Family Fashions.

Spring is only 21 days away!!!! It’s so close I can smell it! There are so many things I love about spring…the fresh air, warm sunshine, and open toe shoes! I look forward to days playing out in the sunshine and evenings with the windows open, celebrating Katie and Kristina’s new babies, celebrating my wedding anniversary, Easter spent with family and weekend visits with friends that live far away! The list goes on and on.

With all of these special occasions coming up, my girls and I need some new clothes. I love coordinating my daughters’ outfits, but this spring, I want in on the fun too.  Take a look at some of the outfits you might see me and my little ladies sporting!

I love the classic look of nautical stripes and these Old Navy outfits are great for just about anything!

oldnavynautical

I’m obsessed with Jesse James Decker’s new line of swimwear which comes out next month!  She partnered with Amore & Sorvete to create adorable suits for mommy and baby! These suits are a must for me and my girls!

Jesse James Decker partnered with Amore & Sorvete

Jesse James Decker partnered with Amore & Sorvete

Easter might call for pretty pastels!  I love these sweet Carter’s dresses for my girls and this pretty coral skater dress from Target.

easterpastels

Check back in a few weeks to see a few of my favorite family outfits!!

Babymoon Tips

The idea of planning a trip during the last trimester of my pregnancy sounded crazy at first, but it ended up being a great excuse to escape the cold and spend a few days relaxing.  Here are a few tips and tricks that I found to be helpful during our travels.  Please keep in mind that every woman has different experiences throughout their pregnancy so it’s important to consult your doctor before planning any trips away from home.  Ft. Lauderdale palms

1. Pick a destination that is within a 2-4 hour flight or car ride.  Originally I had high hopes of traveling to Hawaii, but I’m so glad we decided to stay “closer” to home.  Just the thought of sitting on a plane for 8-10 hours makes my back hurt!

2. If you’re flying, pick an isle seat.  This almost goes without saying, but the fellow travelers in your row will thank you when they don’t need to be disturbed every 30 minutes when you have to get up and go to the bathroom.

3.  Pack nutritious snacks for your trip.  My personal favorites were individual packs of trail mix (thank you, Costco) and bananas.

4. Dress in layers to avoid becoming overheated on the plane.  A cranky pregnant lady is one thing, but a hot pregnant lady is a whole new level of crazy!

5.  This is a BIG one… remember to drink tons, and tons of water before, during, and after the trip.  Security regulations prohibit you from taking water through security so I packed an empty Nalgene that I refilled it as we were waiting to board the plane.  My doctor cautioned me over and over again that dehydration can cause early labor….so drink up ladies! 🙂

6.. Speaking of doctors, you may want to talk to your doctor about writing a permission to fly note.  I was 34 weeks pregnant when we traveled to Ft. Lauderdale so I felt as though it was important that I had the appropriate documentation for my trip.  Although uncommon, airlines are able to deny your trip if they don’t feel it’s safe for you or your baby to travel.  I also spoke to my doctor about providing a copy of my medical records in the event that I would go into labor during my trip.  Which leads me to  the next item on the list….

7. Research local hospitals in case you experience a complication (or God forbid go into labor) during your trip.

8.  Once you’ve decided on a location, look for vacation rentals or hotels that are on the first floor or have access to an elevator.  This might be specific to my pregnancy, but I experienced a lot of back pain and walking up steps several times a day would have been too much for me.

9. Be selfish— Plan your time with activities that YOU and your significant other want to do.  I had every intention of finishing up some work related items and writing the thank you notes for my baby shower, but once the vacation started I forced myself to focus on relaxing and enjoying the company of my husband.  After all, this was our last vacation as a couple.

10. Take time to enjoy the peace and quiet. My favorite part of the trip was sitting at the pool, just soaking in the sunshine and listening to the palm tree sway in the wind.  It may sound silly, but I know that I will look back and remember those moments of ultimate tranquility.

