Wednesday, February 24, 2016

8 Must Haves While Traveling


As I was packing for Colorado yesterday, I didn't even have to think twice about what I threw into my carry on.  I always take the same exact things so it's just second nature!  These 8 must haves keep me comfy, entertained and happy during a flight.  Here's what you can find in my go-to carry on bag...

ONE | Facial Spray: A must have!  I have chronically dry skin and flying just exaggerates it.  I like to mist some of this stuff on my face before and after we land, and even mid-flight if my skin is thirsty.  Hand lotion is a must, too.

TWO | Portable Phone Charger: I don't have an iPad (I know, I'm so behind!) and don't like to lug my laptop around, so I use my phone for any technology entertainment.  My battery always seems to drain at airports so having this adorable portable charger is definitely necessary.  It's also really nice to have once you arrive to your destination, since you're usually out and about all day.

THREE | Scarf/Wrap: Layering is key while traveling as airplanes always seem to be the coldest place ever.  A scarf or wrap (this one is an amazing price) is such an easy thing to throw on, but also toss into your bag when you arrive.

FOUR | Eye Drops: Nothing makes your face look more tired than dry, red eyes.  Viseine is another before and after flight ritual for me.  I swear I'm not high maintenance ;)

FIVE | Water Bottle: I'm constantly drinking water so I always have a water bottle with me.  I love this one because it's super lightweight (and cute).  Staying hydrated will help with dryness issues, too.

SIX | Headphones: Is there anything worse than getting settled on the plane and realizing you forgot your headphones?!  I just have basic ones, but I'm seriously crushing on these that are noise cancelling.  After getting this speaker for Christmas that I'm obsessed with, I now see the benefit in springing for pricier ones.

SEVEN | Good Book:  Reading is my favorite in flight activity.  I brought this and this to read in Colorado and I can't wait to get into them.

EIGHT | Neck Pillow: Because sometimes reading can put you to sleep ;)  We bought one of these before Hawaii and bring it with us on every vacation now.

Well, we're officially off!  I'll be back to blogging next Tuesday with a full recap, but be sure to follow along on Instagram (@ka5ohare) or Snapchat (@kavanderploeg) in the mean time.  And make sure to send me any Breckenridge/Denver recommendations you may have!  Happy Wednesday!

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Baby Girl Nursery Inspiration



I'm SO excited to finally have gotten my vision for the nursery nailed down and to share it with you guys today!  I went back and forth for so long on doing a neutral nursery to work for any future children or just to go all out in pink girly gloriousness.  It wasn't until I stumbled upon this first image on Pinterest that my mind was made up.  As soon as I laid eyes on that wall color, the artwork, the chandelier - I was dying over it all and my mind was immediately made up.

Through some Internet stalking, I was able to determine that the paint color in the above picture was Sherwin William's Intimate White.  After a sample went up beautifully on our walls (always sample!!), we finally said goodbye to the black glow-in-the-dark handprints and hello to the sweetest baby pink.

Our next order of business was the big furniture.  A crib, dresser, and glider.  I had no doubts in my mind that I wanted to go with the IKEA Hemnes 8 drawer dresser because you simply can't beat that price.  We purchased these pulls instead and it's going to look awesome.  The glider was probably the thing I was most picky on.  We're going to be spending a LOT of time in that thing so I wanted it to be comfortable.  And cute of course ;)  After tons of testing, we decided on the Kersey Glider in Linen.  While it does recline, I am also going to get one of these Moroccan poufs to use as a foot rest.

For our crib, we went to Pottery Barn Kids and brought home the Emerson crib.  Well.  We went to set it up this weekend and did NOT like it.  Their white color is called 'cloud white' and what that means in our house... an off white that looks more like a dirty gray.  We were so bummed so it was back to the drawing board.  I'm leaning towards this DaVinci Jenny Lind crib now- anyone have it?  It's half the price so I really can't complain about that and it's a true white.  

The rest of the room will start to come together once we have those big pieces in place.  My initial light fixture crush hangs too low for our 8 foot ceilings, so I'm planning on order this beautiful flush mount instead.  I'm majorly crushing on this Lulie Wallace print, but why must it be so expensive?!  Still waiting for this rug to go on sale and I love this little side table with this lamp.  Can't even wait to start putting everything together - I think it's going to be the sweetest room in the house!

