Friday, December 30, 2016

Winter Break


Long time no blog!

I didn't mean to take a little blogging break, but I will say it's been pretty nice. I've been soaking up the holidays and seriously enjoying the time off that Nick has from work, because baby back up.

We had the BEST Christmas. Now that we have a baby, it's important to me that she wakes up in her own bed on Christmas morning. So for the first time in ten years, that meant no holiday traveling for Nick and I. No packing, no traffic, no crowded train stations, no worrying about the weather, none of that. And it was really, really nice. Although that also meant we didn't get to see ALL of our families so that was a little bit of a bummer, but we'll figure out a better solution for everyone next year. But for Hadley's first Christmas? It was super special to make those memories at home.

Christmas Eve, we went to our church's evening candlelight service and that is hands down my favorite thing of the entire Christmas season. We sat by our neighbors and Hadley hung out with us for the service (she was entranced by the lights) and it brought tears to my eyes at the end of the evening when all of the candles were lit and everyone was singing. It always does.


Afterwards, we made a last minute to decision to stop by our friends house for appetizers. It's so great when friends become like your family, especially when you don't live super close to your own fam. We got home around 8, put the babe to bed, whipped up a little steak dinner and played Santa, getting the presents all ready. The first of many, many Christmas Eves spent putting together toys!

Christmas day highlights: Hadley being scared of the wrapping paper, having my family over for brunch, making our own homemade spaghetti & meatballs (amazing), Hadley's epic 3 hour nap which allowed us to take a couple of our own and being able to finally finish this book, Brady digging into his bag of toys (we got him a water buffalo horn and  he is obsessed), Christmas jams and Nick surprising me with the MOST gorgeous ring to add to my wedding stack. A little belated birthday/baby/anniversary and Christmas present all rolled into one!


On Wednesday we took a day trip to Chicago which - to be completely honest - kind of sucked. Hadley is super chill and almost always so go with the flow, but Wednesday was just not her day. We should have known when we were 20 minutes away from home and realized we forgot the stroller that the day might be a bit of a bust. So yeah, we forgot the stroller, our lunch wasn't super great, a crazily over crowded mall, and a couple of interrupted car naps made for one cranky girl (actually two cranky girls). And let's not even talk about the drive home. In case you are wondering, YES it is entirely possible for a baby to cry (scream) for almost the entire two and a half hour ride. 


But hey, by the next morning she was back to her happy self. And just in time because mom and dad are almost off to DALLAS! Our alma mater made it to the Cotton Bowl and this is literally once in a lifetime, so we're headed down there with all of our friends on New Years Eve. Hads is staying home with my family, so wish me luck leaving her - and GO BRONCOS! See you in 2017!
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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Party People

Nothing like recapping your weekend four days after it's over! But it was SUCH a good one, filled with all the Christmas fun, and if I don't do it now, it's surely going to get lost in the haze that is Christmas and then New Years and will never be documented on the old blog. So last weekend! Otherwise known as the weekend we partied allll weekend long. 

Also why it took me so long to get this post up, I'm still recovering from it. But I just took a nap, so now I'm ready.

First up on the docket was Nick's work party on Friday night. No pictures, but it was just a casual get together with dinner and drinks and passing of the baby around. She was in heaven with tons of people to hang out with and smile at her. I was in heaven finally getting to dress her in this coat!

On Saturday morning, WE MET SANTA! And Mrs. Claus. And homegirl loved both of them! I felt like things could go either way: she was going to love it or be a little weirded out by a giant bearded man. But she proved to us again that we may have to wary of her with strangers when she gets a little older because she happily smiled back and forth from the camera to Mrs. Claus the entire time!


We grabbed lunch downtown (grilled cheese and tomato soup for all) before heading back home for nap time, major house cleaning, and baking of only the best cake ever

Saturday night was our Junior League + families Christmas party and we decided to go with a Chicago food theme. If you are familiar with Chicago, you've heard of Portillo's before. And if you've heard of Portillo's, you know all about their chocolate cake. Pure deliciousness. This recipe right here - it's just about an exact knock off, thank you Pinterest. Did you know Portillo's uses boxed cake mix?! And the secret ingredient is mayo...

Trust me, SO GOOD. We had Portillo's beef sandwiches, Giordano's pizza, the cake, and so much more. Of course, the night wouldn't be complete without a selfie stick picture even though there were about twenty other people at the party that could have taken it for us. Hadley was such a champ- she hung out for three hours and stayed up past her bedtime and was still the happiest thing.


