Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tuesday Musings

Good morning! How was your long Memorial Day weekend?  It was such a nice, relaxing weekend, even if we didn't accomplish much. Aaron worked a little on a couple DIY projects around the house (one I am SO excited to share with you and hoping it will be finished this weekend). As a family we did a little errand running, lunching, house shopping, and etc. I have to admit that I was a little sad that yesterday didn't consist of a big BBQ with friends and family but it was also nice to not have to do that too. So equal parts sadness and content I guess.

Do you like the Forever 21 contemporary line? I am obsessed!

contemporary And this is just from the first page of the "new arrivals". I have like 50 things in my shopping cart with only about $100 to spend, so I'm going to have to make some decisions! And can we talk about those overalls?....I swear my mom had a pair of those back in 1988!

So I got a gym membership last week! Haven't seen the inside of a gym or worked out for that matter since I got pregnant with Elle. Actually a few months before I got pregnant with Elle. And honestly, fitness isn't my number 1 reason for getting a membership. It's sanity. I needed something for us to do this summer and the gym is close to our house and has a pool. And then there is fitness. I would love to get back into shape. I think as I get older my health should eventually become a priority!

Since I haven't been to the gym or have partaken in any sort of exercise my tennis shoes needed an upgrade so I went shopping for a new pair. As far as I'm concerned tennis shoes are just tennis shoes. They are never anything special to me but I've seen these on Pinterest and on several style bloggers I like so I really wanted them, but couldn't find them anywhere! So I had to settle on another pair. Which is totally fine but I can't lie that I wasn't a little sad that I couldn't find these anywhere... Come to find out they are just kind of what they call a "lifestyle" tennis shoe so the pair that I ended up getting are more for exercise and not just for casual wear. Although, I wouldn't say they are great for running but would be for classes other than pilates and yoga (which I think will be mainly what I do at the gym.). I would love to get back into running like I used to (25ish miles a week) but I just can't imagine that I will ever be there again but maybe you never know!

I've asked a few of my friends that are gym-goers what their favorite brand of workout clothes are and the common brand has been GapFit. I haven't tried any of it on but I do love the look of it. Apparently its the best, so I will definitely be investing (and at their prices, it is an investment) in a few pieces.

GapFitCollageI did my first class at the gym over the weekend. Pilates! Loved it! But I am SO sore today. I knew while taking the class that I was definitely going to be sore as I was using and stretching muscles I forgot existed! My chest, shoulders and obliques are the most sore! I also discovered how WEAK I am in the that class. I have NO upper body strength...especially on my right side.

I started a new Lianne Moriarty book last night, The Hypnotist's Love Story, and so far so good. I just really love her writing style.

LM_collageI have read these books and enjoyed them ALL! My favorite was probably Big Little Lies . I recently read that Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon have the movie rights to it too, which would be so great!

BIG LITTLE LIES is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, school-yard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

A description about the book on the authors website. Doesn't that sound like it would make such a great movie?! Let's just say I NEVER saw the end coming.

Saturday morning I had a makeup instruction (more on that later) but I left with the cure for dark circles. I have the WORST circles (thanks, Mom!) and have always had to wear concealer and reapply throughout the day as the circles get worse as the day goes on. I've been wearing Laura Gellar Real Deal Concealer [here] for a couple years now and have really loved it. Honestly, no complaints. Great, lasting coverage. But, Saturday at the instruction, the makeup artist used a combination of  Trish McEvoy Instant Eye Lift and Laura Mercier Secret Brightening powder.

I loved the coverage of the combination and the eye lift tingled as it was applied. I wear Laura Mercier foundation so I know its a great product and the concealer was the same price as the other concealer I use so I went ahead and got this combination and so far am loving it.

Weekends bring lots of family time and a huge mess! No matter how hard I try to keep the house picked up it ultimately gets destroyed. And since yesterday was a holiday I'm about 8 loads of laundry behind and my house looks like a tornado swept through it so I better take advantage of this preschool day (since we only have 1 left) to get some things done! Off to the laundry and the mess!