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday's Five

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WHERE DID THIS WEEK GO?!  It flew by for me and I feel like I accomplished about 5% of the things I wanted to.  My email inbox is out of control, my house needs to be cleaned (#doghaireverywhere) and I have a bunch of errands to run.  Not that I'm complaining though - every day down is another day closer to Colorado and my favorite of all, summer!  Speaking of summer, we're supposed to have temps in the 50's this weekend... which is insane for Michigan in February, but you can bet I'm the most excited person in the world ever.  The prospect of ditching my North Face parka for the next couple days is definitely giving me a little pep in my step this Friday!  

ONE | We officially reserved a space for my baby shower on April 16th and ordered the invites this week!  No real theme in mind, I just want lots of flowers and blush pink everywhere.  My favorite.  It will be here before we know it and I can't wait!

TWO | This bag.  I can't stop thinking about it.  I'm not a huge purse person and it's rare that I fall in love like this, so I think I need this one

THREE | Lots of nursery progress will be happening this weekend, all thanks to my husband. Painting the walls (Sherwin Williams Intimate White) and setting up the dresser + crib are both on the agenda!  Hoping to share my inspiration for the room here on the blog next week.

FOUR | Vanilla Cinnamon Buttermilk Pancakes... yep, those are probably going to happen this Sunday.

FIVE | I'd love a little bit of your input re: the blog.  What posts are your favorite/do you get the most excited to click through and read?  These type of random life updates aka nonsense, fashion, beauty, recipes, links, home decor?  I love blogging and want you guys to love stopping by here each day!  So let me know what your favorites are (or even what you don't like!) and I'll keep 'em coming :)

Happy weekend! 

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Ski Trip Must Haves


Way back at the end of last summer, Nick and I booked a ski trip to Breckenridge with our best couple friends for this winter.  That feels like a lifetime ago!  So much has happened since then and obviously, our trip next week will no longer be a skiing one for me. I would be lying if I said that I wasn't a little bummed to not be hitting the slopes, but I know there will be lots more of these trips in our future and I'll take full advantage of the spa to make me feel better ;)  

Since our trip is just around the corner, packing has begun and I thought I'd share a few of my must haves for a ski trip.  My number one are these amazing Sorel boots.  I just got them a couple of weeks ago and am in LOVE.  They are so warm and completely waterproof, but still manage to feel weightless.  Honestly, they're lighter than my Hunter boots.  A good camera is also a must have since the scenery out west is so gorgeous (don't forget your eye-fi card so you can share photos easily and quickly to social media).  The air is also super, super dry when you're skiing all day so make sure to protect yourself with this face lotion or this BB cream.

J. Crew Cambridge Sweater (on sale!) // Nirvanna Soho Beanie // Sorel Tofino Cate Boot // Ray Ban Original Aviator // Halogen Pointelle Knit Scarf (on sale!) // Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket // Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream //
J. Crew Smartwool Socks // Canon EOS Rebel Camera 
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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Confessions

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How cozy does this bed look?  It's the kind of bed you just want to crawl into and never get out of.  I figured it was an appropriate image to kick off this post, considering I am actually in bed right now.  It's 4pm, my pajamas are on and I've been in here for a couple hours now - even just woke up from a nap, ha!  Gotta get that sleep in while I still can ;)  A few other little confessions for your Wednesday ...

I confess that I'm so annoyed with Gap Maternity.  I've had my eye on a few pieces to purchase when my Gap Cash began and when I went to place my order yesterday, I found out that most of them won't ship for a couple of months!  Like this top - a great basic and I wear my regular one all the time so I know it would get me through the spring, but it won't ship until May 23rd.  I'll pretty much be done with my pregnancy by then (I hope)!  Even basic tees are the same way - so weird.

I confess that I'm intrigued by the micellar water concept.  Is this something we should really be doing to help our skin, or is it just another marketing product?  Anyone use it?

I confess that I hate when we don't have a show to binge watch.  We recently finished Lost and then flew through Making a Murderer, but now we have nothing.  I feel like we've watched all the good stuff!

I confess that I'm most worried about losing my sleep when the baby is here this summer.  I really, really love sleeping and am one of those people that functions best on 9-10 hours a night.  I know that's NOT going to be happening (like at all) and I'm just so worried I'm going to be a grumpy, tired person zombie all the time. 