Sunday was the big day! Hadley's baptism! It was the perfect day. Almost all of our family came to town (a brewing snowstorm kept a few at home) and it was so special to have everyone there. No surprise that she did great and was the star of the show. We had to write a letter to her that they read out loud and it took everything in me not to cry, but it was really just so special. Picture dump...


No joke, I got her gown from Amazon. Ha! And you can find my sweater and skirt here ;)

Afterwards, we hosted everyone back at our house for lunch. This was when we did the crockpot ham and called in Costco to do pretty much the rest, no shame in my game. Mashed potatoes, gravy, pretzel rolls, Pioneer Woman brussels sprouts (these are ahmazing) and tiramisu for dessert.


It was such a good weekend, full of family friends and food, and now we're heading into the ULTIMATE weekend. Bring it on, Christmas. We are so ready for you! 
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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas Eats


4 days till Christmas... let's talk food.

We are staying home for Christmas for the first time EVER (woo!) and hosting my family for brunch on Christmas morning. I've been busy planning out my menu and here's what I've got:

Scrambled Eggs with Goat Cheese
Bacon (always bacon)
Fruit Salad
Mimosa's

Yes, I am drooling. For Christmas dinner, we are making Nick's grandparents traditional meal of spaghetti with homemade sauce and meatballs. Meatballs with raisins in them! I'm still getting used to that. This will be my first time making sauce from scratch, so wish me luck! 

What I'm still unsure about is our Christmas Eve dinner. We'll be going to a candlelight service at our church at 5pm, hopefully driving around to check out some lights, and then I'd like to make a nice dinner for Nick and I once the baby goes to bed. But what to make? We usually do ham, but we just had a big ham dinner after Hadley's baptism on Sunday (amazing crockpot ham recipe for the win). I'm debating between prime rib, beef tenderloin... that's all the ideas I've got so far and they both intimidate me. But I can take on anything with this adorable apron I just ordered ;) 

What's your families go to meal for the Eve?

Ps. Can't forget about the Christmas cookies, too - I shared my favorite recipes HERE.

Image via
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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Our Christmas Cards


Allow me to present... our most FAVORITE Christmas cards of all time! I am so in love with how these turned out. We went out to a Christmas tree farm over Thanksgiving weekend with our favorite local photographer (that we also used for Hadley's newborn pictures) and while the weather wasn't the greatest, she still nailed it and got some great shots. We were freezing our buns off in the cold wind, but I mean that smile! It's perfection. She is the happiest little lady. The only thing missing was our Brady boy, but maybe when he can keep himself calm in public, he can join the photo shoots again... so probably in like five more years. Crazy pup.

As for the card itself, we used Tiny Prints this year and I couldn't be happier. There were an abundance of amazing cards to chose from - pretty sure I was torn between 15 different designs at one point! - and they really know how to make your life easier at this b u s y time of year with offering personalized envelopes (you can even have them addressed!) and being able to purchase postage, among other things. Most definitely take advantage of that! Prices were super reasonable as well, even for the gold foil that we chose. It's gorgeous in person.


Since I never sent out a birth announcement for Hadley (#momfail), I decided to include it on the back of our card. I mean personalizing the back was free, so no way could I leave it blank! 


My only complaint? That I didn't order enough cards. When they came in the mail, I was SO EXCITED about how they turned out, that I was just handing them off to everyone. The UPS man, the daycare people at the gym, sending some to Nick's work - you name it. Next year I'll be ordering lots and lots more!

So from our little family to yours- Merry Christmas, friends!

SHOP OUR OUTFITS (...they're pretty much all on sale)
NICK SWEATER (only $6.99!!!) // HADLEY BOW // HADLEY PONCHO // 

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Mom Confessions and Rambles

Remember when confession posts used to be the 'thing'? We should bring them back. They're good for the soul. Also good for not making me feel bad about it being 5pm and I'm sitting on the couch - in my pajamas mind you - while I should be getting dinner ready... we'll just have leftovers (again).


Hadley's confession this week: she's not a fan of the bumbo, as much as I'm trying to force her to be.

Why don't we start with a few Hadley confessions? Remember when I thought we were going to call her Haddie? We really don't. Like at all anymore haha. Hadley just fits her better! 'Hads' has been more of the nickname that has stuck. And I think she's actually starting to recognize her name when we say it! She'll turn her head and look at us... well, like 50% of the time.

I am starting to love dressing her up now that she's a little more active, and not just laying around sleeping. I love me some Baby Gap (like that onesie above - heart eyes) and I just placed my first Zara Kids order. I've also done a lot of Instagram stalking on small biz baby shops over the past few weeks and can't wait to pick up a few things in the next size up. I'll be sure to share my favorites soon! Honestly, I'll dress her in anything that does not have a million buttons. DESPISE the buttons.