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Cucumber + Mint Ice Cubes

My friend had shown me some citrus ice cubes she came across on pinterest that she was going to make for her boys' birthday and I thought it was such a fun idea and was going to do the same for Harry's birthday party. As I was drinking a cucumber-mint flavored sparkling water one day I got the idea to make cucumber and mint ice cubes instead of citrus.

CucMint03Super easy. All you do is slice cucumbers (pretty thick) and add to a muffin tin and fill about 2/3 full of water and freeze.

CucMint04Same for the mint. Break mint leaves off their stem and add a couple leaves to each cup and fill 2/3 full with water and freeze.

CucMint02Pop out of the tins and you've got your cucumber and mint ice cubes. So fun!

CucMint01At Harry's party I put about 1/3 ice at the bottom of the drink dispenser and then added the cucumber and mint ice cubes and then fresh cucumber, mint and strawberries and then added the water. It was the very first thing I did when setting up the party because I wanted the water to be nice and infused. It was really tasty and refreshing!

I've been meaning to make some cucumber and mint infused water to have at my house but I always have sparkling water cans in my fridge so I never feel the need for flavored water :) but this would be really fun poolside or beachside this summer!


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Latest READS

This book really stuck with me and I have thought about it many times since finishing it last month. Such a heartfelt and touching story of friendship, love and compassion. I felt so proud when I finished this book and just prayed that if I was ever in a similar moral situation that I would show as much faith, courage and integrity as Lisbeth.

I need to read more books like this one, it had a great amount of anticipation but left me with such a good feeling towards the world and the people in it.

Another feel good, lighthearted read. Enjoyed it but by the end I was ready for it to be over, if that makes sense. It was good but just not enough twists and turns for me.

Loved it and am so excited about the new television series that starts next month on ABC. The show is the whole reason I read the book in the first place! I had started another book and stored it away for later so that I could read this before next month. This would be a fun book to pick up poolside or beach side!

I'm currently reading a book that will be a movie next year set to be produced by Reese Witherspoon and that she hailed as the "most non-stop nail-biting crazy train of a book with one of the most intriguing characters". The book is Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll and its good and it Ani is definitely an intriguing character but the book has a lot of very descriptive sexual encounters and quite a bit of raunchy language so I'm not sure I'm super on board with it or that I will be seeing the movie but I will finish the book....

Any books out there I need to put on my list for this summer?


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What I Wore {Tulip Top}

I am LOVING the tulip hem trend so much! Another F21 purchase that I was wary of but when it arrived at my doorstep I was pleasantly surprised by the fit and the quality. Have you checked out the Contemporary line at F21? It's really great!

TulipTop_06 I would and have worn this shirt without the cami underneath with a lace bralette since the back is open but the night that I wore this we went to the 5th grade musical of our twin nieces at their private christian school, so thought the open back might not be the most appropriate of choices. But even so, it is so cute with the cami!

TulipTop_05TulipTop_02top Life in Progress Tulip-Back Chambray Top [here] | denim Articles of Society high-waist black denim from Maude sold out [similar] | sandals Martel Buckle Heel [here] | necklace Vintage Style Pendant [here] | bracelet hammered cuff [here]

How fun are these shoes? I have been wearing them out! Very pretty, love the white, and very comfortable! They add a great contrast to any outfit!


Monday, May 18, 2015

Rice Bowls. Cheddar Brocolli Potatoes. Bang Bang Shrimp. Chicken Salad. {What We Ate}

Goodness. I have been SLACKING in the kitchen lately. We have been having some boring meals around here. Like sandwiches, mac and cheese, frozen leftovers, sandwiches...ha! I've been busy sewing and trying to knock out orders so those involved dinners my family is used to just have not been happening!


