

(We went cozy for a quick day of travel…. Harper’s tee, Mocs, My Leggings, Henley, Cardigan (other cozy cardigans), Bootie)

(Waiting for the snow storm…..)

(Warming the insides… because it was freeeezing outside….)

(Some of the best food at Harvest Cafe…. the paleo banana bread and avocado smash were our favs…)

(It was all fun and games until she thought she was stuck…. My Jacket, Faux Fur Vest (other great outdoor vests), Beanie, Harper’s Jacket, Harper’s Beanie, Harper’s Booties)

(We seriously couldn’t get over how gorgeous the snow fall was….)

(I immediately put my jacket on after this photo….. henley, beanie (more favorite beanies), scarf (gorgeous comfy scarves))


(S’mores hour…..)

(Bundled up for s’mores hour….. Faux Fur Anorak (other faux fur coats))

(Loved being held by daddy the entire trip! Harper’s Vest, Tee)

(One of the most beautiful views, with smooches from little miss… Pink beanie, Harper’s leggings)

(Chilly beverages on a chilly evening…. totally normal….)

(Cozied up with the boo…. Beanie, Sweater, Vest)

(Sunday comfies…. until little miss wanted to go outside again… joggers, hoodie)
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Hard to believe Thanksgiving is a mere 4 days away…. if you’re looking for a delicious, and healthy, stuffing recipe, I’ve been making this one form my family for the past several years. I end up doubling it because everyone always wants seconds. It’s also delicious the day after!

 A few items I purchased recently include this cute ruffle sleeve sweater (obsessed), deep plum chenille sweater, beautiful lace sleeve tee, fuzzy white sweater, and oatmeal colored v-neck peplum top…. love them all for the fall/winter months.

I’ve also had my eye on a few cozy lounge items… like these off duty sweatpants, plaid pajama shorts, and star sweatshirt. Also, my favorite joggers from last year were restocked (I own them in black and the olive color…).

Also, how gorgeous is this rust colored velvet blazer??

I also didn’t anticipate that it was going to be in the high 80’s for us on Thanksgiving day… insert sad face… so I also think this sweatshirt dress is the best of both worlds… cool enough with a slight cozy factor.

11.15.2017

Wellness Wednesday || 9 Ways To Stay Healthy During The Holidays…Mentally + Physically

I always find it ironic that one of the most festive times of the year is often filled with illnesses and stress (sorry to be a downer, but we’ve all heard of the holiday that was ruined due to flu that took down the entire family….). With the cooler temps, indulgent lifestyle, and festive celebrations, sleep, exercise, and an overall sense of taking care of the self is often neglected. And with so much on the “to-do” list it’s easy to see why it takes a back burner. Yet, I always find that when that happens, I tend to feel lethargic, and to be honest, not in such a “festive” spirit…..

For me though, health composes of both mental and physical components…. if I’m feeling good physically but stressed out of my mind how “healthy” can I really be? So, today I’m sharing the 9 ways I’m prioritizing my health this holiday season…..

1. Don’t Compare: This is such an easy time of year to get caught up in this trap…. from someone going to more parties than you to that person having the “perfect” family photo (something I don’t ever think I’ll experience with my little tornado… haha). I’m completely guilty in this category, but always feel like crap when I do it. For me personally, it’s so important to take inventory of all I have to be grateful for regularly… that way, when the desire to compare creeps in, I can easily recall the blessings I’ve been given.

2. Practice “The Season Of Giving”: While there’s no doubt that this “season” is commercially marked with gifts and getting, I think it’s crucial to “give back” to embody the true meaning of the season. It’s been proven that giving back lowers stress levels, depression, and blood pressure, while increasing self-esteem and overall happiness. Each year my family and I adopt a family to take Thanksgiving and Christmas meals to (we drop off the ingredients for the meal). We started this about 9 years ago, and I still remember the first time we dropped off the basket. The family didn’t speak English… and my parents, sister, nor myself speak Spanish… so, thankfully TJ was there to guide the process with the Spanish he knows. The family was profoundly grateful and I remember the immediate mood lift I received. Of course, there are smaller ways to give back during this time as well… if you see a homeless person in front of a grocery store, buy them a few items from the store…. volunteer time for a cause that means a lot to you, adopt a child to provide a gift to (I feel like stores have these opportunities all the time)…. whenever I’m considering “giving back” I’m always reminded of the quote from Anne Frank: “No one has ever become poor by giving.”