One of my goals for the new year is to really start working on my photos. I want to document Hadley's childhood in the best possible way that I can, and that means properly learning how to use my camera. I downloaded the app 'Collect' which gently reminds you to take a picture each day and upload it to your calendar in the app - it's pretty cool.

Speaking of apps, my phone storage situation is awful. Mainly because I take like 50 pictures of the baby a day and can't bring myself to delete a single one. I was trying to make space on my phone the other night by getting rid of things I don't use, when I realized that I still had the 'Full Term' contraction tracker app that I downloaded that early morning that I went into labor - and I seriously cannot bring myself to delete it. I love that it has all of my contractions saved and how cool to be able to look at it still. ALSO (this is embarrassing, and gross) I still have all of the positive pregnancy tests that I took saved under my bathroom sink. What is wrong with me?!

Anyway, I think that was enough for one day. Now I'm off to try and put together a tablescape for this weekend - Hadley is getting baptized on Sunday and we're doing a big celebration meal here afterwards! I picked up these plaid candles today, how freaking cute are they?

Or maybe I should go make us some dinner...
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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Recent Beauty Obsessions


Yesterday's post was all about the guys... so today, let's talk about something girly. Something much more fun. Like a few of my recent beauty obsessions.

Sephora PRO Featherweight Powder Brush: I have a hard time spending money on makeup brushes, but you really do get what you pay for with the nicer (more expensive) ones. So that's why I pick them up during Sephora sales when I can grab them at a discount. However. This brush. I would pay full price and then some for. It's so soft! And fluffy! And luxurious! I use it with this setting powder.

Beautycounter Tint Skin Hydrating Foundation: I'm definitely getting into more natural skincare/makeup and am loving all things Beautycounter. The tint skin foundation is awesome. It truly is hydrating, yet doesn't settle into fine lines. It has a lighter, but buildable coverage and just looks really natural.

RMS Living Luminzer: This was also a Sephora VIB sale purchase that I was pretty on the fence about. I want to love highlighters - I really like the look of them on others - but I tend to have drier skin and feel like the powder ones always just 'sit' on top of my face. I was intrigued by this since it's a gel/liquid luminizer and then I heard that they use this on the J. Crew models... SOLD. And sure enough, it's amazing. It's subtle, dewey and a little bit goes a long way.

Glossier Boy Brow: Love this stuff! It's a brow filler, fluffer and shaper. Plus it stays all day, even when I pull a sweater over my head, my eyebrows are practically untouched. This is a must have!

Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum: I have pretty uneven skin - dark spots on my cheekbones (thanks Hawaiian sun...) and usually have plenty of redness, so I'm always looking for products that will help with that. This serum does! It makes my skin much more even and WAY brighter. I can tell if I skip using this at night. The price tag is high, but the bottle is huge and will last a long time.
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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

23 Gift Ideas For The Guys


So, not going to lie, pretty proud of this round up of gifts for the guys. (Although my OCD side wishes I'd added two more items to this collage, so it would be a normal number... not 23.) But anyway, WHY ARE MEN SO HARD TO SHOP FOR? I struggle with this every year, but here are a few tried + true ideas that I've gifted and I know would make any guy happy. All price points, all different places to shop. Tell me what's your go to guy gift in the comments please, I beg of you. I may still be on the hunt for one more...

BOSE BLUETOOTH SPEAKER (have this, love it, on sale!) // MONOGRAMMED COPPER MUGS // MENS CLARISONIC // 
YETI TUMBLER // TIMEX SMART WATCH // LETTERFOLK BOARD (on my wish list, too!)

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Snow Snow Snow

It has literally been snowing here since Thursday night. So. Much. Snow. I actually don't mind it at this time of year though, it makes everything feel very Christmas-y. Not that we did anything Christmas related this weekend. We were going to go see Santa, but it just didn't work out... because snow. Nick spent the entire weekend trying to fix his one year old snow blower that wouldn't work (terrible timing) and I didn't put on makeup once. In fact, we barely left the house... except for a trip to the gym in which I forgot my shoes and then I attempted to make up for that by going running on Sunday in the middle of the snowstorm (also terrible), so it was an interesting weekend.


In more fun news, it's hard to tell in this picture, but I chopped my hair off on Friday night! Well, 5 inches chopped. But that's a lot for me! My hair hasn't been this short since college. I've had some lovely postpartum hair loss so it was looking rough, and I was just ready for a change. Also ready to not provide Hadley with so much hair perfect for yanking, which is her number one hobby.