Rice: cook according to package directions and mix with 1/2 cup to 1 cup salsa depending on how much rice your cook.
Dressing: sour cream, sriacha, crushed garlic, and lime juice; all to taste.
Layer: rice, romaine, corn, black beans, roma tomato, avocado and top with dressing and fresh cilantro.

We have probably had these rice bowls 3 or 4 times since my last What We Ate post forever ago! They are so good and easy! This specific time I tried a different black rice and wasn't a huge fan so the other times we've had just plain white rice. You can use any toppings you and your family like!

CheddarBroccoliBakedPotatoesCheddar-Broccoli Baked Potatoes
sauce recipe I like [here]

Another super easy meal my family, especially my kids, LOVE! I feel like this is a good all-in-one meal since it has some veggies on it!

BangBangShrimpBang Bang Shrimp Pasta
recipe [here]

This is definitely the most involved meal I've made in the last month. And its not even that involved. You know you'll always see a shrimp dish in these posts and this was another one that my family really enjoyed along with a spinach salad and garlic knots. The bang bang sauce is made using mayo and chili paste and I think next time I'm going to try a little greek yogurt too to give it more of a tangy flavor.

SonomaChickenSaladSonoma Chicken Salad
recipe [here]

I just made this chicken salad last night and YUM. Harry ate it up! We are not on the Whole30 diet but this recipe just looked good to me when I saw it scrolling through my Pinterest feed. The recipe calls for 2 ripe avocados mashed into the salad to take place of the mayo-based dressing that the Whole Foods recipe [here] calls for but I love mayo and wanted mayo in my dressing so I did one ripe avocado mixed with about a half cup of mayo and it turned out good, of course. I mean it's mayo and avocado. Unless you just hate avocado or mayo than there's not a lot of room for failure there.

My etsy shop [here] made-to-order orders are drawing to an end. I have a few more to ship out today and then I've filled all but 2 orders so life will start going back to its natural routine! Which means more delicious, and healthyish meals for my family. And hopefully lots of grilled dinners starting soon.

Happy Monday!


Saturday, May 16, 2015

What I Wore {Everyday Style}

Y'all, the rain. We have had SO much of it lately. And guess what? Rain is in the forecast for literally every day next week. Starting Sunday through the next Sunday. I've been living in leggings, my Hunters and a rain parka for what feels like the last month. Here are a few of my looks on the days that it didn't rain...

Everyday05The last everyday style post I did [here], I featured this shirt and did an outfit post [here]. Seriously this shirt is one of my favorite items. It has become a closet staple this spring and I'm sure I will wear it on into the summer too with shorts. Its so light and airy and sweet with that crochet lace trim. And we can't pretend we don't see that cute little nudey booty. Ha! My sweet little sidekick. Love him something fierce.

Everyday04The brand of this shirt, Olive + Oak, has quickly become one of my favorite labels that Maude is carrying [here]. I love the unique, yet classic, styles this label makes. And I love the soft, neutral color palette.

Everyday03This top was one of those $15 Forever21 online purchases that when I got it, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality. Its a nice thick knit with a fun exposed zipper on the back. And it doesn't have to be ironed. Ha! I wear this shirt often. Just like this for an easy, pulled-together look. No effort at all. Add a fun colored shoe for a little pop of color. This top would also look so good with white jeans, but I have yet to find any that I just love!

Everyday02Girls night out outfit! I like to wear my cropped tops like this when I am sans kids and I know won't be bending over and lifting to expose my tummy. The wool hat was an on-a-whim purchase because I thought it looked hippy-ish for Harry's Peace, Love birthday party. I have already worn it so much. Its a great spring/summer hat for when I don't want fix my short hair!

