Baby Girl Nursery

Baby Girl Nursery
Baby Girl Nursery

Summer Bucket List

Summer Bucket List
Summer Bucket List

Drugstore Beauty

Drugstore Beauty
Drugstore Beauty

Thankful


Happy Thanksgiving, friends!  There is so much to be thankful for everyday but today I'm especially thankful for...

My faith
I honestly don't know where I would be without it. 

Nick
My husband, best friend, partner in crime.  

Brady
We've had him for less than one month but he has brought an insane amount of joy to our life.

Health
We are all healthy and happy and I do not take that for granted for one minute.

Our Home
A roof over our heads, food on the table and a warm bed to crawl into at night.

Friends & Family
They make our world go round.

Blogging
The friendships I've made through the blogosphere have been one of the best parts of 2014, by far.

Hope you have the absolute best day today.  I'll be taking the rest of the week off so I'll see you back here on Monday!

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 5:18
9

Holiday Bucket List


It's our first holiday season in our new city, in our new house and with Brady - so it's going to be a big one!  This year is going to look totally different than it has in the past but I'm excited about making new traditions with my little fam.

I had fun putting together my fall bucket list - even though I totally sucked it up and accomplished a whole five things on it - so I put together a (shorter) holiday version.  I'm going to blame my fall failure on getting the dog, he was the best 'to do' :)  

Here's what I'm planning for the next 6 weeks...

Black Friday
You guys, I'm a sucker for Black Friday.  I love it.  I love getting up in the middle of the night, the madness and the deals.  However, I refuse to go out on Thanksgiving and think it's so terrible that employees are being forced to work on a holiday like this one.  I mean, it's called Black FRIDAY, not Thursday.  End rant.

Candy Cane Lane
The downtown of our city gets all decked out for the holidays, including a 'Candy Cane Lane'.  I will definitely need to go check it out and take a picture (obviously).  Nick and I can grab dinner down there after and it will be a fun little date night!


All of the Lights
Drive around neighborhoods in our warm car with comfy clothes on, Christmas music playing and Starbucks in hand while ooh-ing and ahh-ing over Christmas lights.

Sugar Cookies
I love me some cookies but I've never been a big fan of the decorated sugar cookie ones.  I do still want to make some though so I think we'll bag them up and pass them out to neighbors, co-workers or friends :)


Sleep by the Fire
We STILL haven't had a fire in our fireplace yet!  There are a couple masonry issues that need to be fixed but as soon as that happens, I'm moving the air mattress in there and we're going to watch Christmas movies all night and fall asleep listening to the fire crackling.

Christmas Eve Church
This is probably my most favorite Christmas tradition.  Growing up, we always went to our churches Christmas Eve candlelight service after a big dinner at home.  Last year was the first year I spent away with Nicks family and I really, really missed this.  The two of us went to a church near his house but it just wasn't the same.  So excited for it this year!


And of course we'll be decorating the house inside and out, doing lots of shopping and watching all of the Christmas movies.  It's the most wonderful time of the year!

What are your favorite holiday traditions?

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Stocking Stuffers {Under $30}

Happy Tuesday!


This guy gave us quite the scare yesterday.  He ate something he shouldn't have in the yard (Lord knows what) and started choking and throwing up.  I was freaking out and called Nick who rushed home and the vets office who managed to get us in before our scheduled appointment.  Thankfully, he's okay - whatever it was gave him a pretty upset stomach but no major damage done.  The poor guy is still pretty sluggish and refusing to drink water today but hopefully he'll be on the mend soon.  I think I've almost recovered, too - so terrifying!

Today I'm excited to share some of my favorite stocking stuffer ideas.  Oh, and I think I've found the most perfect, classic womens watch that could ever exist.  But first, stockings!  They've always been my favorite part of Christmas morning for some reason - I think maybe because I always had to come up with a Christmas list so I knew for the most part what I was getting.  Stockings on the other hand, you never know what could show up in those!

Here's some of my favorite ideas all under $30...


Moscow Mule mugs - best price I've found, at Target of course!

Topshop + Nordstrom = awesome beanies.  I'm loving anything blush right now - it's such an unexpected color for fall/winter.