Speaking of Hads, she did not know what to think of the snow. It kept taking her little breath away and she kept kicking her boots off... but she sure looked cute doing it. This hat kills me and oh how I wish they made this pink bow coat in my size. Brady is of course, a snow pup. LOVES THE SNOW. He spent the entire weekend either sprinting in circles around the yard, or standing by the front door whining for us to let him out again. Well or napping on the couch. It's a rough life, but someones gotta do it.

HAT // COAT

Those red cheeks. Poor girls first tooth is popping through. How did she get so old? 

We had to get her a new bathtub over the weekend. We have been using the Angelcare tub since she was a couple weeks old, and loved it, but she was starting to outgrow it and actually fell out of it a couple of times trying to sit up, which was terrifying. But sitting up. She just won't do it. So she wasn't ready to be all alone in the tub, so we decided to get one of the Primo tubs. It's only been a couple days, but I like it. Supposedly this thing is good for birth to three years, but I really don't know how a newborn would fit in this... seems a little big. I like it for the fact that it is less water to fill up a tub, and it keeps her toys closer for her. Soon we'll move her to the other side where she can sit upright in it... but girlfriend really has no interest in sitting. I put her in the bumbo and she just slouches over.



Anyway, to end this post of rambles, a tree branch just fell on our house, so we're off to check that out. Gotta love the wet, heavy snow and a house surrounded by pine trees. Blah.
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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Shrimp Stir Fry Recipe


I am slowly but surely getting back into the cooking swing of things. Thank the Lord for awesome friends delivering us meals all summer and being able to order take out all fall, but I've been finally ready to get back to cooking myself. We are still loving our Hello Fresh deliveries and a few weeks ago, we had this amazing steak stir fry. It was so good that I was craving it again so I decided to go ahead and attempt to recreate it, just adapting the ingredients to what I had in my kitchen. Well wouldn't you know, this recipe actually turned out even better! It was full of flavor and best of all, it took me under 30 minutes for everything: preparation, cooking, and serving. I used frozen shrimp that I had from Costco - most reasonably priced place to get shrimp - and just threw a half bag of it in the fridge the night before to thaw.

Ingredients
1 pound thawed, cooked shrimp
Jasmine rice (Trader Joe's makes a really good frozen one!)
8 oz brussels sprouts
2 carrots
2 scallions
1 jalapeno
1 thumb ginger
1 lemon
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Directions
Prep: Trim and quarter brussels sprouts lengthwise. Peel and cut carrots into thin slices. Thinly slice scallions, keeping whites and greens separate. Slice jalapeno (remove seeds if you prefer less heat, which is what we did). Peel and mince ginger. Halve lemon.

Start the rice on the stovetop or microwave. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan over medium-heat. Add brussels sprouts, carrots and jalapeno to pan. Toss until veggies are barely tender, 5-6 minutes.

Add scallion whites and ginger. Toss until veggies are softened, 3-5 minutes. Add soy sauce, shrimp and a squeeze of lemon. Toss until shrimp are white, 2-3 minutes.

Fluff rice and serve stir fry over it - top with scallion greens. Enjoy!
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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Attention Moms!


If you are pregnant or have a baby under one, this post is for you. Or if you're shopping for one for Christmas, too! I was recently on Pinterest when I came across this AWESOME article. It's the 15 best toys for baby's first year - written by a mother that is also an occupation therapist. She lists each toy and then goes into detail on how it will help your baby work on fine motor skills, cognitive development, communication, and self-help, etc. It's really well written and such a great read. Check it out here!

We already owned quite a few of these toys, but I picked up some more for Hadley for Christmas. Majority of them are under $10 and can be bought from Amazon Prime. She's getting these rattle balls, crinkly blocks, high chair suction toy, and ring stack (all of that cost me only $25). I LOVE that the OT explained in the article how I can help her play with each of these toys to get the max benefit out of them. Again, seriously (and no one is paying me or making me say this), check it out.

What else is Hads getting for Christmas?! The Pottery Barn Kids anywhere chair, this adorable tee shirt, and a bunch of books. I'm finding one can never have enough board books. Oh, and this hat, but it was so freaking cute when it got here that she's already wearing it, ha. What are you getting your babes?!

I'll be back tomorrow with a delicious (and easy) shrimp stir fry recipe. Yummmm.

Image via
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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Gift Guide: Home Decor


20 days until Christmas! How is your shopping going? We have lots of friends + family that have recently moved, so home decor gifts were at the top of my to buy list. And maybe a few of these things for ourself, too - still working on decorating our house after two years, ha. I am still all about the light and bright, and of course marble is everywhere right now which makes me happy. Actually, everything here makes me happy!

