Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Fivin'

High fives, friends... it's Friday!  Here's my five finds to share.




1 - Gap is currently (when are they not?) offering 40% off to card members (code 40NOW) and they have been rolling out new fall styles every time I browse back. Also, totally worth sharing, I shopped instore over the weekend and they were selling Kenley's basketweave jellies for 40% the sale price.  I grabbed another pink pair for $6.99 $4.20 in size 7 that just fits Ashlynn now, and hopefully will fit KK next year. The silver pair was even lower, $4.99 $2.99.  I don't like them as much as the pink, but I grabbed a pair for Ashlynn because $3 shoes that she can wear to school (closed toes), pool, beach, etc is a deal I just can't resist.  Check your stores for better deals!  #skipalatte


2 - I shared my favorite non-fiction finds yesterday, and some of the books I ordered arrived.  I'm still waiting on a few more that were just too good of deals to pass up, but I've already hidden them away.  I scored a handful toys on super clearance at Target a few weeks ago, So I think I'm just going to wrap them up now and hide them for Christmas so I'm not tempted to just hand them over.  I did take a look through Before After and it's amazing.  It has 176 pages and is just loaded with illustrations that perfectly explain so many things little ones often wonder about or find interesting.


3 - I've been working on organizing our mudroom (a slowwwww) process, but I've gotten our pegboard hung and things are coming along.  Using this "Summer Ready Mudroom" organization post for inspiration.


4 - Has anyone tried this egg-free single serve cookie dough recipe, yet?  I'm almost afraid to since I have a feeling I'll never stop.





5 - Last, we have an upcoming wedding in Boston at the end of August.  I'm planning on using Rent the Runway, since I've had great experiences in the past.  Trying to decide between these two dresses.  And just for frame of reference, I'm only 5'2" so these mini dresses will hit me in an age appropriate length.  


Let me know your thoughts! Hope everyone has a great weekend :)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

[Bookworm] Not Your Average Non Fiction

Typically, when you think of books for the toddler and and preschooler crowd, non-fiction isn't the first to come to mind.  Fantasies of princesses, dragons, pirates, and boys who can fly.  Colorful worlds of inanimate objects like trucks, trees, and or crayons come to life.  But non-fiction gets a bad rap.

Recently I've been drawn to adding more books with "meat" to them to our collection.  Ashlynn is in such an inquisitive stage, asking about everything around her and trying to learn more about this vast world we live in.  Everything from what does each and every farm animal eat to stars, planets, and sun and back to why she can't hold the little birdies in her hand (as she chases any she sees).  Aside from our growing collection of story books, she loves her Look and Finds, but she's completely memorized every page - and they have become a huge bore for mom and dad.  The best part about all these non-fiction finds is while they were be great when she's learning to read and soaking up deeper information about the world around her, they currently offer gorgeous eye candy for her to take in and learn some basics through the story the pictures tell.



Some of these books are currently at their lowest prices ever, I marked them above with a asterisk.  I scooped up Creature Features, Over and Under the Snow, and Before After, plus a few other great deals from our wishlist.  I'm hoping to hang on to at least a few until the holidays and maybe bringing out one or two over the next few weeks as I always like to bring in something fresh. 

Do you have any favorite non-fiction books for kids that are more engaging than the Encycopedia Britannica? What is your child's favorite subject?




Side Note:  Currently there are a few great deals (over 40% off) on favorites Where the Wild Things Are, Stuck, Extra Yarn, The Adventures of Beekle, You Are (Not) Small, Gaston, and Ballpark.



*post contains affiliate links

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mommy's Day Out

This past weekend I finally got a nice little break away.  I had originally planned to take a 'girls weekend' and spend a night out (which would be my first aside from when giving birth), but the plans fell through and my Best and I decided just do brunch, go shopping, and a see movie.  I snuck out at 930 and didn't get home until the kids were in bed.  Usually when I get my "me time" it doesn't last longer than 2-3 hours at a time and it typically includes a trip to Wegmans for solo food shopping.