Next week I plan to share a full recap of our babymoon to Ft. Lauderdale.  It was definitely a trip to remember!  🙂

How To: DIY Hemp Lamp

I have made several references to the big project of the foyer renovation that Micheal and I have worked on.  I am the worst because I have yet to post my final reveal.  The project was big, and tough, and there was a lot to learn.  I want to be sure to help future step painter’s to see possible pit falls in their big project- AHEAD of time!  As I am working to write that post, I remembered one simple project that made a huge impact in our foyer.  Our DIY Hanging Hemp Lamp.

On my tour of Katie’s new home I saw some of her own DIY hall lights.  Although in the end I decided on a different DIY lamp style – it was the inspiration that I needed!  With so many choices on the market, and none of which I loved enough to pay full price … a DIY was the solution to my problem.

After a short time hunting I found this tutorial on Pinterest.   Here is how it came out:

 

IMG_3320

IMG_3322

IMG_3321

 

The author states that you will need:  A deflatable ball, two bottles of tacky glue, a spool of hemp, and a hanging light cord.  All of which will total about $30.00 !

You will also need: Electric tape, Electrical Wire Covers, A tire Pin (if you wish to reuse the ball), a cheap plastic table cloth or wax paper to cover your work space, and an attractive light bulb.   Something to rest it on when it is drying.

Shopping was not simple.  It took a bit more of my own creativity and problem solving than I anticipated.

Here’s what:

THE BALL: FYI – those big bins of balls that are ALWAYS at then end of an aisle … are not as easy to find in the winter months!  After several failed attempts at several Targets and other stores we did find them at a local Walmart (for less than $3.00).  Once we found the ball bin we chose a diameter of about 14″.  We then went to the craft aisle where the hemp and glue were nearly side by side.

THE HEMP: Hemp comes in several thicknesses, your choice is a matter of preference.   I chose what looked like the middle of the road on the thought that too thin and the project would require too much hemp, too thick it might require too much glue.

IMG_2912

Disclaimer: Skip the wine, your hands will be too sticky !

Obviously Ella my pup jumped on the ball and deflated it just minutes after we got home.  So off we went to grab ball #2.

The Bulb: Well, I learned you don’t just walk into Lowe’s and find those really cool clear light bulbs that you can see the filament thread, and that filament thread just happens to look old-school and awesome.  In the end I found something clear and round.  We decided LED was the best choice.  the bulb is not dreamy – but who’s going to look when the lights are glaring anyway?

bulb

We ended up with something similar to this. Although it is clear – not opaque.

 

Hanging Wire: We also needed the perfect hanging wire, ceiling plate, and a light bulb worth featuring.   We found these things at Lowes.   The wires that they had to choose from were not as attractive as what the blogger I chose to follow had found for her project.  We ended up finding a Portfolio “Polished Nickel” Recessed Light conversion  kit.

 

conversion kit

This was perfect for our project. The kit is designed for the consumer to buy the pendant separately. Buying the kit only = $20.00 !

Now it is time to get to work.  Here is how we did it:

  • Prepare your work space:  You will need something to cover your work space.  Michael suggests something that will repel the glue as opposed to absorb it. You also need:
    • The ball
    • The glue (You will use both bottles)
    • The hemp,
    • A large bowl
    • Approximately 2 cups of warm water
    • A sharpie
    • An object that is about 5″ around
    • A creative idea to set the ball down on.  The white thing you see in the picture is a cone piece from the hardware store.  I have no idea what it is or why it was in our home – but it was the perfect fit.  I would suggest maybe a bowl or a roll of duct tape wrapped in plastic wrap.
  • Draw a 5″ circle around the bottom. This is the hole you will leave to insert the bulb.  I used the strange white cone to measure our opening.
  • Mix the water and the glue in the bowl.  It will be too thick and will not stretch far enough other wise.  It was almost equal parts water to glue.
  • Dredge the hemp in the water.  I wish I would have unraveled the hemp spool and sat it nicely in the the glue mixture.  Instead we tried some whacky form of unraveling, dredging, and spinning the ball all at one time.  This became messy, FAST.
  • Spin the hemp around the ball.  I have NO idea how you would do this with one person.  Michael held the ball and spun it, and I maneuvered the hemp.  There is not method to this madness.  Just try to cover large holes.  Be sure to leave your opening- OPEN!