3. Simple Swaps: While there are some things I don’t care about being “waistline friendly” (i.e. pumpkin + apple pie… just give me the real thing) there are other indulgences that I can make simple swaps with and find they taste just as good. I like to sub apple sauce for butter, coconut sugar instead of regular granulated sugar (benefits explained in more detail here), and alternative flours (my favorite is almond flour). I guess I feel like making simple swaps can often ensure my little indulgences are filled with “real” ingredients. This is one of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes I made last year.

4. Move: It’s so easy to fill your schedule with fun festivities, but when I schedule in time to exercise it ensures I don’t slack in this department. Moving releases serotonin and has been proven to help remedy “the blues.” It’s also a great way to catch up with friends and family from out of town…. enjoy a walk together, go on a hike, take them to your favorite workout class…. kill two birds with one stone and then head to a delish workout after.

5. Manage Stressors: As I mentioned above, with all the holiday activities and get togethers, sometimes it can get overwhelming and stressful (especially if you’re hosting dinner…  or family members don’t get along). I chatted about managing stress in this post, and think it’s a great reminder for this season…. take deep breaths, ask for a hug when you need one, prioritize, check things off your list…. You’ll enjoy the season more and people will enjoy being around you more (at least in my case….).

6. Have A Clean Eating Plan: I think it’s so important to indulge in life…. but to balance that out with a “clean” plan when it’s time to get back on track. While the holidays tend to be a marathon of indulging, I try to get back on track at the start of the week (something similar to this meal plan). It’s a simple way to ensure that I don’t go too wild during the holiday season (another chocolate martini please… and yes, there was a season when those were my go-to libation….).

7. Say “NO:” I could chat about this topic for days… but I’ll make it short and sweet for this post. It’s ok to say “No” if you start to feel like you’re overextending yourself this holiday season. It took me a while to realize that I was an extroverted-introvert and that continually saying “yes” to every invitation I received was draining me of my energy… leaving me feeling fatigued and frequently sick. I needed some “alone” and “down” time to recharge myself. All that to say, it’s completely ok to not accept every invitation that finds itself in your inbox, and doing a quick check-in with yourself to see if you’re feeling rundown is a great way to assess whether or not to accept the invite.

8. Sleeeeeep: I probably don’t need to chat about the impact lack of sleep has on your health, but it’s true (I mean, I remember how I felt after being sleep deprived with the arrival of little miss). I wrote a post on sleep and while it doesn’t work all the time, it helps the majority.

9. Essential Oils: Several people requested a few “natural” ways to stay healthy during the holidays and I’ve had some success with essential oils. When I was sick last week, I used the blend “breathe” on my chest and around my nose and it drastically helped open my nasal passage (I was able to breathe with ease). TJ also had a horrible ear infection when we returned from Hawaii (woke up in the middle of the night in pain), and although he needed an antibiotic to treat it, in the middle of the night he used a blend of On Guard, Peppermint, Lavender, and olive oil and the pain subsided to the point that he could sleep through the night.

I reached out to my girl Kate who knows all about oils and she recommended the following:

On Guard: 1 drop in hot water or tea will help increase immunity… also take it at the beginning of a cold to minimize symptoms + duration.
Peppermint: A great option in tea to help with sore throats
A Blend: A drop of peppermint and a drop of lemon or orange is a great energizing mix to help you get through all the holiday shopping!

That’s it! Would love to know if you have any to add…..
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(Leggings, Tank, Necklace)

11.13.2017

Weekend Recap || Contention While Contending

(Bubbles with the sista…..)

We spent this past weekend celebrating my grandmother’s 90th birthday… family came in from out of town, and we spent time catching up, remembering old times, and watching a new generation of kiddos play together in the same backyard my cousin’s and I spent countless hours growing up. And, as a new generation took our place… and our former juice cups were filled with livelier libations… we got to asking Gram what her advice to all of us would be. While I can’t remember the exact sentiments, the gist of it was to take each day as it comes + to love those around you… since life is short, make the most of the time you have…..