I headed out early to do some window shopping, I hit up homegoods, Anthro, and a local boutique. We had brunch outside at White Dog Cafe (a favorite), and then wandered around the mall for awhile looking for some dresses to wear to upcoming weddings.



After being turned down by the husband for buying this $500 dress ;)  my friend scored a great gown for a steal.   We wandered around before heading to the theater to see Trainwreck.  I rarely ever go to the movies.  Actually, the only movies I've seen in the last eight years have been with Abby - Valentine's Day, Bride Wars, and both Sex in the City movies, clearly chick flicks.  The movie was hysterical and I would gladly go see it again, maybe the husband and I can sneak out one night while on beach vaca to catch it. 

Sunday was just a standard lazy weekend day.  Playground in the morning, some cleaning and chores, hung a frame in A's reading nook, and then some more playground time before bed... and Rory and Lorelai.

bunny | frame (similar) | letter | bunny

I hope everyone had a great weekend! 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Lately

A bit late for a weekend recap, so I'll just do a little life lately meets from the cutting room floor post.

July has flown by.  Ashlynn has had activities four mornings a week, and thankfully, they have kept us from the boredom induced crazies. On top of two different gymnastics classes, soccer, and swimming, the husband has been traveling for work being gone for a week here or there at a time.  Thankfully, we've had visits from Mimi and Bopo and playdates to keep us entertained.   I'm also pretty sure we all survived a case of Hand, Foot, and Mouth.












Outside of my nightly Gilmore Girls binge, I've finally been back on the maker wagon crafting up things that have been on my to-do for ever.   Sidenote:  No joke, if you haven't realized by now, I've been watching way more television ever since getting rid of cable.  Probably my own fault for not taking advantage of our DVR or OnDemand, but I've already been through the first three seasons of Scandal, all seasons of OITNB, almost all of House of Cards, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schimdt, all of The Mindy Project, and I'm not even sure what else but clearly streaming is a big success around here.

Back to things that don't involve me sitting on my arse, I finally put together Ashlynn's canopy for her reading nook.


It was a super cheap DIY.  An extra large embroidery hoop with a 50% coupon from Joanns for $4.84, two packs of Ikea Lill Curtains for $3.99 each, and some mini purple pom trim that I hot glued on since the curtain panels have a rolled raw edge and sewing was going to be a disaster.  I might give the top a little flower crown, but we'll see if that happens.   Also need to finish hanging art up on the walls, hopefully another sooner than later project. 

We are also getting a pegboard put up in the mudroom for everyday house tools.  We used to keep screw drivers, nails, and the hammer in the junk drawer, but moved them when the girls started getting into the drawer.  We've been keeping them in a tool box in the mudroom, but it's constantly getting buried amongst other junk.  Hopefully having them organized, hung high for safety, and in sight will keep us from constantly misplacing them.  And hopefully it will keep the counters from getting as cluttered. 

I'm also giving their easel a bit of a makeover.  Kenley LOVES to color.  If she isn't doing something physical and active, she's most likely coloring.  


Over the weekend we hit up one of the local farmer's market and picked up some cappuccino peanut butter, it's amazing as it sounds.  And on Sunday we dropped the kids at Nanny and Pop Pops and went out to brunch to watch the British Open.  






Between the cocktails, eggs benedict, nutella stuffed french toast with peanut butter cream, AND worn out kids this is probably going to become a new monthly tradition. 


So that's what's been happening around here!  Happy Hump Day!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Back To School on the Brain




I know.  It's hard to think about boots, sweaters, and jackets in July, but between the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and the release of back to school styles, I get all excited to shop (and maybe dream of pumpkin spice everything, too soon?)