That’s it!  Now leave it out of sight of THREE DAYS.

I would suggest covering your drying base with plastic wrap and maybe even spritzing it with nonstick cooking spray.  When we eventually pulled the ball from the base the glue had dried entirely to the base.  We slightly hurt the circle shape of the opening in doing so.

Deflate the ball.  You will need to flake dried glue out of the openings.

I am lucky.  Michael knows how to wire things.  He cut the end of the recessed fixture at the end of the light wire.   Measured the length. Wired the wires.  That is it!

IMG_3319

IMG_3323

IMG_3318

IMG_3317

IMG_3316

 

I LOVE it! What do you think?

Just put a sticker on it!

If there’s one thing I am good at, it’s being unorganized.  If something is inconvenient to put away, it doesn’t go to it’s correct spot.  I’m also really great at shoveling things down to the basement, where I can forget about them for years.

This spring marks the two year mark since we have moved into our house.  I thought I did a good job at purging my unwanted stuff last time we moved, but here I am!  I’m 29 years old with a baby due in June and I am overwhelmed with junk.  Not my future child’s stuff, my own.  Without the energy and the muscle I had before I was pregnant, I am gearing up for a yard sale this spring, now.

What is overwhelming about junk?  For me, it’s mostly the simple fact that it’s in my way and keeps me from being happy.  Sometimes we let things in our lives get so out of control that we don’t want to deal with them.  Junk represents that to me.  So, I’m tackling it one step at a time!

I’m going to do a spring purging and cleaning “special edition” in four simple steps, and I will post details and tips for each step as they occur this spring.

1. Mark the things I do not want anymore with price stickers (no price necessary, now).

Start Date: March 1

End Date: March 15

2. Have my husband put them in a “sell” pile in the basement.  He can carry a few things up and down the stairs!  It will be good for him.

Start Date: March 15

End Date: March 15

3. Sell what I can and take the rest to Goodwill, immediately!

Start Date and End Date:  2 days in April

4. Clean my house from top to bottom including baseboards, in all cupboards, crawl spaces, and closets.

Start Date: March 22

End Date: May 12

Let’s start thinking about where we can get started.  Wondering where the unwanted things live?  You probably already know.  That cluttered cabinet, or embarrassing closet has an old George Foreman Grill or an unopened wedding gift tucked away behind stuff you use every day!  Stop ignoring it and get rid of it.  You will never miss it!

Here are some of my clutter spots.

I have about 10 vases mixed in with cleaning supplies in my hall coat closet.  I probably only use about 3 of them.  I can easily say goodbye to most of them!

I have about 10 vases mixed in with cleaning supplies in my hall coat closet. I probably only use about 3 of them, and only a few times a year.  They shouldn’t even be in that closet, and I can easily say goodbye to most of them!

Clutter Cupboard!   This cupboard started with entertaining dishes and has become overrun with blenders and food processors, and juicers.

Clutter Cupboard! This cupboard started with entertaining dishes and has become overrun with blenders, food processors, and juicers.

This cupboard should be used for baking dishes and mixing bowls, but it has recently started storing some groceries, dehydrators and other appliances.

This cupboard should be used for baking dishes, mixing bowls,  and baking supplies, but it has recently started storing some groceries, dehydrators and other appliances we rarely use.

Baby Boys things don't have a home, yet with the nursery under way, so his stuff is piled in corners throughout the house.

