10.02.2017

Weekend Recap || Take A Walk

(Welcoming October….)

After a seemingly never ending week (aren’t they always like that after vacation), the weekend was more than welcomed with a glass of vino…. and after a sleepless Friday night (little miss was teething) we seemed to fall into a groove with our normal Saturday morning spin and breakfast date. We met up with family Saturday evening, and called it an early night, hitting the sheets before 10pm (#GettingOld or #ParentLife??). When we woke up Sunday morning, we had every intention of making it to church, but found ourselves relishing in the rest from a full night sleep and a little miss who was willing to snuggle in bed (she’s usually ready and rearing to go the moment we get her from the crib). After we realized we stayed in our pajamas a little too long, we debated whether or not we wanted to workout. We ended up deciding on a long walk for coffee…..

TJ and I always have some of our best conversations on a walk (and for that matter, some of my best conversations with family and friends too….). It was on the walk back that we started talking a little more about the future direction of our family (namely, where we want to move) and how we want that to look…. how will it match with our values and what we hope for our little family. At the end of the walk, we had a few things figured out, and TJ remarked, “Well, that was a walk well spent….”

Which got me thinking… sometimes all you need is a new environment to gain a new perspective. So, that’s my intention this week. If at any point I feel stuck, feel in a rut, or as if I need a little inspo, I’m going to change my environment… whether that’s working from a coffee shop (as opposed to the table)…. or going to a new park with little miss… sometimes a new environment gives you a new take on life. With that, here’s to a week of welcoming new perspectives… Have a good one friends! xx

(She thinks they’re all balls…. until they get smashed… my jacket, her jacket)

(Back to our spin + avocado toast Saturday morning dates)

(Toss on this casual outfit for a housewarming party for my sister + brother in law… cardigan, cami, jeans, short crescent necklace)

(A little take-out sushi to close out Saturday night….)

(Little miss wasn’t sleeping through the night for the past week… teething we think… so we moved a little slower Sunday after the first full night in several days…. thermal, joggers)

(Morning walk for some caffeine… and to let someone exert a little energy….)

(This comfy ribbed tunic for a few afternoon errands and football….)
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It felt good to get back on a regular work-out/eating routine this past week. We made my favorite fall soup last night, and I’m thinking about making this carnitas recipe for Tuesday night… just set it and forget it… my favorite.

Not sure if it’s the new season, or if it’s because October is officially here, but there have been so many great new items in stores lately! I’m obsessed with this gorgeous waffle knit sweater in a terra cotta color, blouson sleeve sweater in the prettiest teal color, rosetta v-neck cardigan (love the rose details), gathered sleeve hoodie (such a great “is it fall or is it summer” item), and this beautiful chenille deep blue lace up sweater.

A few of my favorite items from last year that were recently re-stocked include this super soft fringe scarf, cozy ribbed oversized sweater (white + black), and this lightweight open back pullover (I have in pink).

TJ’s birthday is this Thursday and we’re heading out to a nice dinner, just the two of us. I’ve had my eye on this little velvet dress and I’m thinking it might be perfect for the evening. I mentioned this last week, but I could also wear it unbuttoned, over a white cami and jeans, for a more casual look too. I also love this wrap front sweater, cranberry colored wrap top, as well as this wrap jacket.

Asos also has some super cute, and well priced, items for fall. I love this mauve oversized v-neck sweater, wrap back sweater, blush lounge tie sleeve topoff the shoulder slouchy sweater, and this lattice back chunky cardigan.

We also have Harper’s baptism this coming weekend, and I’m considering this pretty little floral ruffle tiered dress or this floral midi dress, layered with a suede jacket.

09.29.2017

Lightweight Anoraks x2 || Fall Family Bucket List

Growing up, I always loved this time of the year. Our house was decorated in a festive way, there were lots of holiday celebrations, selecting my Halloween costume, and we took part in fun family traditions. When I became a mom, I knew I wanted to make this time of year just as special for our little family. While Harper was a little too young to fully enjoy all the special traditions and moments of the season last year, I can’t wait to see her interact and engage with them this year. It’s quite possibly one of the things I am most excited about for my favorite time of the year… her little reactions at new experiences. And with these new traditions, a new wardrobe is always helpful…. it’s time to put away her little jellies, bloomers, and sundresses and look for warmer fall items, like jackets, closed toe shoes, and sweaters. As always, Nordstrom has some of my favorites for this season from adorable little joggers to practical and functional shoes, I’ve definitely snagged several pieces for little miss this season….

