Friday, August 29, 2014


1,826 days of marriage... you know, five years.


Not sure how that happened, but it's been another year full of amazing blessings.  I just hope the next five don't go by as fast!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fall Essentials Refresh

I know we've already chatted about "back to (pre)school" a bit here, although it's not really "back" since it'll be A's first time.  Aside from a some "school shopping" (i.e. buying some new threads for Fall/Winter in sizes that fit), a backpack, and lunchbox, I've done some restocking around the house.

I always feel like September is the true "New Year" and not January.  Seasons are actually changing, school years starting, holidays approaching.  A bit like spring cleaning, it always feels good to refresh at the end of one season and start of another.

New planners purchased, some fresh sippies and tablewear for babies who grow too fast, new bedding, and new shoes for everyone!

Toddler:  I grabbed these metallic gold dot sheets on Brickyard Buffalo a few weeks back.  The vendor shipped them so quickly and they fit the crib mattress like a glove.  I also picked up a new North Face fleece.  She was able to wear her 6-12m size for two years in a row and now we'll pass it on to Kenley. I prefer fleece jackets in the winter since they don't pose a danger if worn in the carseat.  I grabbed this one in a 3T so she'll most likely get another 2 years from it.  And of course, I couldn't resist the toddler Sambas.  We grabbed Adidas sandals for the beach (they were perfect!) and the sporty look spoke to my inner tomboy, had to get these too.  

Baby:  I picked up some new Tommee Tippee section plates since ours were showing a lot of wear and grabbed some more smaller sippy cups.  Most of our sippy cups are larger and are better for Ashlynn than a 9month old baby, but she seems to use any and all without an issue.  Some new Tommee Tippee pacis since we lost half of ours while at the shore and they are the only ones she takes. Finally, a pair of Freshly Picked moccs for when she outgrows her blush set.

Mama:  Keeping with the shoes, my Nikes are dead.  I wear them almost daily since it's so much easier to be in sneakers while running in and out of libraries, grocery stores, targets, and Ys.  I'm a little obsessed with this pair and am pretty sure I'll just be in leggings, hoodies, and sneaks all winter long.   A new planner, natch, and finally a new "wallet".  My ancient signature print coach wallet.. seriously, ancient, is busting at the seams and just so heavy.  I'm downsizing to a J.Crew magic wallet in a effort to keep more space in my bag for diapers, wipes, and baby/toddler gear since I don't use a diaper bag.   Lastly, a Fall candle and a cozy scarf from J.Crew.  Which I'll be throwing on top of daily hoodie, leggings, and sneaker get up.  (You can also score it for 25% Off with code ALMOST FALL)

Do you "back to school" shop and refresh things for the new season?  

**This Favorite Fall Essentials post was sponsored by Tommee Tippee for my Tommee Mommee brand ambassador collaboration.  All products mentioned were  purchased with my own money and all opinions expressed are my own.  Post contains affiliate links.**

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

[Painting] Gray for Days

Oh how I'm resisting the urge to use a 50 Shades reference... mainly because I didn't read the book and don't have plans to see the movie. I'll stick to my teen lit over the smut.

Anyway, I have a giant to do list for our home especially now that we know we won't be making any giant halfway across the country moves.  Since kitchen and bathroom renos are on hold due to all the other giant expenses we incurred when we moved in (roof, floors, water heater, dishwasher, range, furniture and other miscellany), we are going to try to knock out some of the easier and cheaper tasks first.

Our bedroom is one of the only rooms that is still completely untouched.  I often complain that it looks like the bachelor pad dump of an apartment my Husband had when we first started dating.  Faded paint, dated pelmets, and bedding from our queen bed that doesn't fit our king. This room basically needs it all. But the starting point will be a fresh coat of paint.

I tinkered for a while with a shade of Tan, like Manchester Tan, but I've since returned to my gray ways.   I had planned on Stonington Gray, the color we would have used in a boy's room, since I really love the shade.  However, I'm a do your homework kind of girl and the room is big and will require quite a bit of paint so I want to make sure we love it from the start.

Here's my (not so) short-list

(all colors are Benjamin Moore)

And some inspiration shots

Stonington Gray via younghouselove

Moonshine via younghouselove

Silver Song via studiomcgee

Wickham Gray via llh design blog

This isn't sponsored by Benjamin Moore, I just seem to have a crazy amount of their swatches saved up  since I'm a paint chip hoarder.  I think I'm still leaning towards Stonington Gray, especially after finding this feature.  Can I live here please?