I confess that after the Bachelor date at McDonald's on Monday nights episode (poor Amanda), we made our own breakfast sandwiches.  Like 5 minutes after we saw them on TV, I had Nick in the kitchen whipping up egg/cheese/bagel sandwiches and they were SO GOOD.  Even if it was 10pm at night ;)

I confess that I'm beyond happy that one piece swimsuits are in for this summer!  I definitely think I'll be rocking a few and already have my eye on this one, I mean the scallops!  Target does it again.  Also need this hat.  Is it summer yet?

I confess that despite the sky high price tag, I really want this rug for the nursery.  Even though the room is carpeted, so a rug would be a splurge in the first place.  Fingers crossed I can catch a good sale.

That's all I've got for today - what about you guys?!  Happy confessing!
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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Ramen Veggie Soup



Today I've got an oldie, but goodie - this recipe comes from my archives!  Way back in 2014 when about 10 of you were reading, haha.  Considering that we still eat this about twice a month at our house, I figured it was beyond time to share it again.  It's a delicious, easy one pot meal that is perfect for a busy week night.  Plus, if you're sriricha fans like we are, you're going to really love this!

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 large celery stalks, diced
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
32 oz chicken broth
1 cup water
1 lime, juiced
3 packages of Ramen noodles (any flavor is fine because we won't be using the seasoning packets)
Salt and pepper
Green onion to taste
Sriracha to taste

Directions
Chop up onion, carrots and celery.

In a large pot, heat your tbsp of olive oil over medium heat.  Add in chopped veggies and salt and pepper to taste.  Saute for 5 minutes or until soft.

After, add in your tomatoes, water, chicken broth and juiced lime to the pot.  Increase heat to high and bring to a boil (takes about 5 minutes).

Once boiling, stir in the Ramen NOODLES ONLY (throw out those seasoning packets) and reduce heat slightly.  Simmer for 5-7 minutes or until noodles are soft.

Serve immediately, topping with green onion and sriracha to taste.

We also like to serve warmed bread on the side - so good.  Enjoy!


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Monday, February 15, 2016

Valentines Weekending + Sales


Happy Monday!  Hope you all had fabulous weekends.  Ours can pretty much be summed up in two words: snow and food.  It snowed pretty much nonstop on Friday & Saturday, but it was kind of nice to just cozy up and stay close to home.  And I figure if it's going to be 10 degrees outside, it should at least look like a winter wonderland!

We celebrated Valentines Day on Saturday night with a pretty epic home-cooked meal.  Caprese salad, roasted asparagus, mashed potatoes, lobster and filet mignon were on the menu.  Oh, and can't forget my chocolate covered strawberries.  So flippin good!  The rest of the weekend was consumed with finishing Making a Murder - 'eh' was my overall opinion - and working on our baby registry.  You guys, why do babies need so much stuff?  Beyond overwhelming.  Tell me your #1 favorite thing you got off of your registry!

But for more exciting shopping, there are lots of great Presidents Day Sales going on right now!  I actually stopped at Forever 21 on Friday and bought three sweaters for -- wait for it -- $8.22.  Yes.  They were $2.75 a piece, how crazy is that?!  Here's a few other sales I've got my eye on...

+ Anthropologie: extra 40% off sale items
A classic white blazer and the prettiest bow earrings

+ Banana Republic: 40% off both regular (code BRFIT) and sale merchandise
Love the color options of this oversized turtleneck sweater

+ Forever 21: extra 30% off sale with code XOXO
A hooded denim jacket and an olive green utility romper will take you into spring

+ Gap: 40% off purchase with code LONGWKND
I've been living in these comfy pants on the weekends

+ J. Crew: extra 40% off sale with code SHOPSALE
A classic striped shirt and gorgeous suede loafers

+ LOFT: 40% off select styles
I've got my eye on this fringe sweater, even if I can't wear it till next winter

+ Nordstrom: up to 40% off clearance
My favorite workout leggings in hot pink and the perfect spring wedges


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Friday, February 12, 2016

Things That Make Me Happy

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This pineapple print just makes me happy.  And it kind of spawned this post - a random roundup of things that are making me happy right now.  The fact that it's Friday is #1 of course ;) 

Our Colorado trip is just around the corner!  So excited.
A new mascara that I'm loving.
Reaching 1K followers on Instagram - thank you guys!
Warm and cozy sweaters (that still fit).
Making chocolate covered strawberries today.  YUM.
The Real Housewives of Dallas announcement - I love my housewives.
A baby trench coat?!  The cutest.
The She Reads Truth Lent study.
Freshly cleaned makeup brushes - this makes the chore so much easier.
Lots of upcoming plans with new Junior League friends.
This room spray that makes my house smell so delicious.