A few of my favorites for her have to be this anorak coat (I couldn’t resist matching her in my own lightweight version…). It’s incredibly soft, and will go with anything… and appears to be easily washable (a key with any piece of kiddo clothing). Perfect for an evening stroll through a cute little pumpkin patch…. and this little floral dress  (the perfect fall colors) will pair perfectly over tights or jeggings (Harper owns these and they’re super soft) when the temps warrant it. I also recently discovered Native Shoes (thanks to my cousin-in-law) and love them….as does Harper. They are easy to clean and she moves around in them so well… they come in so many different color options so they’re perfect for little guys too. I also adore these floral joggers, grey cardigan, fleece pullover + legging combo, and this sweatshirt dress. Annnd, a few items for the little guy in your life (since the majority of my friends have boys….) include this stripe hooded henley, cozy jogger pants, thermal hoodie jacket, hooded flannel shirt, and this adorable camo vest.

And, because no one wants to be dressed up with no place to go, I’ve included my short family bucket list for the next few weeks. Sometimes I feel like I create such lofty lists and only get to a fraction of them. So, this time around, I’ve condensed it to my “must-do” activities!

1. Partake in all the pumpkin patch activities: petting zoo, tracker ride, pony rides, corn mazes…
2. Make a healthy pumpkin muffin recipe the whole family will like
3. Take Harper to see the Halloween decorations at Disneyland… they’re supposed to be amazing
4. Come up with a fun “family” themed costume idea. The idea of “rockstars” came to mind this afternoon (thanks so my mom)
5. Have a family pumpkin carving afternoon… complete with cider + soup.
6. Go to our family cabin in the local mountains to enjoy the fall foliage
7. Apple Picking (this is always on my list… I’ve yet to do it…)

Happy weekend friends! Enjoy your weekend!
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(Outfit Details || My Dress | My Jacket | My Shoes | Sunglasses | Harper’s Dress (big girl) | Harper’s Jacket (Toddler/Bigger Girl sizes) | Harper’s Shoes (so many color options here))

Thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post

09.28.2017

Work Wear To Weekend Wear || The Most Versatile Trouser Pant

I remember when I was first starting my career. I made a “must have” list of the clothing items I needed. A well fitting pair of pants was at the top of the list. A pair that could take me from client sessions, to happy hour with friends, to a casual weekend outing with TJ. The pair needed to have a little stretch, be neutral in color, and have that “on-duty-off-duty” feel to them with a few small outfit swaps to create the shift. When I found the pair, I snagged them in two color options. They lasted me several years, and I wore those puppies into the ground.

That first pair came from LOFT. They were petite friendly for my short legs, and the stretch was just right to make them comfortable for any occassion. So, when I was in search of a classic trouser cut pant, I knew exactly where to start. I was immediately sold when I stumbled across this grey crop pair in the “slim pants” category (I tend to prefer this fit for my frame). The stretch smoothes any “soft” areas I may have (especially after that relatively indulgent Hawaii trip) and the cut is modern and stylish… essentially making them versatile enough for any occassion. I can wear them to run errands, work at a coffee shop, out to a happy hour with friends, and to lunch with my mom and sister. With a few easy changes here and there, they easily work for that “on-duty-off-duty” requirement I have for my wardrobe.

For a simple everyday look, this cami pairs perfectly with them, as the two together create a neutral base to go “on duty” or “off duty” seamlessly. For a more office friendly look, toss on this chenille cardigan (seriously soft as butter) or this ribbed open cardigan. For a more “off duty” feel my new obsession is this sleeveless coatigan. Super soft, and can easily layer over a basic long sleeve tee in the cooler fall weather. Or, if you’re needing a dressier option to pair with the pants, try this stripe ruffle trim blouse. Either way, as long as you have the pant, you can’t go wrong.
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(Outfit 1 Details || Pants (wearing 0P) | Camisole | Vest (comes in 3 color options) | Shoes (similar))
(Outfit 2 Details || Cardigan (also comes in blush))

Thank you to LOFT for sponsoring this post. 