Everyday01G R U N G E. My summer momiform right here. Everyday. Slub-knit tee. Boyfriend jeans. Birks. Done.

top to bottom:
striped lace tee from maude sold out | mossimo high waist denim [similar] | simply chic wool hat [here] | birkenstock arizona sandal [here]
olive + oak tee and black denim from maude [similar] [similar] | latigo barista sandal [here]
zippered tee [here] | DL amanda denim [here] | latigo barista sandal [here] | hammered cuff [here]
cropped tee [similar] | black denim [similar] | seychelles andromeda thick strap sandals [here] | simply chic wool hat [here] | vintage style pendant necklace [here]
slub knit tee [similar] | mavi emma painted boyfriend jean [here] | birkenstock arizona sandal [here]
rifle paper iPhone 6 plus case [here]

We are off to Elle's soccer games (hopefully! I wrote this post last night). We've had so much rain lately that we've been rained out more than we've played. We are all ready to play some games and then be done! Ha :) 

Happy Saturday! Have a wonderful, hopefully full of sunshine, weekend!


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Kitchen Dreams

Between lunch and dinner, I feel like I spend a good majority of my day in the kitchen. My kids aren't big breakfast eaters, I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not, but at least that alleviates being in the kitchen for one meal. We eat out for lunch a couple of times a week, but other than that I make lunch. And during the week, we eat dinner at home mostly. Since I spend so much time in the kitchen, I so long for a lovely, a big and lovely, kitchen with nice appliances, lots of counter space and room to move.

When I bought my house, almost 10 years ago(!), Aaron and I were only dating and I never cooked. Didn't even know how to cook. Ha! So the tiny, galley kitchen was the least of my worries and the most appealing thing about my house back then was the large living room and the price! Back when I bought my house I would have never thought that 10 years later I would love cooking and would dream about kitchens!

My kitchen dreams are made of light and airy cabinets, concrete or butcher counter tops, large island, subway tile back splash, double oven, a butlers pantry, and a large farmhouse sink.

Here are some kitchens that I absolutely adore, and would quite possibly give my right arm for!

Gorgeous, huh? If any of these kitchens were mine I would never leave. I can see my friends and family sitting at the bar, sipping some red, while I prepare dinner. One day my kitchen dreams will come true. Until then I will be patient and keep dreaming :)


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tie-Dye T-shirt Party Favors {a DIY}

TieDye07 One of the most fun (or is it funnest) DIYs I've done! So simple and it was something that Elle could help with. I dyed around 22 shirts as take home favors for Harry's party [here] a few weeks ago. It took me a lot less time than I anticipated, probably about 10 total hours, beginning to end.

I watched about a dozen You Tube videos on dyeing and everyone did it all so differently so I kind of ended up just doing my own thing and hoped they would turn out ok. I figured with only doing one color per shirt I had a pretty good shot at them being cute! We did test out one batch and once they turned out good, we did all the rest!

Assemble your supplies:
•tees or fabric
•RIT liquid dye
•3-gallon buckets
•salt (1 cup per bucket of dye)
•thick rubber bands
•rubber gloves (wear them anytime you are going to be in contact with the dye)

1. Wash your shirts, but do not dry them. You will want them damp. I did an extra spin cycle on mine just to make sure that all the excess water was out of them.

TieDye01 2. Gather your buckets and fill up each bucket with the hottest tap water about 3/4 full.

TieDye03 3. Dump the entire bottle of RIT in the hot water. (the bottle instructs differently, but like I said, I just kind of did my own thing). Also, I would fill a bucket with hot water and then dump the dye in the water right after it was filled. One at a time. This will give the dye time to really saturate the water.

TieDye02 4. Add 1 cup of salt to the bucket with the dye.

TieDye04 5. Take your shirt and starting in the center, twist very tightly and form into a small disk. This will make the spiral pattern.

6. Wrap the rubber bands around the twisted shirt disc and criss cross them in the middle. I used 4-6 rubber bands per shirt depending on the size of the shirt and/or thickness of rubber bands.

7. Drop the rubber-banded shirt into the dye and let soak for at least 4 hours.

TieDye05 8. With your rubber gloves on, rinse them with very cold, tap water until the water runs clear. This takes some time. Took me about 5-10 minutes per shirt depending on the size of the shirt.