Happy weekend!  We're keeping things low key this Valentines with a dinner at home in front of the fireplace and it sounds like perfection.  If you're in need of any last minute date ideas, be sure to check this post!  See you on Monday!

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

10 Ways To Help Cut Flowers Last Longer

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Nothing brightens up a home like a freshly cut bouquet of flowers.  To be honest, I used to think flowers were a total waste of money (I know, gasp).  I told Nick not to even bother buying them for me, but he still did and I slowly fell in love.  They truly bring new life and energy to a room and now I can't get enough of them.  With the biggest flower holiday of them all just around the corner, I thought I'd share a few of  my favorite, tried and true tips to extending the life of your fresh flowers.  

ONE | When purchasing your flowers, make sure you have a water supply for transporting.  Whether it be in an individual water container or just wrapped in a damp paper towel, don't let those beauties dry out on the way home.

TWO | Make sure your vase has been thoroughly cleaned with hot, soapy water and rinsed well to remove any microorganisms/bacteria.  

THREE | Remove any wilted leaves and also any greenery from the stems that would sit below the water line.  Submerged leaves will mold quickly and pollute the water.

FOUR | Trim the stems 1-2 inches at a 45 degree angle.  I like to do this under cool, running water as it will prevent air from going into the stems.

FIVE | Use those floral food packets!  They are full of preservatives and anti-bacterials that will keep your flowers fresh and happy.  Make sure to grab a few extra at the store, as you'll want to use a new packet every time you change the water.

SIX | Place bouquet in a shaded, cool area and out of direct sunlight to prolong its life.

SEVEN | Upkeep is important: make sure to change water - cold and fresh - and trim the stems every 2 or 3 days.

EIGHT | It also doesn't hurt to mist your flowers with a spray bottle daily.  Many types of flowers also absorb water through their petals so a double dose of refreshments is never a bad idea.

NINE | If you can clear space, move your arrangement into the fridge for the night.

TEN | When your flowers are nearing the end of their lives, there are quite a few suggestions on how to perk them back up.  Some that have worked for me: adding an ice cube or a splash of 7-Up to the water and throwing in a penny specifically to help tulips stand up straight again.

What's your best flower trick?  Here's to hoping for filling our homes with fresh, beautiful bouquets this weekend!

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Blush On The Brain


Ladies: you're going to want to forward this to your husband/boyfriend/significant other ASAP.  

Valentines Day is only 4 days away - but you know the men haven't even started shopping yet ;) - and everything on this list would make for the perfect gift.  That bag (on sale!) = swoon, a limited edition of the best candle ever, the most luxurious lipstick and my favorite Kendra Scott earrings.  I'll take it all.  

Rebecca Minkoff Mini Perry Satchel // M. Gemi Brezza Lace Up Flats // Kate Spade Metro Round Leather Strap Watch // Kendra Scott Danielle Earrings // Bobbi Brown Skin Nourish Mask (dying to try this!) // bkr Naked Heart Glass Water Bottle // Tory Burch Fitbit Double Wrap Bracelet // Diptyque Rosaviola Candle // August Hat Pastel Wool Fedora // YSL Rouge Volupte Lipstick

Also, NEED these pajamas that didn't make the collage.  They're so perfect, especially after my donut binge yesterday - but how else are you supposed to celebrate Fat Tuesday?!  I can't even believe Lent is here already!  Are you guys giving anything up?  Considering I'm not partaking in half of my favorite things due to being pregnant (sushi, deli meat, moscow mules, comfortable sleep...), I've decided to take something up instead.  I've been terrible about working out lately so my goal is 30 minutes of exercise every single day.  I know that sounds way too easy for probably all of you, but the rate I am gaining pounds is alarming - even though I know it's good - so getting my lazy butt moving is a must ;)

PS. check out my updated Shop page for lots more Valentines picks!

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Weekending Highs & Lows

Happy Tuesday!  Getting going after the Super Bowl is always tough and this weekend was an especially busy one all around, so excuse my recap a day late :)  We had the best couple of days and I'm still wishing we could rewind back to Friday and do it all over again.  