Of course, that got me thinking. As of late, I’ve felt this huge need to “be better.” That what I’ve accomplished isn’t enough… almost an insatiable drive without relishing in the positives, or the successes thus far. With my grandma’s words loud in my head, I had to question why I put so much pressure on myself, instead of relishing in accomplishments and enjoying the journey. Then I remembered a conversation I had with one of my best girlfriends about a year ago… as we sat chatting about dreams and goals… and that aforementioned insatiable drive to “do better.” She mentioned that she tries to come from a place of “contention while contending….”

Whenever I have the feelings of not living up to my own standards, or feeling as if I’m not “doing enough,” I come back to those words… as well as the advice of my grandmother. I remind myself that it’s so important to be content and happy with where I am, all while working towards my goals. Enjoying the adventure of life, including ups and downs….

So, as we enter this week ahead, I do so with the intention of being content while contending. I hope you all have a good one! xx

(Walking into the weekend with this little lady…. her dress, her shoes, my cardigan, booties, tee)

(Comfy neutrals for a day of birthday prepping…. pullover, scarf)

(Back to our spin, avocado toast date mornings…. pullover (on sale), leggings)

(A full day celebrating grandma’s (or great grandma’s) 90th birthday with family….)

(Champagne sipping knit (wearing it backwards))

(Fireside hangin’)

(After a looooong night of minimal sleep, we moved a littles lower Sunday morning…. Harper’s onesie, My joggers)
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 I had a slight cold at the end of last week, so I cut my workouts short…. looking forward to getting back into the swing of things this week. Hoping to try my hand at a healthy pumpkin muffin recipe… but in the meantime will likely make a batch of my favorite paleo pumpkin bars (SO good).

We’re heading to Park City this Thursday and I’m so excited. I’m bringing along this cozy fuzzy cardigan, teddy bear jacket, faux fur vest, floral embroidered hoodie, cozy pullover, waffle knit sweater, velvet leggings (that fit like a dream), faux wrap peplum top for a nice dinner (inside….), reversible faux fur jacket (that I hosted a giveaway for last year), and my favorite down faux fur hooded jacket (it’s supposed to be 29 degrees on Friday!).

I’ll also be bringing a lot of cool weather accessories, including all my favorite beanies…. this knit oatmeal pom beanie, red pom beanie, and grey pom beanie, along with this stripe one (a few other cute stripe beanies). Also loving faux fur fingerless gloves (easier than full mittens!) especially this pair and this pink option. I also plan on bringing my favorite free people scarves, as well as this fringe woven scarf (that comes in tons of different colors).

As far as shoes go, I’m bringing my black hunter boots (I also got Harper these….), fur ugg booties (my favorites from last year), and I’m loving the Sorel boots (or these faux fur hiker boots).

I also found two adorable bralettes this past weekend… at excellent price points…. this lacey black option and this longline bralette are both so pretty.

11.10.2017

Motherhood Update || 23 Months

I finished yesterday’s blog post before TJ actually arrived home with my “new” phone. It appears we had a miscommunication (I mean, that never happens between couples, right???)… after fiddling with my phone for a little while and getting all my apps back, I asked him where the old phone was so we could try and get it turned on to back-up + restore 2 years worth of memories. He looked at me quizzically and said, “Um, it’s at the store. They’re destroying it since they gave us a new one.” Cue tantrum. My mind went through the past two years and all the memories that had seemingly disappeared with a simple technology glitch (and, let’s be honest, negligence on my behalf for not backing it up… or purchasing three dollars worth of extra cloud space….). Tears started to run down my face…. Harper’s birth, those precious few days right after she was born…. our first trip together as a family of three… Hawaii trips…. her first Christmas… her first birthday…. and then I fast forwarded to years later and her questioning me why she didn’t have more photos from her childhood (I know, I’m catastrophizing slightly….)….

I ended up calling Apple, and to make a very long 5 hour afternoon spent at the store short, I have my memories back. Yet, as I sat there, with nothing else to do but think (it’s amazing what can happen when you can’t use your phone) I started to think about why this was so important to me. They’re just photos. Yet, they’re so much more than that. Sometimes I look at my little girl and realize just how much time has passed, yet it feels like yesterday I went into labor. It’s hard to really remember those first few weeks… between the exhaustion + overwhelming sense of everything being new… and that’s where the photos come into play. Simply looking at them can bring me back to those moments (both good + bad). Seeing the photo of her on my chest for the first time brings back that same mixture of feelings I felt… so full of love for my little girl, yet fearful of my abilities all at the same time. And I know the years will fly by so quickly, and one day the furry of these hectic days will pass, and these images will be what I have to remind me of the feelings (all of them, no matter what they are) and memories we all made together….