9. Throw the shirt(s) in the wash and do a wash cycle without detergent and when done do an additional rinse cycle.

TieDye06 10. Hang to dry!

11. Dispay them at your party!

Super fun and so easy! Such a fun DIY and made for a unique party favor and an adorable decoration for a "hippe" birthday party!!



Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day Truth

The truth about Mother's Day for me this year:

Saturday night I enjoyed dinner and movie with my 3 best friends. We are all moms of young children and its so nice to have that support system in my life. I'm so thankful for each of them as we go through this thing called motherhood. Its such a breath of fresh air to have their encouragement, love, and humor! Our kids love (and fight) like brothers and sisters and think they are cousins. It's such a fun and easy dynamic. Being a mom is awesome, having 3 best friends to share in motherhood with is the icing on the cake.

I went to bed feeling on top of the world and woke up in a funk Sunday, Mother's Day, morning.

I thought maybe my mood was due to a restless night of sleep but quickly realized I was sad....

I felt guilty about being sad, but it was an emotion I just couldn't shake.

We've always wanted 4 children. Since Aaron and I started dating, 14 years ago, we always talked about our hopes and dreams for our family and we always thought that included 4 kiddos running around.

Exactly one week before my 30th birthday, our sweet Harry was born! And not even before he turned 1 we started trying for baby number 3. Here we are, 1 year and 5 months later and I'm still not pregnant. Tests have been run and ultrasounds have been performed and I'm a healthy 32-year old woman who is plain and simply struggling with infertility but has no answers as to why. My only option at this point is fertility drugs and we are praying over that. Whether or not that is something we want to pursue. If this was our first or even second child we would have been aboard that train yesterday, but since we have 2 healthy, beautiful children we have decided to wait and pray and see where our hearts are led.

I quit testing my ovulation and it has helped me not to think about it so often, but every time I see a baby, I think to myself that I will probably never hold another newborn baby that is mine, I will never nurse another baby, that all those firsts that I so thankfully have experienced with my two, I will never experience again. Its a hurtful reminder. And when I see a pregnant belly my body physically aches to be pregnant. And I'm not even one of those woman that love being pregnant, but now I long to be pregnant again. And if I do get the honor of carrying a 3rd baby, I will cherish every single moment. When I was pregnant with Harry, I never once thought to really enjoy every moment because I thought I would be pregnant again one day! I won't make that mistake again.

I pray every day, that if it is God's will for our family, that we would have another sweet baby, and if it is not His will that I would have a peace about it. At this time, I don't have that peace. I still get really sad from time to time and yesterday's Mother's Day was hard for me. So many babies (baby dedication at church) and so many pregnant bellies was a constant reminder all morning that I am not pregnant and may not every have another baby. After church and lunch, we came home and while Harry napped I just laid in bed, rested and let myself feel a little sorry for myself and after about 30 minutes I felt so much better.

I felt guilty so many times yesterday about feeling sad. Why would I be sad? I have 2 beautiful children: 1 girl; 1 boy. Its perfect, right? But it was just something I couldn't/can't help. Infertility is the death of a dream and something that I think about and deal with every single day. I never thought I would struggle with this, especially after having 2 pregnancies followed by 2 perfect, healthy babies. But it is. It's our new normal and prayerfully over time I will either be ok with not being able to have more children or I will have more babies! It's all in God's hands and for that I am so thankful.

Yesterday I read an Instagram caption by a "friend", who I never knew until yesterday, struggled with infertility after having 3 babies and she wrote that last year's Mother's Day she was wanting a baby so bad and this Mother's Day she is pregnant and that gives me HOPE! It also gave me a little validation that it is okay to feel sad from time to time.