HIGHS 
Nick and I kicked off the weekend by grabbing dinner at one of my favorite restaurants - I had shrimp tacos and he ordered a jalapeno bacon burger, but instead got a veggie turkey burger, haha - and then went home to hang with Brady and watch Making a Murderer.  We're half way through the Netflix series and definitely hooked!

Saturday brought a massive Chili Cook Off at a beach town near us.  There were 26 restaurants offering free chili tastings, horse drawn carriage rides, ice skating and hand carved ice sculptures around every corner.  Such a fun winter day and it was so nice that the weather cooperated with pure sun (although it was freezing cold)!


We were up bright and early on Sunday to head for the Chicago suburbs.  We shopped all. day. long and it was so productive.  We bought this dresser for the nursery and ordered this crib (in white)!  Can't wait for it to come in.

It was so great to stop at Buy Buy Baby, too and I think we've finally decided on a stroller and car seat.  I'll probably do tons more research before adding anything to our registry, but right now I'm leaning towards the Baby Jogger City Mini GT and the Nuna Pipa car seat (and the adapter of course).  Does anyone have either of these and have any thoughts?!?

PF Changs for lunch was a wonderful decision because while I've always loved pad thai, but I have had a serious obsession with it since becoming pregnant.  It was actually one of the ONLY things I could stomach eating in the first trimester - so random, ha.

I picked up these boots for our upcoming Colorado trip.  They're on sale right now, but going fast!  

While I didn't have a major favorite for the Super Bowl, it was pretty cool seeing the Broncos win as I really think that was Peyton Manning's final game.  Going out on top is definitely the way to do it!  Other highlight: this commercial. Anything with dogs, seriously.

LOWS
As you can imagine with a productive shopping weekend, it was an expensive weekend!  But I really think we got a great deals on the purchases we made - I mean, how can you beat a dresser for $250? And I really did show some restraint so I was proud of that.  It took everything in me not to buy one of everything at PBK!


I've been dealing with some sciatic nerve pain these last few days.  Hot showers, stretches and massages help, but it hasn't been fun (especially at night when I'm trying to get comfortable).

Our Chick-fil-A is still under construction, so whenever we're back in Chicago, it's always a must stop for me.  BUT we were in the city on Sunday and I totally forgot they were closed on Sundays until we were pulling into the parking lot :( :(  So sad, although I do give them major props for taking a day off.

This bag seems to be completely sold out!  I can't believe how fast it went.  It's gone online and I couldn't find it in the store either - bummer.

All in all, a pretty great weekend.  Hoping yours was as well and that your Mondays weren't too rough.  Only 3 days now till Friday, we can do it!
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Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday + Links

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Friday's should always = donuts, don't you think?   Hope you've all had a great week!  They're flying by for me and at 21 weeks now, it's time to get down to business on the nursery.  We're heading to Chicago on Sunday to do some shopping and hopefully check off a few big purchases.  Land of Nod, Pottery Barn Kids, IKEA... I'm coming for you (my poor bank account).  Other than that, we're going to a chili cook off on Saturday and of course the Super Bowl!  I'm not sure who I'm rooting for - I don't have an attachment to either team, although I do love the Mannings... ahh whatever, I don't care who wins.  I'm really in it for the food and commercials ;)

Before I go, a few of my favorite links from around the web this week...

This was an awesome in-depth, behind the scenes recap from Zelle at Southern Style on the Create + Cultivate conference in Dallas last weekend.  I want to go to one!

We made this one pot spaghetti on Wednesday night and it was deeelish.  Husband approved with the meat in it, too ;)  Love a good one pot meal with minimal clean up.

While we may be shopping for baby things this weekend, I also plan on picking up this Chloe knock off bag.  Only $36!

Loving these pretty phone + desktop downloads from May Designs.  They release new ones each month
and nail it every time.

It's back in stock!  (From this post)

I pulled the trigger on this jacket last week when it was half off and love it so much, I'd buy it full price.  I will say it's not that warm - more of a 'walking from the car to the restaurant' type of coat.

4 refreshing detox juices... that actually sound good.

For my fine haired girls, this is my new favorite hair product!

Have a fabulous weekend!
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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Life Lately

I love a good life lately post and when Kristen announced she was going to be making a link up out of it today, I was all in!  Here's what we've been up to lately through the eyes of my camera (and camera phone, let's be honest)...