The North Face jacket is a staple in this family.  This 'Oso' style is included in the Anniversary every year and is worth every discounted penny.  I first purchased a 6-12m purple one when Ashlynn was a baby and it last her through two winters and then Kenley last year as well.  I bought her a periwinkle version in a 3T last year and decided to hand down that one to K this year and get A a 4T in lavender bloom.  I'm hoping they both wear those sizes for the next to years then K moving into the 4T.  I'm obsessed with this style because it's fleece and warm, just like my TNF jacket, but isn't a risk in the car.  Down jackets or puffy coats can compress during an accident leaving extra room between your child and the buckle.  I find the kids are pretty warm wearing them as long as properly layered.  Of course, they are suited for a polar vortex, but the kids wouldn't be playing outside in those low temps regardless.

I'm obsessed with the suede booties, I actually got a pair for both girls so we can all twin together.  Old Navy is currently giving card holders 40% off regular price items (THANKYOU) and and extra 30% of sale items (JACKPOT).  Gap is having 35% regular price items and 30% off sale (TREAT).  Old Navy rarely offers more than 20% off regular price items and usually advertises "up to 40% off sale prices", so this is a great deal for back to school shoppers!


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Random Round Up

Just my all too frequent post of random things I want to share...


First up, Essie Gel Setter Top Coat.  I saw this at Target an end cap a few weeks ago and was pissed I just bought a new Seche Vite Top  Coat (the fastest drying top coat ever).  It was sold by itself and also in cute dual packages with full size popular Essie colors like ballet slippers, bahama mama, mint candy apple, and sunday funday. 

I always do my own nails, and after my "4th of July" red mani chipped after two days, I decided I'd give the gel polish a try.  Sidenote, is it me or does red polish chip faster for everyone else too??  So I grabbed it and this is (crappy) pic of my nails 7 days later!


I'm super hard on my nails, so just having a bit of wear at the ends is AMAZING.  Definitely a huge fan.  I mean, it's not like it's going to last 2-3 weeks, but going from 3-4 days without chips to about 6-7+ is enough to convince me.


Next up, I know your readers are full of "Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks" so I'm not going to add to that, but I do want to note the Zella "Live In" Leggings are $33.90 instead of $52.  I've said it before, but these are the BEST leggings ever.  They are nice and thick, yet not bulky, and hold you in all the right spots.  I was devastated when my were ruined during "the great paint spill of 2015" so I'll definitely be grabbing one or two to replace them.   

(word to the wise, size down when buying!)



These cute (and fun) shopbando bracelets are all on sale.  Super cute for a gift for girlfriends!



Finally, I love this overly simple idea for stamping your own dishtowels... or napkins, or table cloth, or pillows, etc. 


Share your random loves below!!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Insta-spired... Photo Dump #7

@kramerdrive | @sitamontgomeryinteriors | @jillrosenwald

Bunnies, paint, and pottery.  I love having these quick workout snaps to reference when at the gym.  The bottom left snap is pretty genius for kids, write in thank you notes, perfect for teaching young kids to be gracious.  Still loving the bunny inspo for Ashlynn's room and I la-la-love the bedroom shared on Honey We're Home's rooms we love series.  The print above the bed is perfection and I have to remember to do something similar some day!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Kenley Drew - 19 Months

This kid.  



Says:
Loves "counting".  I hear her saying "two, feee, twoo, GOOOOO!" all the time.  She catches the last word in each line to different songs, and just learning new words daily. She has started identifying/saying colors, orange was first, now she's correctly adding pink and purple.  She also can identify/say triangle.

Does:
Abs of steal.  This kid tries so hard to do backflips like her sister on (any and all) bars ::que mommy heartattacks!::, she must have the strongest core in the family. Loves being chased, stealing her sisters scooter, and jumping -especially in puddles or water.  Coloring is by far her favorite non-physical activity.  Athlete and an artist.


Loves:
Being outside.  Keeping up with her sister.  Playing on the big kid playground and swings.  Her damn paci. I've been trying to be better about leaving it in the crib, but she no joke will run upstairs after meals to get her paci fix.  Her sister.  She is so obsessed with Ashlynn and everything she does, nothing melts me like their insistence for a hug and kiss before bed each night.