Lush bath bombs are literally, the bomb.

These Dior knock off earrings from Bauble Bar are so great. I own a pair myself and wear them all the time!

Because you can never go wrong with Essie nail polish.

A smaller size, cheaper Diptyque candle?  Yes please.  These are amaaazing.

And now for the best.watch.ever.  The Classic Sheffield Lady by Daniel Wellington.  Classic is theeee best word to describe it - this is a watch you'll have forever and can wear with anything and everything.  I'm in love with mine and wanted to share with you guys a special offer - that's how excited I am about this watch.  Use the code holiday_sliceoflifechicago for 15% off right now through December 31st!  They also offer free worldwide shipping which is pretty much a must for me when shopping online.  Go check out their website and let me know which watch is your favorite!


Linking up with Elise, Zelle, April & Katie for These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things
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Weekending: Chicago + A Giveaway!


This weekend was a big one - we headed back to Chicago for the first time since moving and it was also our first time leaving Brady.  I'm happy to report that we survived both adventures, barely ;)

Friday night was pretty low key.  We picked up pizza, watched TV and played with our favorite guy.  Pretty sure we were in bed by 10:30pm but seriously, I think this is the BEST way to kick off the weekend.  Oh, how things have changed.


Saturday morning, we made the hour trek to my families house to drop off Brady.  My family has a 12 year old miniature Yorkshire Terrier, Winston, who weighs a whooping 3 pounds so I was curious about how he was going to do with a playful, hyper puppy.  Within 30 seconds of arriving, Brady had ate Winston's food, pulled his blanket out of his crate and crawled in himself.  He's a crazy man and Winston wasn't too impressed.

After saying our goodbyes, we headed to Chi-town.  It was sooo great to be back!  Nick had a work dinner so that was the reason for the trip and they put us up in a hotel right on State Street.  Our first stop was for a late lunch at Chick fil A, obviously.



We spent a couple of hours shopping before we headed back to the hotel for wine hour.  Ignore my hot mess hair, I had thought I packed my curling iron - thought being the key word - but I have to share this jacket with you.  It's surprisingly an Old Navy find and I l-o-v-e it!  I got a ton of compliments on it this weekend so go ahead and add it to your Christmas list :)


Anyways, soon after happy hour, we parted ways.  Nick to his dinner and I went out with some of my girlfriends. We all met up later that night and had way too much fun.  It was a late one - I think we finally made it back to our hotel about 3:30am - but it was so great to see all of our friends!



Our 8am wake up call the next morning came REAL quick but we had to get back to our boy!  He had such a great time with my family and I will admit it was nice to have a little break from the hourly potty training trips outside ;) And luckily, turns out that Winston eventually warmed up and they're now best buds!  I think he looks like he had a little bit of fun.  I missed that happy face!


I ended the weekend on the couch, listening to the rain (and a snoring dog), eating a grilled cheese with tomato soup and watching Home Alone for the first time this season.  The holidays are here!  We've got a short but busy week ahead - Brady has a vet appointment today, I have a hair appointment on Tuesday (FINALLY) and we'll be packing and heading off to Detroit for a few days.

I think the best way to kick off this Thanksgiving week is with a giveaway... to World Market!  You guys know I'm currently obsessed with that store thanks to the new house so myself and 12 other lovely ladies have paired up to treat someone to a $155 World Market Gift Card!  Merry Christmas (early) from all of us to you!


 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway will be live from 12:00am EST on November 24th through 12:00am on December 1st. Open to US residents only. All entries are verified. Winner will be contacted via email and has 48 hours to respond and claim prize or a new winner will be randomly chosen by the Rafflecopter.
Linking up with LeeannBellaCarlyBiana and Ashley
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Five on Friday 11/21

Hellloooo Friday.  I have been waiting all week for you!  Tomorrow we're headed to Chicago for the night and I am so, so, so excited.  I haven't been back since we moved and I cannot wait to see my friends and shop and eat and do all things Chicago.  BUT, this is the first time I have to leave Brady and that kind of makes me ridiculously sad.  My family is coming over for the night to watch him so I know he'll be in good hands but I'll still miss that fur ball.

Here's what we've been up to this week...