What's your favorite gray paint? ...(and don't say revere pewter because we already have it in our family room and at 50% strength in our kitchen)!

Monday, August 25, 2014

No Place like Home

Isn't the Monday after vacation the worst?  I was originally going to extend our stay, but it became a bit of a logistical nightmare since we only had one car and the Husband had to be back for work today.  Being stranded without carseats wasn't really a great plan, so back we came on Saturday so we'd have Sunday to catch up and regroup and it was worth it.  Laundry away, fridge restocked, house picked up and nothing but sweet memories to clog everyone's IG feeds with instead of a to-do list to stress over.

It was an awesome week back in my hometown of Ocean City, NJ. Since my parents have moved away, I haven't been back for an extended stay in years.  Usually just day trips or a night spent at a friends, and we haven't been down together since our Anniversary two years ago when we brought little baby A with us.  

The highlights included:

The most amazing August weather you could dream of.  Only Friday was less than a beach day, but no rain, low humidity, and mostly sunny skies all week.  

Big girl bed.  I'd be lying to say that I wasn't stressing having Ashlynn sleeping in a twin bed for the first time.  Not only were we going to be in a new place, but a new bed.  I was fully expecting a long first night (if not multiple) of getting up, lots of requests, and possibly even having to sit with her until she fell asleep.  We brought along her light up lady bug and tot clock for familiarity and routine.  We tucked her in, said good night, crossed our fingers and shut the door.  We didn't see her until morning when she called for mommy just like I asked her to.  Color us shocked.  She slept like that every night and every nap except for one night where she woke around 11pm and asked me to stay for a bit.  Of course, Kenley the one I was banking on sleeping easy, started cutting a tooth and basically slept in two hour stretches the majority of the week.  

Passing the torch.  Getting to relive my own childhood through my children makes my heart burst.  Toes in the ocean, sandcastles, boardwalk rides, swinging and sliding on the same playgrounds I once lived for and of course, ice cream cones. Ashlynn seriously had the best day ever, every single day.  She was a busy as a bee and happier than a clam.  While we suffered the occasional toddler selective hearing, we didn't experience any tantrums, and she was truly a joy to watch. 

Food.  I took my family and in laws on a tour of some of my favorites eats around (and off) the island, and luckily I didn't disappoint.  Whew.  Nothing like having your favorites that smell and taste exactly as you expect them too.  And having your Father in Law exclaim that he's had the best hoagie, best quesadilla (lobster and crab), and best peanut butter sundae EVER, definitely makes you feel like the hype you gave it all was worth it. 

And with that, it's a detox week around here.  We already changed Ashlynn's crib to a toddler bed and Kenley will hopefully get her sleep back on track, she beasted both her naps yesterday.  Ashlynn starts preschool next week, so we'll be squeezing what we can out of summer before it's gone! 

Friday, August 15, 2014


Soooo happy it's finally Friday!  It's been one of those weeks where I constantly think Monday is Tuesday, Tuesday Wednesday, and Thursday is Friday... so I'm glad we actually arrived at the kick off of the weekend.

We had a pretty fun week, we hit up music class on a rainy Tuesday and capped the afternoon with a Starbucks run for me, where I ended up with my hot latte and the iced version they made by mistake.  Although, I did spill half the hot one all over myself trying to get out of the car, but nothing some quick laundry and Frozen didn't fix.  Wednesday we finally headed over to a local indoor playground that our Mommy group advertises.  It was a cluster.  I thought it'd be empty being summer and people vacationing... um, duh.  Use your head, kids are out of school.  It was insanity in there.  We met up with a friend and left after about 40 minutes.  We'll try again once the older kids are back in school and hopefully the little ones can run free without being trampled.

Yesterday, one of our local libraries had a "Bitty Baby Storytime" featuring the local dance school.  The dance teacher read a few Bitty Baby books and led all the kids (and Bitty Babies) in some dances.  Ashlynn's attention span started to wander by the 3rd book, the one we actually own, and Kenley freaked when she wanted to hold Ashlynn's sippy and Ashlynn took it from her.  Not wanting to be the mom with the meltdown baby we left early.  A good effort, 30 minutes.  Maybe we'll try next time... in two years.