Nothing makes me happier than fresh flowers, especially in the winter.  These gorgeous white roses from Earth Fare held up for over a week and a half - not bad for only $8.99!


Baby Bargains has been a LIFESAVER.  If you know someone that's expecting, buy them this book.  Our friends that have a two year old recommended it to us and it's been awesome.  It breaks down everything you need for baby, rates the different products out there (because why are there a million...), and helps you save money in the process.  Just make sure to get the most recent version (HERE) so the product recommendations are all up to date!


We celebrated two and a half years of marriage on January 27th, and the end of January (the exact date is fuzzy now) marked nine years since we met.  Niiiine years.  Time flies.  Forever thankful I let someone drag me to a
fraternity party that night back in 2007, life has never been the same since!

You can read more about our wedding here.


Just a few girly things I've been using on total repeat and l-o-v-i-n-g.  Especially this foundation (amaze) and this eyebrow palette is a must have for anyone working on their eyebrow game!

Headboard (on sale!)

Just Brady Boy being lazy and adorable.  He's the best cuddler in the morning which makes it so hard to get out of bed.

Top // Blazer (on sale!)

Our girls weekend was the best!  We ate a lot, made bracelets, took naps, binged watched RHOBH and ate some more.  It wasn't as crazy as our typical girls weekends are, but it was really nice to slow down and just hang out together.


And they totally spoiled me with a gift certificate to get a prenatal massage.  Can't even wait!

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Fun Valentines Date Ideas

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V-Day is just around the corner!  We don't go all out for the holiday, but I am particularly excited for this one.  It's the first year in a few years that Nick hasn't ditched me for a pond hockey tournament that always seems to fall on this same weekend and I'm happy we get to celebrate together again!  Although our celebrations don't extend much beyond going out to dinner - we usually even skip gifts - it's always fun to throw in a couple little special surprises.  I've come up with a few relatively easy ways to make the most of the holiday of love below...  

Go to - or have your own - wine tasting 
Chocolate covered strawberries will definitely be happening at our house
Write each other love letters
Indulge in an at home spa night together - these are my favorite essentials!
Enjoy the outdoors with a picnic (if the weather cooperates)
Make dinner together at home - this cookbook is perfect to use
Take a horse drawn carriage ride through a park or city
Bring your significant other breakfast in bed
And then stay in bed, all day :)
Take a dance class
Flowers are always a good idea - I love Trader Joes (for $5 options!) and The Bouqs for delivery  
Blow up the air mattress and have a sleepover in front of the fireplace
Recreate your first date
Have fondue at home for dinner
Go ice skating and warm up with hot chocolate after
Burn your significant other a CD of your favorite songs
Book a couples massage
Watch the sunset - bonus points for on the beach

What are your plans for Valentines Day?

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Bath Essentials

It's a rainy, dreary day in Michigan today and all I can think about is how amazing a bubble bath sounds.  Which is kind of strange considering I'm not the biggest fan of baths, but the weather today is just screaming for one.  And not being able to do something while you're pregnant makes you want to do it all the more, right? ;)

So while I'm dreaming of bubbles (both the bath and the alcoholic kind) for a few more months, this post is instead for all of you!  I'm demanding that you go home tonight and take a bath.  Eat dinner, forget your chores for an hour, light a delicious smelling candle, fill up that tub and just relax.  Sometimes that's exactly what our body needs - to slow down for a little bit and have some me time.  Especially on a rainy, dreary Tuesday night.

Here are a few bath essentials that will leave you feeling relaxed, but still totally refreshed!

Linen Bathrobe (amazing price!) 
Luxury Spa Bath Pillow (a must have) 
Volupsa Saijo Persimmon Candle (one of my faves)
Kiehl's Creme de Corps 
Vestige Bathtub Caddy (on my wishlist) 
Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Honey Bath Bubbles (the best smell ever)
Fiori Bath Towels

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Emily Ley's Simplicity Challenge

It's FEBRUARY, you guys.  One whole month of 2016 down.  Craziness.  January usually flies by for me - I'm still living on a high from the holidays and going strong on my resolutions/goals for the new year - but come February, things start to drag.  The days are still long and dark (and cold) and the lofty resolutions I set for myself are a little easier to forget about, like going for walks every day because like I mentioned, it's cold.  During February, I could definitely use a little kick in the butt.