Sleeps:
Hits a rough patch here and there, but overall she naps well and sleeps about 10 hours a night. She's also the best cuddler ever, she is beyond a mommy's girl and I eat up every drop of love she sends my way.


Eats:
She pretty much eats great at all meals, but dinner.  I don't know if she's just not hungry from other snacks, but she'll routinely not eat at dinner time.  She eats so well at other times, I'm not too concerned.


I'm 10 days late with this update, par for the course these days, but in 2 more she'll be the exact age Ashlynn was when she was born.  It blows my mind a bit.  As for everything else, more of the same.  She's our 'determined' child, she will do anything she sets her mind to.  I see this trait becoming a double edged sword.  :)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Americana

I hope everyone had a happy and safe Fourth of July.  Nothing better than a three day weekend, except maybe a four day weekend, but we'll take what we can get!

On Friday we headed to visit with our nieces. The weather was gorgeous, despite forgetting to pack our swimsuits, thankfully having only nieces means plenty of extras to go around.  The girls had a blast playing on the swing set, the baby pools, and slip n' slide.  Some grilled up lunch and ice cream cake for the girls' uncle's birthday made it the perfect summer day and we were all sad to leave.



(they are only two months apart!)




The actual Fourth of July was a bit of a bust weather wise.  We tried to hit up a favorite playground early in the morning, but it started to rain when we got there.  We came back and Nanny came over for brunch, after just hanging around the rest of the day we headed over to our friends' for dinner and had a great time.  The kids played in the rain, we had a fantastic meal, and we let the kids all stay up past their bedtimes.  We headed home around 9 and had the kids tucked in before the fireworks, which we were surprised they still had considering the weather.  Maybe next year will be the year!



standard group photo of no kid looking in the right direction

happy little (red and blue berry) shortcakes

my curly girl

Now that we are in the official thick of summer, it feels like the clock is ticking to complete more of those summer bucket list items.  I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend!


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Halfway Through - Out with the Old and In with the New

Hi Friends, can you believe we are halfway through the year?! It seems like everything for summer just hit the magical "sale" button which always baffles my mind since summer just started, but give it three more weeks before we start seeing the Back to School Target commercials and store fronts of jackets, sweaters, and boots and anything that will induce sweating on the spot.

If you are looking to jump into any of the sales, definitely check out these everywhere trends.  You'll save some dough buying now and be on point all summer long.


First up, this may be brutal, but it's time to move past the pineapples and flamingos.  They are like the new chevron, it's everywhere and becoming played out.  #truth    The print for this season is definitely the palm print.  It's everywhere, clothes, home accessories, in scale from subtle to gigantic.  And trust me, I loved the pineapple and flamingo takeover, they were super cute and summery, but something about the palm print is just more chic.

jumpsuit (Free Ship & Returns)
sleeveless blouse (20% sale code: HOTSALE)
printed shorts (40% sale code: GOLDMINE)
swimsuit (30% sale code: SUMMERSTYLE)
cut out top (under $20)

Next summer must have, kind of random, but Turkish Towels.  Who knew towels could be a "thing"?  But apparently they are, and I wasn't even aware of it until I featured one in my peachy/beachy round up and then realized they are everywhere.  I don't think two days pass without seeing someone mention their on their blog or insta.  Maybe it's the tassels?  Maybe they are super absorbent?  Or the classic look of stripes?  But I'm into it, and apparently the rest of the world too. 



What trends are you seeing pop up this summer??

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Favorite Finds

The hated summer cold has been making it's way through our house the last two weeks, never fun dealing with runny noses, itchy eyes, and generally feeling less than 100%.  We've still be as busy as ever, attending gymnastics, soccer, storytime, and playground playdates all in addition to our own backyard shenanigans.

A few random items that I'm slowly becoming obsessed with and thought were worth sharing...




Okay, so yeah, another rosé recommendation coming from some one who just enjoys drinking wine, not studying or knowing the ins and outs of vintages and grapes.  Cotes du Rhone 2014 is the perfect summer wine, light and refreshing, but not at all sweet.  It still has a crisp fruity taste, but doesn't make me pucker and it's just smooth.  It's under $15 and has a 4 star rating on TotalWine.com, so that's something.