Experiencing infertility firsthand has given me a whole new perspective on life and relationships that is for sure. All the stories I've heard, blog posts I've read, pictures I've seen on social media of friends struggling with this and I just want to go back and say "I'm sorry".... Now I know what it's like to not be able to have a child when one is so desperately wanted. It really does hurt. Whether you have children or not.

I have never taken my children for granted and I pray that I never will. They are the greatest gifts I have EVER been given and they are irreplaceable. They bring me so much joy and life is unimaginable without them. Thankful for them today and everyday, whether I'm struggling with infertility or not, they are my everything!

I don't share this for sympathy. I share this because I know there are so many of you out there who also struggle or have struggled with this. I get often asked if we are going to have more children and I never know how to respond....so I always just say "God willing". For some reason I just felt really led to share this, this morning. I was going to do a tie-dye DIY post but felt I really needed to share what was on my heart. I want to be prayed for and I want to be encouraged and I hope that this post encourages someone!

Hope you all had a fabulous Mother's Day and that you were spoiled by your husbands and children! Us mamas, we work hard, every single day. Motherhood is crazy. It's challenging and so exhausting, but the most rewarding thing in the world. Thankful that I have 2 precious babies that call me MOM!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble. 
But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Happy Monday!


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

My Birthday Adventure

Any of you that know me in real life know that I am not an outdoorsy person. But, I can't help but notice the change in myself and my kids when we spend time outdoors....even just a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood or playing at the park. It just makes us all happy and energetic. Aaron loves being outdoors so when I suggested a day hike for my birthday he was all for that!

After spending the day away from people, noise, devices; I knew that I made the best choice for how to spend my birthday. We had such a fun day just the four of us. We truly enjoyed each other, the kids didn't fight and we were all totally present because we didn't have anything distracting us.

DD03DD02DD01 It could not have been a more perfect day for an outdoor adventure either. The weather was amazing. It was in the 70s: sunny and breezy. We packed a picnic lunch and ate by a creek and after lunch the kids got to play in the creek for a while. My kids love water!

DD05DD06Elle, of course, made friends with three sisters that were also having play time at the creek and while one of them was helping her cross the creek, she slipped and fell on the slippery rocks. She thought it was hilarious! I was glad I took a change of clothes for the kids because by the end of the day they were dirty and stinky!

Our first hike of the day we did a small 1. 5 mile trail that took us by a lot of awesome rocks, streams, waterfalls and caves! There was so much beauty to behold on that trail and the kids did amazing! After lunch and playing in the creek we decided to do the longer 3ish mile hike. Not as much to see, but beautiful nonetheless and at the top there is an amazing look out. So glad we decided to do the longer hike. It was gorgeous! Harry started to get a little ansy in the carrier with about a half mile of the longer hike but other than that both kids did amazing all day! Elle hiked her little booty almost 5 miles without any complaining! Incredible for a 5-year old with really short legs :). She probably had the most fun of us all!

DD07DD08DD09Deciding to "unplug" for my birthday was the best decision I've made in a long time. I needed that time with my family. The biggest blessings in my 32 years are most definitely these three. I love my family so much and to spend a day with just them and to really be present all day was just what I needed! I see many more days like this in our future! It was that great that I might even give tent camping a try.....

We're good at having fun but not too great at the family selfie :)


Monday, May 4, 2015

Favorite Things BIRTHDAY Giveaway

Yesterday was my 32nd birthday! I had such a great weekend filled with friends and family. It was a wonderful way to celebrate getting another year older.

To celebrate here I thought it would be fun to give away some of my favorite things!

birthday_giveaway• $5 Starbucks gift card so you can get my favorite hot drink the Flat White with soy milk :)
• Forever21 bar earrings
• NYX soft matte lip cream in the prettiest pink color for summer!
• Royal Apothic Plains of Thistle hand cream from Maude
• beaded tassel bracelet from Maude

To ENTER just simply fill out this Rafflecopter entry form:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter on Friday!

Happy Monday and good luck!