Baby Boys things don’t have a home, yet with the nursery under way, so his stuff is piled in corners throughout the house.

I’m excited to start marking things next weekend to sell!  Wish me luck!

Acrtic Blast induced cabin fever…

The arctic blast that has been hovering over most of the east coast has created cabin fever in our home. To say we are looking forward to warm weather would be an understatement, heck at this point I would take any temperature over 35 degrees! When the weather outside is frightful, parents everywhere scramble for activities to save the household’s sanity!

Here are a few my favorite “Arctic Blast” activities:

1) Do a craft: this does not have to be anything fancy! Yesterday we finger painted, last week we made a Valentine’s Day banner and cards for my husband. My daughters usually can be occupied for about an hour with a craft, which gives me time to get housework or other things done while they craft quietly.

arcticblastpic
2) PLAYDOH! Playdoh has become an amazing time occupier in our home. Syd loves to play and create with her Playdoh. This also gives me some one-on-one time with Elli as she is still a bit too young to use Playdoh.
3) Have “movie time.” Get out sleeping bags, pillows, and a snack and curl up for snuggly movie time!
4) Play Hide-&-Seek: This is a great before bedtime game. Both my girls are amazed by this game. I hide in closets or behind things and they love trying to find me.
5) Create an imaginary store: Sydney loves to set-up her own coffee shop. She gathers her tea party cups and my coffee k-cups and takes everyone’s order.
6) Find a fun activity outside the home. Our community offers tons of fun things for kids. Last weekend we went to a concert held at the SteelStacks in Bethlehem. The girls got to interact and dance with other kids and got some pent up energy out!

Party People!

Party People!

7) Go shopping somewhere, anywhere! Just get out of the house for an hour or two. Target is usually where we end up if we need to get out.
8) Have “spa time.” My girls love to take warm bubble baths especially on super cold days.

Best of luck and COME ON, SPRING!!!

Hello NYFW!

So as NYFW is wrapping up I thought I would make a montage of sorts to show you some of favs from the show.  Between IG, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  I have been tracking the shows for the past few days.  To be sitting front row next to screaming baby North West and Anna Wintour would be such a dream come true…sigh…  I have also been tracking some of my most favorite bloggers as they made there trek through the negative temps in there 6 inch Valentino’s…double sigh… One of my goals in life is to make it up there it’s extremely hard to score tickets to the shows and not to mention very pricey.  But someday I will make it there!  So here’s my rundown of my absolute favorites! Enjoy!

1

The accessories are killing me.  The fur scarves, vests and wraps were everywhere.  It also doesn’t look like plaid is going anywhere anytime soon.  Kate Spade also did some amazing things with solid colors as well the fuchsia they used was beautiful.  I love seeing how I can incorporate some of these high fashion runway looks into my daily wardrobe and still stay on trend.  Someone please tell me that jewel tones are here to stay!

Pink Baby Shower…Part 2

In continuing the theme of my baby shower and last week’s post on how we prepared, today I’m going to walk you step-by-step around the room to see how it all came together.

When the shower guests entered the large room, we had two tables set-up as the guest book area.  I stumbled across two old crib mattress springs a few weeks before the shower, and we used clothes pins to display some of our old baby clothing and pictures from when we were little.  Also displayed were the gender reveal pictures Ken and I had taken in late November.

Crib springs

Ken's baby clothing

Ken’s baby clothing

At the end of the table were paper onesies in a variety of colors: pink, light pink, and teal.  We asked each guest to leave a short note on one of the paper onesies and use a push-pin to hang them in the two shadow boxes that were open on the table.  (Fun fact- these shadow boxes were hung in Ken’s room all throughout his childhood.  He used them to display the awards he received from sports and music achievements.  I sprayed them with a coat of white spray paint to give them a fresh, new feel.)  After the shower, we hung them in the nursery above the changing table.  I have a feeling I’ll need the encouraging words when I’m tending to late night diaper changes.