Saint Lucifer Spice. People... I wish I would have thought to include this in a Father's Day gift post, but find a way to order it (like on amazon) and put it on everything.  It's basically a hot sauce that isn't a sauce but a dry spice, read all about it here.  It's pretty much perfect on everything from eggs, meat, seafood, soups, and of course bloody marys.  I actually found out about it when a friend served their Bloody Mary recipe at a birthday party and actually loved it.  I'm in the mimosa camp to bloodys, but this was so good I asked for the secret recipe and made them for Father's Day.  And best of all, it's a local Philadelphia made product!

Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Sea Salt Spray.  My hair is in major need of a cut, I think I last went before the holidays. I've been living with a perpetual top knot, and this spray - which I've seen recommended on lots of beauty lists - has actually kept my hair looking decent instead of a massive frizz fest.   Also, not a new find since I'm pretty sure it was one of my first blogging topics way back in the day, but my goody spin pins are keeping my top knots together.  When my hair gets too long, but usually messy bun is just too out of control.  With the spin pins, I can actually just twist my wet hair into a bun and it'll say all day, no hair tie needed.  So if you were out of the loop, consider yourself in.

Nature's Bakery Fig Bars.  I pick these up at Wegman's, so I'm not sure what other stores they are sold in, but with all the running around from activities to the gym to running errands, I always have at least 2 or 3 of these in my bag.  They are perfect for the kids, they don't make the mess of cheddar bunnies and probably give them more nutrition too. Not to mention I love them too.

Lastly, my Nanette Lepore one piece swimswuit.  I have a hard time finding a one piece that is flattering and love this one for being stylish, but still "mom" appropriate.  It's currently marked down and you can get an extra 20% with code "bananas".



What are you loving at the moment?



Sunday, June 14, 2015

Stitch Fix #7

My 7th Stitch Fix came on Friday.  I had let my stylist know that I was no longer searching for a chambray shirt, since I scooped one up at J.Crew Factory Store, and that I was looking for summer casual tops.  Breathable fabrics, as in no polyester, and was open to any shorts she might think would fit my style.


When the box arrived, I always first look at the outfit card and read the stylist's note before looking at the actual clothes.   Rachel said she really tried to focus on fabric content and find pieces that would be easy to care for.




First up, the THML Christen Embroidered Tie Neck Top ($54) .  It reminded Rachel of two blouses with tassels I have recently pinned to my Pinterest board.  When I first saw the product shot, I thought it was cute, fairly "anthro" looking which is up my alley.  I was curious to see what it felt like material wise.


When I took the top out of the box I thought I would be sending it back.  The hem isn't a high/low, but it definitely is a tad drapey and appeared to be higher in front.  I thought it would probably hit me at the weird spot between my hips and waist and just overall would have a fit issue.  Surprisingly, I didn't really notice it too much when on and seemed like the cut was flattering.  While the actual tribal inspired print isn't my favorite, I do like the black, white, and aqua combo.  This is a top I can see myself wearing on days wear humidity is high.  Even though it's rayon and not cotton, it's breezy, lightweight, sleeveless and doesn't cling or require a cami.  I can definitely see myself wearing this with jeans out to a casual dinner or over to a friends for a BBQ.   It's basically exactly what I was hoping to receive in this fix, but I'm not 100% in love with it.  I want to try it on again with jeans/jean shorts to make sure the gray shorts weren't playing an optical illusion with the hem length.



It also keeps the kids entertained. 


Verdict:  Currently undecided, but leaning towards returning.  Even though I hoped to get a stylish casual tank for summer in this fix, for the price I feel I could find something a bit nicer quality or grab something similar on sale in a few weeks when all the summer stuff gets slashed to make way for Fall arrivals.  