And so, had this whole thing with the phone not have happened, I’m sure this post would have taken a different perspective… but it was a great reminder (and probably 5 people at the apple store also reminded me of this) to cherish those memories and keep them safe (or, in my case… back that it up!)…..

(Leather leggings, Fur Vest, My tee, Harper’s Vest)

The Most Challenging/Most Rewarding: I lumped these two categories together this month because for me, they’re one in the same. One of the most rewarding things for me, as Harper’s mom, is to see her budding independence… her preferences maturing… and her wanting to have a say in her life. It means she feels comfortable expressing herself… and her needs… which is something I always want her to feel as she grows. Yet, when it’s time to go and she can’t decide which pair of shoes she wants to put on… it can be a little crazy making (but then again, I wonder where she gets that from… I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree)…. Or, maybe a better example is how she likes to choose where she gets her diaper changed. She used to refuse to let me change her diaper, so I learned to give her the choice. I have to change her diaper, but she can choose where. We’ve chosen the closet…. her tipi…. the kitchen floor… and she tried to get me to do it in a chair, but I had to veto that one since there simply wasn’t enough room. Through the challenges, I’ve learned that choosing my battles is essential. Standing up on the kitchen table, not an option, too dangerous. Where I change your diaper, totally negotiable. I guess that’s what parenthood is… striking the balance and figuring out which situations are worthy of the battle.

(My anorak, Jeans, Thermal, Booties, Harper’s Jacket, Dress, Jeggings, Shoes)

Harper’s Favorite Things: Hands down, her two number one (if that makes sense) things right now are books (she just wants us to “reeeee” to her) and Goldie + Bear (the TV show). And while she doesn’t watch much TV (just when I need to get ready) there is something about that show that makes her laugh and smile (I like it too since Goldie is always problem solving and demonstrating how to be kind)…. and her favorite books are anything to do with animals (she has a taken a real liking to frogs as of late). She loves the moon and looks for it every time we are outside…. and jumping on the bed has become her favorite athletic activity. I love seeing how her likes change over time. It always leaves TJ and me guessing as to the type of little girl she is going to grow up to be….

The other day TJ asked “Does she ever just walk? I feel like she is always running….” and then we of course thought that maybe she’ll be a runner when she grows up… and then she goes and kicks a ball and we think she’ll be a soccer player…. but then she goes and uses sidewalk chalk and we think an artist…. so, I guess we pretty much think she can be anything……

(Joggers, Hoodie, Harper’s Joggers, Sweatshirt)

Sleeping, Eating, Wellness: I was pretty certain we were going to have some issues with the time change, but Harper somehow managed it amazingly well and ended up sleeping pretty late… then the next day she came down with a cough, so I think she might not have been feeling well (but TJ and I will always take the extra sleep!). For her cough, the doctor recommended honey… so be picked up some Zarbee’s Honey for her cough and it appears to have helped really well. We also used this humidifier in her room. We spent the past few days just hanging out so that she could get better… and it’s been nice. I feel like life with a toddler is so frequently spent on the go, that just hanging out has been a welcome change.

She goes between wanting to sit in her high chair, and a “big girl” chair to eat… and how successfully she eats in each is different (the former gets better results….). I’ve been sharing a few of her meals on instastories, but if that is something you want an entire post dedicated to, let me know!

(Stripe Tee)

Relationships: I came across this article yesterday and it gave me a few good tears and made me think of all my old girlfriends whose relationships mean so much to me. And since becoming a mom it’s been the biggest challenge for me…. I love my newer friends, but there is something about the bond with my older ones that is just unmatchable (is that a word??). I guess it’s kind of like the song, “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the others gold….”  I hope to instill within Harper the power of female friendships. That when you find the right friends, it’s as if they are an extension of your family. It’s something I hope to model for her, and a bond that I hope she can witness.

I continue to be forever grateful for having TJ to do this parenthood journey with. Do we argue at times… duh. Do we not agree about things. Who can possibly agree all the time? But do we work well as a team and support one another? Yes (although, in an argument we both might disagree….). And continuing to invest in our marriage with date nights and days makes us a stronger couple, and a happy couple makes for a happy home for Harper.

Wish us luck in this coming month!