CA-RAZY Weather
The weather was insane this week.  It snowed from Monday night-Thursday and we got a grand total of 19 inches. It's the second snowiest November on record in West Michigan... and it all came within a few days!


Christmas Spirit
Speaking of all of the snow, it totally put me in the Christmas mood.  On Thursday, I finally caved and turned on the Christmas music and popped into a few stores to pick up some decor.  I can't wait to decorate the new house!


New Planner
I finally decided on a 2015 planner - because I know you were all so curious about what I was going to do ;)  Last year I had the Erin Condren planner (see my review here) and this year I was contemplating between a few different options... but it came down to not wanting to shell out the big bucks.  I ended up going with a Sugar Paper for Target planner and I love it!  It's super cute, the perfect size to throw in my bag and it was a whooping $9.99.


Bedding
Well, the white bedding came... and it went.  I've always thought I wanted crisp, bright white bedding but I really didn't like it once I got it!  I think I'm more of a cream or a muted pattern type of girl. Either way, the hunt continues. We are painting our bedroom in the next few days and hopefully that will help me make a decision - pictures to come!

Operation Christmas Child
Saving the best for last.  Operation Christmas Child is something I think Nick and I are going to do on Sunday. Basically you just pack a shoe box filled with things for a boy/girl in a certain age range and then you drop it off at a drop off location near you (found on the website).  Super easy and something that will make a huge impact on a child at Christmas. November 17-24 is collection week so we only have a few more days if you want to participate!

Also, I put together a list of other ways to give back last year so check that out here if you're interested :)


And lastly, today I'm guest posting over at Natalie's blog - sharing a little of 'what's in my bag' - so head on over there and say hi!  Have a great weekend!
Linking up with KarliLaurenJennieRebecca and April
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Socks, Mexico & Ice Cream

How's that for a random title?

First of all, THANK YOU to everyone that joined in on the Thanksgiving link up fun yesterday!  I loved reading all of your posts and was all but drooling over your amazing recipes and tablescapes.  Not to mention all of the great hosting tips!  One day I'll get my chance to put them to work.  I hope you'll link up with us again for our Christmas edition coming Tuesday, December 16th (also known as my half birthday).  It'll be here before we know it!

Now back to the randomness.  My favorite Chicago girl, Nina at Flowers In My Hair, nominated me for the One Lovely Blog award so I'm here to share seven random things about myself today!  Let's get right to it.

I must wear socks to bed, even in the summer.

I despise crying in front of other people.  I'll try my hardest not to, even in the saddest of situations.  Nick is another story, though.  I've cried in front of him just because I was over tired a few times, haha.  And while we're talking about crying, the cry face that will never get old...


I haven't started Christmas shopping yet. For anyone.  Only 35 days to go... :|

My high school/college summers were spent working at an ice cream shop near Lake Michigan and it's still my favorite job to date.  The place was quite famous, actually - it was featured on the Today Show and President George W. Bush even stopped for a treat during his 2004 campaign!


My goal for 2015 is to get rid of Nick and I's student loans.  Those things haunt me.  Any tips on how to do this as quickly and painlessly as possible are welcome.

My friends and I went to Mexico for our high school senior year spring break trip, in which I brought home an e.coli infection.  You honestly couldn't pay me to go back there.  I'm scarred for life.


Two years ago, Nick and I made a game out of how long we could go without turning on our heat.  We made up "No Heat November" and we were flipping freezing.  I've never been so excited to see December 1st in my life.

The rules call to nominate seven other bloggers so here's who I've got... only if you'd like to participate of course!


Amanda @ As The Wine Cork Turns
Elise @ High Heels and Glittering Eyes
Jessi @ Jessi's Design
Kristina @ Medicine & Manicures
Lindsay @ Pink and Fabulous
Diana @ Wonderfully Made
Katie @ Yellow Mango Life

Now, tell me something really random about you!
Linking up with Shanna and Liz
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What to Wear: Thanksgiving Edition


Judging by the amount of snow we are supposed to get here in Southwest Michigan in the next 24 hours (that would be 10 inches on top of the ~4 we already have), you would think it was time for the Christmas linkup!  But nope, it's still November and we're just getting crazy, unheard of amounts of snow.