09.27.2017

Wellness Wednesday || Gut Health + Probiotics

Before little miss was born, I struggled with stomach issues. Not for years, but for about the year prior to becoming pregnant. I had horrible cramping and often felt nauseas… and this was frequently accompanied by anxiety and sadness… and horrible fatigue (one day I literally couldn’t move… I thought I was pregnant). All of these things were not normal for me, and I was very aware of it. I went to visit my GP and she ran through the regular questions…. which I knew weren’t going to get me where I needed to be. I didn’t have a bug and I didn’t pick up a parasite on a recent travel… I had a feeling it was something much more complicated than that. She had me get an ultrasound (which I had a feeling wouldn’t show anything) which came back completely clean. At that point she basically told me there wasn’t much else she could do. Thank you… I guess…. So, I went to an acupuncturist. She had a lot of different ideas, made me shift a few things in my diet (no dairy, no chicken, no beans….), and after a few months I started to feel better.

All that to say, over the past few years, I’ve become so interested in “gut health.” I knew that my stomach issues weren’t simply a “stomach” problem that could be fixed with a prescription. That they were more complicated than that, and a bunch of different changes needed to occur. I’m no expert here, and what I know is based on surface level research, but there is a huge gut-brain connection that is rarely talked about…. which would explain a lot of the anxiety and sadness that I felt back then. In all my research, what I’ve come to realize is that a healthy gut is largely tied to a healthy individual (both mind and body). One of the best ways to balance out the gut is to take a daily probiotic (something I used to do, but haven’t done in over a year… and I can feel it). Probiotics are healthy bacteria that work to balance your digestive tract and benefit your overall well-being. This means easier food digestion, more energy, and glowing skin. If your body doesn’t have enough probiotics you can experience skin problems, digestive difficulties, autoimmune disorders, and frequent cold and flus (you can read more about probiotics benefits here).

So, when TULA (one of my favorite skin care lines) came out with their own probiotic line, and challenged me to try it out for 30 days, I said “Why not? I have nothing to lose.” So, that’s just what I am doing, and would love for you all to join me too. Taking a daily probiotic can lead to less bloating, better digestion, more energy, and better skin… and I know I could benefit from that for sure. Something else I do on a daily basis to increase probiotics in my system is drink a bottle of Kombucha a day. I have noticed a huge difference in doing that as well, so I am hoping that re-introducing the daily probiotic will help too. I’ll be reporting back to you in a month as to if I felt any changes or not. Would love for you to join along!

If you’re interested in joining along with me, check out the line here!
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(Outfit Details || Joggers | Pullover | Probiotics (use code SHANNON15 for 15% off))

09.26.2017

Tie Bell Sleeve Top || Shopping With A Cause To Empower Youth (That’s The Best Kind)

As most of you already know, my 9-5 job before I had Harper, and transitioned to blogging full time, involved working with “at risk” youth and their families as a Marriage and Family Therapists. It was often heart wrenching work, as I watched young teens struggle to find their place in the world…. whether it resulted from a lack of direction from their parents, mental illness, outside placement due to problematic behaviors… or a combination of all three…. I found that most wanted nothing more than to feel more empowered in their lives, they simply couldn’t figure out how that would look for them. Throughout this work, I came in contact with different agencies that looked to provide these individuals with that sense of purpose. So, whenever an opportunity presented itself to give back to those groups on a personal basis, I often did so….

Enter Treasure & Bond, a brand exclusive to Nordstrom. For every item purchased from the line, a donation is prompted to empower youth (you can read more about the program here… including their biggest donation of $719,107). Shopping with a cause? Um, count me in. It was only natural then that when I was looking for a neutral colored sweater a few weeks ago, that I started with the line. I stumbled across this slightly slouchy (just how I like them….) v-neck sweater. It’s lightweight (great for these So. Cal fall temps) and the tie sleeves are super cute. I opted to pair it with these super comfortable, everyday, trousers for a laid back and comfortable look.

A few other items that I am currently loving from the line (which are all under $100 and on trend) include this pleated sleeve hoodie sweatshirt (easily pairs with the pants I am wearing), ruffle sleeve tee, one shoulder ribbed sweater (the cream color is so gorgeous), sheer metallic sweater (perfect for a casual night out), easy basic tee, embellished crop jeans, and these white studded loafers. I also think these block heel over the knee boots are an excellent under $100 find!

It’s nice to know that there is a way to give back when you’re making a purchase for yourself, so if you’re all about charitable shopping, be sure to shop the line!
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(Outfit Details || Pants (wearing XXS) | Sweater (comes in 3 color options) | Mules (identical) and love these perforated mules | Beaded Necklace | Sunglasses | Bag)

Thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. 