Guestbook

Baby clothing at the guestbook station.

The center of the room was filled with round tables where people could enjoy their lunch.  Each place setting had two games, a nursery rhyme game and a baby poll.  As people found a seat, they were able to fill out the games and chat with the other people at their table.

Baby shower games

Baby shower games

The center of each table held one of the diaper cakes that we made in the weeks prior to the shower.  We added the tissue paper flower and some votive candles to make the table feel more complete.

Diaper cake

Diaper cake centerpieces

One corner of the room held a long table for gifts and on the opposite side of the room was a paint-your-own onesie station.  We purchased onesies in a variety of sizes and pre-washed them so they were ready to wear after the baby shower.  A clothesline in the back corner of the room was an inviting way to welcome guests to this station.

DSCF6857

The table was set with a variety of stencils, fabric paint and markers.  Guests had total freedom to write or decorate the onesie they selected.  We had some pretty interesting designs included one from my brother. 🙂  (suggestion- I wish we would have asked guests to write their name or initials on sleeve of the onesie they created.  It would be nice to know which guested created each onesie.)

Onesie station

Paint your own onesie station

The back of the room held all of the food.  The menu consisted of a bruschetta, a vegetable tray with spinach dip, crab dip, a greens salad, penne with pink vodka sauce, and homemade meatball.  Yum!

Food

Food2

The hot chocolate bar and dessert station was located off to the side.  I’ve craved chocolate covered donuts my ENTIRE pregnancy so having a donut cake seemed like the best option.  Mini brownies, chocolate mint squares, and raspberry oatmeal bars were also available to guest.

Dessert

It was such a fun day!  A special thanks to everyone who made the day so memorable!

Recharge your internal Battery: How to keep your energy levels up through out the day.

As you all know I am TRYING!  Trying so hard to be a better person when it comes to caring for my body and more so for my future.  It is a trial and an internal battle day in and day out.   I am thankful that diet and nutrition has more of an immediate affect than your activity.  I love cooking, and eating, and fresh ingredients!  Getting in the kitchen and figuring out how to do ‘it’ all in a way that considers nutrition has become very fun for me.

The problem I have is finding energy to work out.  I was doing well with the New Year work-outs.  I am squatting with weights on the bar! I am dead-lifting more and more each week.  BUT THENlike the rest of the world and their failed resolutions– I took two weeks off!  UGH, its like walking backwards.  But… I was SO tired.  I could not figure out why.  I was EXHAUSTED after work each day.  With daily chores, a hyper dog, and dinner to prepare and then clean – the idea of working out was actually infuriating me.

After assessing what had changed in those two weeks, I realized I was having a mid day crash.  No, more like a mid-day NOSE DIVE.  My sugar and caffeine intake was out of whack.  Here is why … my beloved Nutribullet.  I had been enjoying it so much, that I decided I would replace my normal morning breakfast with a delicious fruit and veggie smoothie!  It was yummy, fun, and gave me huge amounts of energy to start my day.    The only problem was that a couple of hours after-I was DEAD.  So to combat my exhaustion I would add more and more coffee.  Soon I became sleepy, but agitated.   To top it off- I could not even sleep at night because of the caffeine charging through my body.   It was a cycle and it was taking over my life!

So my focus  is to consider all of this, make a change, and get back to getting stronger.

This week I am trying to ween off of 3-5 cups of coffee a day.  Here is my new routine:

  • 8:00 am:  I  start the day with one Cup-o-Joe (I cannot and will not give it up entirely, it is a ritual that I look forward to).
  • 8:30 am: a PROTEIN PACKED breakfast (any variation of an egg, meat, and greens casserole).
  • 12:00 pm: a light and healthy lunch.
  • 2:00 pm: I will have one green tea to help me focus at the dip hours.
  • 4:00 pm: When I get home I will have my happy healthy juicy smoothy.  This way I have that jolt of energy to awaken my interest in a work out, and a full belly to hold me out for a later dinner.