Funny story, since we just moved from Chicago where we had no need for a snow shovel, we figured we should head out and buy one last night with this huge storm coming in.  However, everyone else had the same idea because snow shovels are sold out everywhere!  Guess we'll have to get creative with clearing out our driveway.  This was the 6:30am scene this morning... as you can imagine, Brady loves it!


Anyway, next week is Thanksgiving you guys!!  So crazy.  We're heading to the Detroit area to spend it with Nicks family.  I'd love to host Thanksgiving one day but I think we're still a long way away from that... so basically the only planning I have to do for this holiday is figuring out what I want to wear.  Not too bad.

I'm loving anything burgundy right now so here are three different outfit options, all centered around a burgundy piece.

Option 1 | Comfy Casual
Since we'll just be hanging out at Nicks parents house all day, I'm sticking with a comfy casual outfit.  A cozy sweater (much cheaper option here that I'll be going with), blingy necklace, leggings (the bet ones in the world) and casual boots are my go to.  Always leggings on Thanksgiving.  I mean, the day revolves around how much food you can stuff in your face.



Option 2 | Middle Ground
I'm a big believer in that you should always buy a new outfit for a holiday ;)  You can totally justify buying this outfit because you could wear these classic pieces a million times over.  I love these Old Navy Pixie Pants - and want them in every color - paired with my favorite Jessica Simpson wedges, a white button up and a furry vest.



Option 3 | Fancy Pants
I don't think anyone gets really, really dressed up on Thanksgiving, do they?  This is about as far fancy as I would go for the holiday.  A cute skirt with tights, a pleione top, heels and a pretty necklace.  Now I kind of want to get dressed up...

What are you planning on wearing for Thanksgiving?  Are you more focused on being comfy or cute?


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Weekending

This weekend was the perfect balance of fun and relaxation.  We kicked things off with my family visiting on Friday. My step-sister is going to college next year at Western Michigan University here in Kalamazoo, where Nick and I went.  They were in town for an orientation/open house day so I met up with them and took them on my own little tour of campus.  The highlight of the day?  Having lunch in the dorms.  Now I totally remember why we all gained the freshman 15.


After a few freezing hours, we headed back to my house so they could finally meet Brady boy!  And how did Brady introduce himself to my dad?  By peeing all over him.  My dad picked him up and Brady just started peeing, literally alllll over him.  I felt so bad but what can you do - poor guy still doesn't have total bladder control and he was just too excited!


Things were all uphill from there and we had a nice visit.  They headed back home once it started to get dark out (which is like 4:30pm these days) so they just missed Nick.  Once he got home from work, we headed out to dinner at a new to us restaurant/bar, the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange.  The idea of this restaurant is so cool - the beer menu acts like the stock market and are priced at 'real time'.  If a lot of people are ordering a certain beer, the price goes up.  And for the less popular beers, the price goes down.  Every few hours, the 'market' crashes and all beer prices drop down to like $2.  It was really fun and really great food, too!




Saturday morning was a lazy one but at about lunch time, we headed over to WMU's campus to go to the football with some friends.  One of the guys has access to a suite through work so we spent the day up there, drinking free drinks and eating free food.  Best way to watch a football game, in my opinion!  WMU killed Eastern and no drinks were spilled this time - see here for that embarrassing story.


We grabbed Asian food at our new favorite restaurant for dinner for the second weekend in a row... and probably quite a few more to come.  The rest of the night was spent playing with Brady and watching the Hangover.  That is one movie that will never, ever get old to me.


On Sunday morning, we tried out a new church but it definitely wasn't the right one for us.  I hate that it's taking so long to find one!  We're slowly narrowing down the search, though so hopefully soon.  The afternoon called for errands, errands and more errands.  Thank goodness for Starbucks peppermint mocha's!  We ended the weekend with BBQ chicken pizza and Detroit sports :)


Hope you all had a great one, too!
Linking up with LeeannBellaCarly and Biana

And don't forget... tomorrow is our Thanksgiving link up :)  Tis the season!!