09.25.2017

Weekend Recap || Hawaii

(Hawaii sunsets are my favorite…)

We arrived home yesterday, in late afternoon, and immediately attempted to settle into our routine…. from quickly unpacking, making a healthy dinner, and preparing for the week ahead… As we settled into the evening, we couldn’t help but reflect on the past few days, and how long ago they seem (I guess that’s what traveling with a toddler will do for you….). TJ worked the first couple days of the trip, so it was just Harper and me… and if you follow along on instagram, you’ll know that I shared some of my thoughts about life with a toddler at this stage, in particular, traveling with them…. at this age, the highs are so good and lows are so bad…. and this trip wasn’t any different. An enjoyable morning walk gone awry when little miss no longer wanted to run after birds, instead having me carry her back the remaining mile (I’m shocked my arms aren’t more toned after this trip!)…. or, when the ever miss independent didn’t want to wear her floaties in the pool, cue toddler tantrum. I remember at one point thinking, “Was this a mistake??” Yet, with all of life, I realized I needed to move with the flow and take the good with the bad… release on the relaxing and “perfect” trip I had envisioned. All that to say, I welcomed the day TJ was done with work (Friday) and we were able to spend time together as a family. 

We started our stay at the Marriott Ocean Club in Ko’Olina, and then moved to The Four Seasons Ko’Olina for the last two nights. I highly recommend both hotels…. both incredibly kid friendly, beautiful accommodations, and located on their own secluded beach coves… perfect for little ones to frolic in the ocean. If you’re staying for an extended amount of time, I love the Marriott because they have full kitchens and BBQ, which cuts down on the need to go out and eat for every meal (saves money, and you can eat a little healthier that way too). If you’re looking for a romantic getaway with your boo, I recommend The Four Seasons. Their adult’s only pool in incredibly serene and tranquil… and the sunset from their infinity pool is absolutely epic. 

And while we had our fair share of toddler moments, Hawaii is one of those spots that it’s hard to not enjoy yourself in… (I’ll take a challenging day with little miss in paradise over one at home) there is simply something in the air. It’s easy to make wonderful memories, tire out the toddler in the pool (I think Harper spent a collective 4-5 hours swimming and splashing around….), and you’re never at a loss for activities (from active to lounging…. you’re pretty much covered). I always find myself able to relax a little more in Hawaii, but haven’t quite yet figured out how to bottle up that feeling and bring it home with me. Yet, I guess that’s why vacation is so special… if you had that feeling all the time, vacations wouldn’t hold as much meaning. I hope you all have a great week friends! xx

(Casual for a long day of travel…. joggers, sweatshirt)

(When the first mai tai has you feeling pretty good…. top)

(Evening swims….)

(She was a fish the entire trip…..)

(Vacation life wardrobe…. suit)

(My little sidekick…. Harper’s Romper, similar maxi dress)

(Toes in the sand… mai tai in hand…. thermal)

(Life is short, just dig in….)

(We sipped a little bubbly, and enjoyed these gorgeous views, while little miss napped…. dress)

(We watched the sunset from this point the last two evenings… so beautiful! sweater)

(No shortage of indulging on this trip…..)

(Two peas in a pod….)

(The last night… it’s never easy… but we finally got our family photo! my dress)

(4:30am wake-up call… no make-up and favorite comfies… joggers, sweatshirt)
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So… that was an indulgent few days. I’ll be following these meals this week and heading to the store with this grocery list in hand! Time to get back on track.

I wasn’t on my computer much the past week, so when I sat down tonight, I decided to check some of my favorite stores for their new arrivals. So many great options! With it officially being fall (and a heat wave set to hit again… I missed the cold weather) I have my eye on all things cool weather (well, transitional at least). A few favorite I stumbled across include this pretty little lightweight blush bomber, asymmetrical flounce hem sweatshirt dress (super cute with sneakers), holey sweatshirt, tissue knit longline cardigan (in khaki), heartbreaker tee (so cute!), and this cute sweatshirt with celestial embroidery. This white knit, blush knit (love the lengths on both of them), and this short sleeve hoodie are great everyday options too.  I’m also obsessed with this gorgeous oversized chenille stripe pullover , oversized cozy pullover, and this blouson cardigan in blush. If temps ever get cold enough, I’m loving this long knit sweater jacket.

For a date night with TJ, I’m obsessed with this blush velvet shirtdress (which could also be worn open as a top layer for a casual day), sequin top, and this smocked swiss dot top in blush.

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)