Enter in Emily Ley.  I'm sure you're all familiar with Emily Ley thanks to her fabulous planners, but I recently stumbled upon her Instagram account and became intrigued by the Simplicity Challenge she's been hosting.  Basically what it is is 1 quick, simple step to simplifying your life every day for one month.  She's been doing it for the entire month of January, but I'm way behind and instead of just starting in the middle, I thought I'd go ahead and use it as my motivational boost for February.  Anyone want to join me?!  I've listed each day below for easy reference, but you can also check out Emily's Instagram account for all of the postings. 

Here goes nothing...

DAY 1 | Walk your home with a trash bag or five.  Be ruthless.  Papers.  Receipts.  Tags.  Empty bottles.  Lone board game pieces.  Go.

DAY 2 | Set a recurring alarm for every weekday.  If you're letting your kids wake you, set it for one hour earlier.

DAY 3 | Do something with all those precious photos and videos on your phone.  Print.  Back-up.  Store.

DAY 4 | Simplify your phone.  Delete old contacts and unused apps.  Consider moving time suckers to the back. Change your lock screen to something that makes you happy and your wallpaper to something simple.


DAY 5 | Put two things that make you happy on your bedside table.  You should also have a lamp and a clock.  That's it.  Move anything else.

DAY 6 | Clean out your fridge.  Check expiration dates and throw things away.

DAY 7 | Restock anything that needs restocking in your bathroom.  Cotton balls.  Q-tips.  Toilet paper.  Shampoo. Toothpaste.  If you don't have extra, make a list.  Take that notepad into the bathroom with you and take inventory.

DAY 8 | Start the habit of throwing a small load of laundry in every morning.

DAY 9 | Go put gas in your car today.  While you're there, clean out your car.  Throw trash away. 


DAY 10 | Buy a few birthday cards.  Keep them on hand for birthdays that pop up that you're not prepared for.

DAY 11 | Put your number on the Do Not Call List.  Call 1-888-382-1222.

DAY 12 | Walk your house with a donate bag.  Schedule a pick-up or drop it off as soon as the bag is full.  Walk your house with your keys if you have to.

DAY 13 | Dump your purse out.  Throw away trash and create a little bag of essentials: chapstick, Kleenex, Shout wipes, gum, etc.  Make your bag work for you.

DAY 14 | Pull out all of the formal dresses in your closet that you'll never wear again and choose a charity to donate them to.  Put the bag in your car to deliver it.


DAY 15 | Do nothing.  Today is your day to be still for 10 minutes.  Go outside and sit and soak in the world.  Clear your mind.  You deserve it.

DAY 16 | Clean out your medicine cabinet.  Trash duplicates and anything that may be expired.  Make sure you have the essentials on hand.

DAY 17 | Quit something today.  Just say no.

DAY 18 | Write out three simple dinners you can make with the ingredients already in your pantry.

DAY 19 | Detox your social media feeds.  Unfollow anyone who makes you feel inadequate (even if it's friends).  Follow inspirational and encouraging accounts.  Remember for 2016: social media is a highlight reel.


DAY 20 | Clean off your desk.  Keep only the essentials including your computer, mousepad, a cup of pens, a lamp and one other special thing.  Ditch the clutter.  Wipe that desk (and keyboard) down.

DAY 21 | Clear the clutter on your computer.  Delete unused files and organize important ones.  Empty the trash.  Set a new desktop wallpaper.

DAY 22 | Take inventory of all the items you allow to come into your mailbox.  Visit catalogchoice.org and directmail.com

DAY 23 | Write your morning checklist and tape it to your fridge.  Write your evening checklist and tape it to your bathroom mirror.

DAY 24 | Schedule a getaway for sometime in 2016.  A vacation or stay-cation: put the dates in your planner.


DAY 25 | Make a list of 10 easy go-to meals.  Tape it to your fridge for simple meal planning.

DAY 26 | Create your own Sunday prep-list.  What makes you feel prepared for the week ahead?

DAY 27 | Write down ONE goal for this year.  Just one.  Tape it somewhere important so you see it every day.

DAY 28 | Organize your inbox.  Use unroll.me.  Try the Flag or Trash method for Inbox Zero every day: red flag emails that need attention later.  Delete everything else.  Inbox Zero.  Done.

DAY 29 | Stock up your household items you use all the time.  Pay attention to BOGO sales.  Make a list of these.

Let me know if you're joining along!  Cheers to an organized, happy, simplified February :)

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