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Five on Friday 11/14


It's Friday and WINTER IS HERE.  That's right, we got our first accumulating snow and the 10 day forecast isn't calling for temps over 34 degrees.  I'm not winters biggest fan but I do enjoy it up until about January.  One of the most magical things in the world is waking up on Christmas morning to a winter wonderland.  Come January 2nd, I'm over it but until then it makes me happy happy happy!

I'm going to be mostly MIA today because my family is in town - such a great way to start the weekend!  Here's a few highlights from the last few days...

Chicken Taco Salad
We made the Pioneer Woman's chicken taco salad for dinner this week and oh my, yum.  I highly recommend for a really easy, somewhat healthy dinner!



Costco + New Boots
Our brand new Costco is open!!  I was practically giddy going there on Wednesday night.  We majorly stocked up but the best purchase was a new pair of Sorel winter boots.  It's funny because I was contemplating ordering them earlier that day online when I found them for almost half the price.  Costco for the win.

Brady photo bomb

Favorite Nail Polish
I've literally been wearing Essie's After School Boy Blazer for two months now.  I just thought you all should know that it's my favorite and you should try it, too!


New Years Eve
It feels insane to be thinking about this already but I'm seriously considering planning a 48 hour getaway for Nick and I.  Something reasonably priced but somewhere warm... where we could fly in one morning and out the very next night.  This is the time in our lives to do this kind of thing so we should take advantage of it!  Any suggestions on (VERY WARM) fun New Years Eve destinations?

Thanksgiving Link Up
It's that time again!!  Our Thanksgiving link up will be next Tuesday, November 18th.  Share your favorite Thanksgiving recipe, tradition, table setting, outfit, decorations... whatever!  Can't wait to see what you all come up with! :)


Well, my dog is starting to white (again) so I should probably take him outside (again). Have a great weekend!
Linking up with KarliLaurenJennieRebecca and April
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Pre-Christmas Wish List

Thank you for all the advice when it came to yesterday's bedding dilemma!  Since I cannot find a printed comforter/duvet I like and was leaning towards white anyway, I went ahead and ordered the Target Pinched Pleated Comforter.  I seriously couldn't turn down the price so if it gets dirty or ruined quickly, then lesson learned and I won't feel too bad about throwing it out.  Let the fun pillow + throw blanket searching begin!

Now, is it too early to talk about Christmas?  Because I've got a wish list a mile long right now.  Something about this time of year just makes me want to BUY EVERYTHING.  I guess it's a good thing I have my eye on so much since pretty soon my family will be asking for a Christmas list... and boy, do I have one for them this year.  Here's a few things I have my eye on -- best part is that everything here is under $70!

Old Navy Coated Jeans
Looove these and such a great price, too!  I've been wanting leather leggings but I think these might be a more practical option, not to mention warmer (it is snowing right now).  Old Navy is really knocking it out of the park right now, so much good stuff!


Nordstrom Crystal Cluster Statement Necklace
I want this necklace in all three colorways.  How pretty is it for the holidays -- or just any day!  It's 50% off right now so that means I can buy at least two, right?


Zara Wraparound Striped Scarf
Zara can do no wrong when it comes to scarves.  Literally any of them would make for a great gift for the women in your life.  This one especially needs to enter my life and sooner rather than later, please.


Crown Vintage Booties
We're almost past bootie wearing weather here in Michigan so I need these ASAP!  Love the neutral color and the zipper makes for easy on/easy off.


And that's just a few of the things currently sitting in my shopping cart!  What's on your wish list right now?
Linking up with AnnieNatalie and Joey
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House Help: Bedding Dilemma

You know when you're going out to eat with your husband and you have two restaurant options and you can't decide between them so you tell him to pick one?  And then once he does pick one, you're not happy with the choice and realized how much you wanted to go to the other restaurant?  You actually did have a preference you just couldn't see it before.  I hope you know what I'm talking about or maybe I'm just a crazy person.

All of this to say... I'm stuck on our bedroom.  And I need your help.  Because maybe if the majority of you prefer one and I don't quite agree, I'll have a clearer idea of what I want.  One can hope ;)  Here is what I'm working with right now... ignore the terribly made bed.