So far – SO GOOD!  I feel like a different person.  I am relaxed and happier each day, and each evening.  I am back to the basement with Michael.  I feel happy to be back at it (which I will not admit to him).  I am hoping to get a few yoga classes in again in the next couple of weeks.

If you struggle with energy through out the day- consider your diet,  especially your caffeine and sugar intake.  When you do go for a pick-me-up consider natural sugars or a lessor amount of caffeine.  Be conscious of when you are storing up on sugars.

I am loving my nutri-bullet even more now that it is not only allowing me a few added servings of fruits and veggies each day, but also helping me get through the day with ease and ENERGY.

I am gradually working toward a 1:1 veggie to fruits ratio.  I add as many super foods as possible (seeds, avocados, etc).  Here are just a few of my most recent concoctions:

IMG_3081

Banana, Spinach, Chia Seeds, Papaya, and Mango!

 

IMG_3083

Blackberry, Raspberry, Blueberry, Strawberry, Kale, Walnuts, Chia Seeds, Flax Seed powder, and Almond/Coconut Milk!

 

IMG_3143

One of my FAVS: Two Oranges, Two Carrots, Water, Ice !

 

IMG_3201

Cucumbers, Celery, Green Apple, Ginger, Agave, and Lemon Juice!

 

IMG_3203

New and Improved Shamrock Shake! Kale, Avocado, Mango, Pineapple, Banana, Chia Seeds, Flax Seed Powder, and Walnuts.

 

IMG_3250

Carrots, Cranberries, Blood Orange, Papaya, Sunflower Seed Powder, Chia Seeds!

 

IMG_3254

Best One Yet! Celery, Cucumber, Kiwi, Papaya, Spinach, Flax Seed Powder, Sunflower Seed Powder, Agave, and Lemon Juice!

Do you have a smoothie or juice recipe that I must try?  Let me know,  I am having a blast with these!

SNL40 brings together generations of comedy

Saturday Night Live (SNL) made it’s debut in 1975, giving my mom, who was 17 at the time, a reason to stay in with her friends and family on a Saturday night.  It was THE THING to do, then.  I grew up watching SNL with her.  It was a show we didn’t turn off when my grandparents entered the room, sleepy-eyed yet sleepless. I stopped watching for a little while when I didn’t think the cast was very good (and I was more interested in partying), and started watching again after college.

Last night marked 40 years of SNL and the entire three hours of the anniversary show proved it’s tenure of haliarity and humility through nostalgic skits, some live and some taped, earmarked as everyone’s favorites.

Photo Credit: thewrap.com

Photo Credit: thewrap.com

Here were my favorite parts of the SNL40 show:

1. Steve Martin – Anything he is in, I crack up.  I think it’s because I secretly want to be his friend.

2. Weekend Update – The weekend update hasn’t always been hilarious, but I would say there was always at least a nugget of laughter in it throughout the years.  Melissa McCarthy’s rendition of Chris Farley’s character made me laugh and cry.

3. Audition Reel – I loved watching the cast members who made it and even those who didn’t make it audition.  Some of them were so nervous, and they ended up being HUGE actors, like Adam Sandler.

4. The Californian’s skit – Meagan used to live in Cali, so I always thought this skit was spot on with the “You take the 405….”.  The exaggerated accents made it even better.  This skit brings together my favorite retired characters which are Bill Hader, Kristin Wiig, Fred Armison, and my favorite guest Betty White.

5. Paul Simon and Paul McCartney blew us away with their performances.  Much better than Kanye on the floor, of course.  WTF.

6. Bill Murray introducing the memoriam montage was sad.  Just when we thought we were in serious mode, they threw us a curve ball with a clip of Jon Lovitz, still alive and well in the audience.  Way to make us laugh and cry in the same second!

What were some of your favorite moments of the show?