The Nest holiday candle is such a great 'go to' gift for this time of year. With flannel buffalo check PJs (not pictured above, but how comfy do these look?) and maybe a Netflix gift card would be sure to be a hit. 

A Le Creuset dutch oven has been on my wish list FOREVER. 

Gift a pretty cookbook (love Host) paired with this Rifle Co. recipe box or wood serving boards

This Best Day Ever catchall is adorable and the marble serving board is on sale right now - under $20!

Gorgeous champagne flutes. Spring for a bottle of champagne to complete the gift.

This pom pom throw WILL be mine! I love it so much.

Speaking of things that are mine, I ordered this Dear Santa plate while writing this post. It's currently half off and free shipping with the code FREESHIP. Cannot wait to fill it with cookies on Christmas Eve.

A couple cute pieces for around the house: this under $50 globe lamp and marble picture frame.

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Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday Favorites

Rug // Coffee Table // Stockings // Cutest dog - not for sale ;)

Happy Friday! Anyone else feel like this was a long week? Having Nick home for most of last week with the holiday kind of spoiled me, and then this week felt like the one that was never going to end. The highlight was probably all of the Black Friday packages that have started rolling in, ha! So many goodies. Hope you all have fun weekend plans. We have our first Christmas party of the season on Saturday! Before I go, I wanted to share five quick favorites... I guess there were a few good things about this week after all ;)

THIS MIRROR. We upgraded our mantle mirror to this one and it is gooood. It's simple and beautiful and great quality for the price - which is less than $40 right now! 

THIS SWEATER. One of my favorite Black Friday purchases that is perfect for the holiday season! The red is super festive (also comes in white & navy) and I love the pom poms. 30% off with code MERRYSALE.

THIS BOOK. Quick! Get to your TJ Maxx! They had this super popular coffee table book for only $20. The pictures are gorgeous and we could all use a little warm weather pick me up during winter, right? 

THIS RECIPE. I will be making one of my all time favorite desserts (this post is almost 2 years old, ha!) for our Christmas party this weekend and I can't even wait. Thank goodness I just joined a gym.

THIS ORNAMENT. We ordered this Lenox ornament from Amazon Prime to commemorate Hadley's first Christmas and it's truly gorgeous. This would make such a sweet gift for a new mom.

Ps. this week also marked the first week since Hadley's been born that I've managed to get a post up every day! ICYMI: Cyber Monday Sales // Thanksgiving Recap // Hadley 5 Months // Gift Guide: Beauty Lover



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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Gift Guide: For The Beauty Lover


Well, this here was my favorite gift guide ever to put together! Isn't it so pretty?! Beauty products are typically my go to gift - both for giving and receiving. There are so many luxurious, splurge worthy items out there that I would love to have, but don't always want (or can't) spend the money on them. But to me, that's what makes a perfect gift! Something you would love to have, but can't necessarily spend your own money on. So here's a round up of my favorite beauty gifts for this holiday season...

How cute is this little cosmetics bag by Jouer? Perfect for the traveling lady in your life.

I'm so intrigued by this Drybar Silk Pillowcase. Has anyone tried it? It's supposed to extend your blowout, reduce frizz and breakage, and help with facial wrinkles. Um, yes please. 

I recently received a sample of this L'Occitane body cream from Sephora and fell in LOVE. I went to order some, but the price stopped me. You better bet this is on my Christmas list though! Smells so good.

Splurge worthy: the T3 styling wand. Comes with three different barrels to create different looks. Everyone that owns this seriously raves about it. (For a less expensive wand, I use this one and love it.)

Okay, this Mason Pearson hairbrush seems crazy - and it probably is - but it's another product that pretty much has a cult following. I've always been curious if it REALLY makes a difference in your hair.

I've never tried anything by Herbivore, but the brand is all over the place right now. I would love to get my hands on this hydrating face mist (only $16!) and this coconut oil body polish is actually backordered, so it must be good.

Have this Beauty Counter Lip Set and l-o-v-e it. It's the best neutral lipstick and gloss. Great price, too.

I own the older version of this T3 featherweight hair dryer and it's perfect for travel. If only mine was pink...

Stocking stuffer alert: how adorable is this bow hair band?! Love all of the Cara hair pieces.

A classic perfume in a beautiful bottle is such a great gift. Anyone would appreciate this. (Another stocking stuff option: the same perfume in a roller ball.)

Neulash growth serum has been on my wish list for forever! Now especially, because I feel like my eyelashes have been falling out since giving birth. Anyone else dealt with this?

Shop a few more great gift options below:

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