I bought a new headboard and nightstands - both on sale right now if you're in the market.  I think the nightstands are too short compared to the bed but I'm just ignoring that for now.  What I'm really stuck on is the bedding situation.  I'm so over this duvet set (similar here) and ready for something new.  But, do I want to go with a bold comforter or play it safe with neutrals?  Here are my two inspiration pictures...


The all white bedding looks so crisp and I LOVE that I can buy this exact same comforter from Target right now for only $70.  I know I'm probably one of the only ones but I actually prefer comforters over duvets, anyway.  I also appreciate that I can always easily mix things up in the room by using throw pillows.  I can go from all neutrals to pops off color whenever I want without breaking the bank.  Only thing I'm worried about - how dirty is this going to get and is it going to go with the white nightstands that I just bought?


On the other hand... I also love the boldness of patterned, colored bedding.  It's refreshing and fun and major plus - I won't have to worry about it getting dirty all the time.  This particular bedding from Serena & Lilly is sold out sadly and I haven't been able to find another that I really like.  Maybe that's a sign?

Either way, I'm torn.  I'm itching to get the bedding ordered so I can start painting.  Oh joy ;)  Also on the 'to do' list for this room is new lamp shades, decorating the nightstands, possibly adding a rug, a DIY dresser and looking for the perfect mirror.  Still not sure what to do with the window right by the bed and if I should put something above the headboard... but those are decisions for another day.

So, what do you like better - neutral calmness or bold fun?
Linking up with Shanna and Liz
48

Real Food


Have you guys heard of the website/blog, 100 Days of Real Food?  I recently stumbled upon it and am hooked.  I'd been thinking a lot about making healthier choices when it comes to eating and cooking but it's sometimes hard to know where to start.

Lisa, the author of the website, focuses on the importance of real food and cutting out processed and junk foods. She takes the guess work out of everything with her 'Start Here' and 'Real Food Defined' pages.  There are tons of recipes, shopping lists, weekly steps to eating healthier and how to do it all on a budget.  This was just what I needed to find.

We do have some restrictions in our family due to health reasons so we can't do whole wheat/grain products but slowly I have started to implement other healthier, less processed, organic foods.  It feels good to make better decisions and to understand exactly why I'm making these decisions.

I'm no expert AT ALL but here are a few tips I've picked up in the last couple of weeks, just from Real Food.

Go Organic
Something I wasn't doing - and only due to higher price tags - was buying organic products over non-organic, cheaper choices.  Organic basically means you are avoiding high levels of pesticide residue and genetically modified organisms.  I'm sure you're all familiar with the "dirty dozen" but I figure in any case, it's usually always better to go with the organic alternative, despite the cost.
See here for more info.



Milk 101
Milk choices can be so overwhelming.  We have no problems with dairy so I've always bought the regular store brand milk.  Now, I've always thought that skim milk was the 'right' choice, however Lisa says not so much.  Skim milk is actually what is left after the cream has been removed from the milk.  And the cream is what contains the healthy/good enzymes and such.  The skim milk then goes under a fortified process to add back in the same stuff it removes... but it's obviously not the same.  Lisa recommends sticking with 2% - it may be higher in fat but at least you're actually getting some health benefits from it.  Also, go for organic again.  Organic milk means that the cows have not been given any antibiotics so that's definitely the healthier option.  What the cows consume = what we consume.
See here for more info.

White Cheese
Cheese is made from cream and milk... it's meant to be white.  So when you buy yellow cheese like cheddar, colby jack, etc., these have actually been soaked with food dye.  Technically harmless but why consume these food additives when you don't have to?  You can find plenty of alternatives instead - pepperjack, white cheddar, mozzarella.
See here for more info.


Bagged Cheese
Speaking of cheese... bagged, pre-shredded cheese contains cellulose made from wood pulp.  Gross.  It's the white, chalky stuff on the cheese.  To avoid it, always buy block cheese and shred it yourself.  It tastes so much better anyway!
See here for more info.

I'll be honest, I haven't been able to get on board with organic cheese YET.  Of course it's better for you because as Dr. Oz has said 'you can't peel or wash pesticides off of dairy products' so always go for organic.  It's just more expensive... but I know it's worth it.

What little tips do you have for me when it comes to eating healthier?  And be sure to check out 100 Days of Real Food - it's a really great resource to have!

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