I'm dually excited and sad that we winding down the end of summer.  I find it crazy that some kids, in other states, are already back to school!  Growing up, school always started the Wednesday after Labor Day.  I think this might have been because we lived in a shore town and most of the local high schoolers were the main source of employment for the tourism economy (i.e. everyone worked on the boardwalk and if the kids were in school there'd be no one to sell ice cream and operate rides).  The schools where I live now start the week before, which still seems early, but I'm feeling for the kids already back - it's still SUMMER!!  I'm glad we get to soak up some summer beach fun, have some time to adjust and then Ashlynn will start pre-school herself after the holiday.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

[Review] My First Book Series

Like most babies and toddlers, A and K love reading.  Well, more like being read to, but the girls both love books.  Kenley may just enjoy pulling them off the shelf one by one and then trying them as an appetizer, but Ashlynn definitely goes in a merry-go-round of her favorites.  Jumping from short, funny, baby style board books, to prettier paper paged picture books, to longer Dr. Seuss stories and tales with learning concepts.

When Sophie Helenek reached out to me a few weeks back to see if I would be interested in checking out her award winning My First Book series and share them here on the blog I jumped on board.  I'm one of those people who has a habit of tossing in "one extra thing" when shopping and it's usually a book. I actually have a pile hoarded in a closet so I have something to pull out on rainy days or to save for Santa.  I had also been feeling guilty recently that most of those books were more geared towards Ashlynn, longer and with paper pages since her comprehension is growing.

Receiving a new series for Kenley, geared specifically for babies, made me really excited and the series did not disappoint.  Each of the four books -Fruits, Shapes, Musical Instruments, and Sky Wonders have vibrant colors and simple concepts, there may not be much story telling, but the language skills and sensory awareness is apparent in each book.  Simple books like this help encourage vocabulary and develop attention span.  I also helps babies learn some of their first words.

What surprised me the most was how much Ashlynn liked the books.  I thought since they didn't tell a story she'd be too advanced for them, turns out they offer so much more than just the basic concepts for baby.  After receiving the books a week ago, she has pulled out the Musical Instruments version almost daily.  She now correctly identifies trumpets, violins ("bi-lin"), flutes, and saxophones in addition to the pianos and guitars that initially captured her attention from familiarity.  She'll tell me all the colors included on each page, which ones are not in sequence (which flute is backwards? what pianos are upside down?), and of course count how many on each page.  Each of the books offer similar concepts so there is always a concept to work on as your child grows from baby to toddler. 

These would definitely be a great shower gift, especially if the hostesses are collecting a "library".    I'm planning on bringing them with on vacation to pull out while waiting for meals out.  Something to capture Kenley's attention other than silverware and something to keep Ashlynn engaged and learning and not begging for our phones or tablet. 


Thank you to Sophie Helenek and My First Books for allowing us to review the My First Books series.  As always all opinions are 100% mine.  The My First Book series is available at

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Beach Scene

Add it to my list of pet peeves, or just call me snobby, but I have major beef with family portraits on the beach.

Yet, the Husband and I decided to surprise my In Laws with a professional shoot while we are visiting next week.  We lived with them for 5 weeks between moves last year and amongst all the other things they do for us, I thought this would be a great and over due "thank you".  My mother in law is always trying to get family pictures when we are together at Father's Day and they usually end up being taken on someone's point and shoot with someone missing, kids all over, and generally turn out not being any you'd want to stick on the Christmas card, let alone the wall.

Anyway, back to portraits on the beach.  Probably because I grew up at the beach and have seen the abundance of the cliche family photo, everyone in rolled up jeans and white collars sitting on the upside down lifeguard boat or kids hanging on the stand at sunset. Or the sea of khaki bottoms, and navy on the men, white on the women.  It just scream 90s to me and makes my skin crawl like socks with sandals.

However, trying to put together some coordinating yet stylish outfits with some personality ended up being harder than I thought!  Generally, I love denim and neutrals to begin with and I really didn't want to get too dressed up and instead be casual, be ourselves.  I also wanted to shop our own closets if possible.

I bought this Leifsdottir top with my Mother's Day gift card and still haven't worn it since I haven't had an excuse to put on a top pretty enough to avoid peanut butter fingers.  I tried to keep us in toned down colors since I do hope to have a shot or two worthy of stick on our wall and am trying to keep that in mind.  Something classic.  In the end, I'm pretty happy with it, but also slightly bored.  Going to stick with safe over sorry, and apologize to myself that I basically succumbed to what I started this post off saying I hated... oops.

Monday, August 11, 2014


Another Monday, but another memorable weekend for the books.