Next up, Rachel said she included a handful of cotton tops since I mentioned our summers are humid.  This Papermoon Bromley Embellished Detail Knit Top ($48).  I liked the feel of this top, soft and lightweight.  I tried it on the night I received the box, and hated it.  It was a bit awkward in the arms and sort of potato sack in the body.  Nothing special for what I assumed wouldn't be a price I'd find acceptable for a t-shirt.  (I always wait until the end to check the invoice for prices to hopefully not let that sway my decisions)  

I tried it on again to take pictures for the blog, and definitely hated it less. I thought if for some stroke of luck I decided to keep multiple items, I would throw it in for the extra 25% off total, because even though I wasn't in love with it, I can see myself throwing it on frequently to run errands and head to kiddie activities.  Of course, that's generally what I do with my J.Crew v-necks that are fraction of the price.  




Of course, now looking at those pictures, I'm less than thrilled with the cut and sheerness.  Definitely don't think it's worth it's price even if I plan to keep the other items.  Pushing $50 for a knit tee is just ridic, embellished or not, they aren't diamonds.

Verdict: Returned


This Skies are Blue Jayda Dot Cuffed Chambray Top ($58) was the next cotton top.  When I saw the style card I thought if it wasn't for blogging, I might not even try it on.  Considering I just bought a chambray shirt (a bit darker) and I didn't love the split tail detail in the back.  The polka dots seemed a bit too much.  And just basically, thought this was completely ruled out.



And once again, I put it on and actually liked it!  It's really comfortable and despite the shirt tail thing, It feels a bit preppy on which I like.  I also like that it will transition to Fall.  Another one to try on again, but I'm pleasantly surprised and can see it becoming a staple - easy to wear with canvas or denim shorts, white jeans, skinnies and boots.... I'm slowly talking myself into it.  

Verdict: Undecided


Last cotton top is the Brixon Ivy Diaz Embroidery & Crochet Detail Cotton Top ($74).  Rachel said she included this one specifically since I had a similar crochet gem on my pinterest board. I knew immediately from the outfit card this would probably be my favorite.  A flowy blouse, with details, and white (a favorite color of mine to wear despite children).  This also made me assume it'd naturally be the priciest in the box.  (I was right).  Because of that, I was almost hoping that it would have a bad fit and just not be flattering.





Nope, I really like it.  However, as much as I love blouses and have a bit of a collection now, I find a lot of them I don't wear frequently.  Of course, my two favorites are from Anthropologie and were both a pretty penny so I think I usually just save them for special occasions and the two I've previously kept from Stitch Fix are poly blends and just not right for summer.  I'm trying to be mindful if I will actually wear it, but it is another top that will last into Fall.  And I would definitely wear a cami underneath, as I usually do with almost everything I wear, just sayin'.


Verdict: Undecided



Last up, a pair of shorts, Skies are Blue Nessa Printed Short ($44).  Rachel actually mentioned to wear the Papermoon shirt above with them, but that didn't overly wow me as a pairing.  When I first saw the shorts, I didn't really think they were "me", but I'm glad they sent them since I've been wanting to branch out from chino and denim shorts.  However, I've been intimidated to look at shorts like this because I'm afraid they would fit and look like workout shorts or pajamas.  






Again.  I love them.  They are so comfortable, I might just wear as them as pajamas once their fashionable time is up.  While not the most luxe fabric, they don't feel cheap and the cut is perfect for my body.  The waist band is elastic in the back, but flat in the front and it just sits on my hips perfect. There are pockets too, but they lay so nicely I didn't even notice them right away.  I like that they'd be cute to wear out dressed up for a summer date night, something I have trouble with since I really don't wear dresses and jean or chino shorts a bit too casual to dress up.  But they would also work really great on heat wave days where I don't want anything heavy or sticking to my skin. They would look just as cute with a plain tank or tee.  

Verdict:  Most likely keeping


Overall, it's a battle between the white blouse and shorts as front runners.  The most and least expensive items.  I'm going to decide if I'm going to keep more than one... and if I do, then possibly a third or fourth.    What do you think, I would love some opinions!!!



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