Friday morning, we headed to Toys R Us.  I had a return to make and went with the mission of getting Ashlynn a helmet. She's become quite the daredevil riding her (powerless) four wheeler down our somewhat steep driveway into her daddy's arms.  

She was pretty impressed it with it.  

Saturday started with breakfast and beasting a bunch of weekly cleaning.  After I snuck out at Kenley's morning nap to get Starbucks and a pedicure.  I think the last time I was got one was prepping for the wedding I was in back in November a few weeks before Kenley was due.   When I got back, A was happily having a snack with her dad and Kenley still sleeping.  After naps we headed to the mall.  My denim shorts are pretty much falling apart, which isn't surprising since they pre-date Ashlynn and lasted two pregnancies. We swung in AE (since that's what my last pair was, which I clearly have worn to denim death) and the shorts were 60% off - $14.99.  I know J.Crew is having great in store sales too, if anyone is looking for some last minute summer goods at really low prices. 

After we headed to Build-A-Bear.  We've never taken Ashlynn before and I promised her a trip to the Teddy Bear store.  Naturally, she picked the bunny over the bear.  She's always a bit (a lot) shy, so she didn't get really into the rubbing and jumping to "start the heart", but she was having a blast and I think I jumped enough for her.  She loved giving New Bunny, his name, a bath and brushing his ears after.  Pretty sure, that made her whole day, but we weren't done.  We stopped out for dinner at Zoe's Kitchen, one of our favorites because it's quick, cheap, and delicious - and Ashlynn always eats her quesadilla.  So then we went for ice cream.  Solid toddler day in the books. 

Sunday started too early with both kids getting up before they should so we headed to Panera for bagels.  We hit Wegmans to do our shopping for the week after and were home before 9am.  Kenley took a nap, Mommy Ashlynn played with sidewalk chalk and after lunch we hit the pool.  There was also quite a bit of golf watching mixed in there, but isn't there always?

And we've(I've) been Rickie Fowler fans for years.  I started Ashlynn on the bandwagon last year too!

I tried giving Kenley a bath with a laundry basket, but it wasn't much better.  She did sit a bit more, more I still had to get into the tub to hold her since she was standing a lot.  Hopefully she just learns to sit at some point, I'll try to keep with it and see if it gets better.  In other news, I think she might be getting another tooth, standing on her own for a split second before squatting down, and she's slowly starting to walk with her walker. Full out saying Mama and finally getting some "da da" sounds, just hasn't used them with purpose yet.  

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

On my mind...

Just a post of some of the random things that have been on my mind, happenings, or confessions.

After losing cable and internet twice in the last 10 days, we are really thinking about canceling Comcast once and for all.  We talked about it back in the spring and even got an antenna for the basement tv, but we are finally going to look back into Roku or Apple TV.  We have Amazon Prime too, which we really should set up. We are just both too lazy to figure it out and are waiting for the other one to break.


I eat ice cream every night.  I seriously don't know how I was able to give up dairy for so long when I did while nursing Ashlynn.  I could probably quit it again, as long as I was allowed ice cream.  And if we are getting specific, even with the twenty fro-yo places nearby (I swear there is one in every shopping center), nothing beats a chocolate reese pieces blizzard from Dairy Queen for me.  

Yesterday my best friend came over and we took Ashlynn (and Kenley) out for ice cream.

I still had more ice cream again at night.


I recently started working out again, mainly just running and doing circuits in our driveway.  I need to start getting back to the gym and maybe after we get back from vacation, I'll make that part of our routine.  The problem with working out is I become a serious bottomless pit.  Nothing is safe and my workouts definitely don't negate the calories in. See above regarding ice cream.


Bathtime with Kenley has become my most dreaded... part of the week?  Okay, so she gets more than one a week, but it's definitely not daily.  And it's become a two man job.  Daddy has to hold her while I wash her.  I had been bathing her in the baby tub, placed inside our master tab so I could get in and hold her as she thrashed around.  When she finally started standing a month ago, she'd try to stand and climb out when I'd wash her hair so I finally started giving her baths in the regular tub with very little water.  She basically is in awe of the drain and will reach over to grab it, or the faucet, or just still try to stand.  It's become impossible for me to hold her securely and use another had to wash and rinse her.  Last night, she might as well had a jumperoo in the tub since she stood and kicked the whole time.  I'm looking into buying one of these, but I'm afraid she'll just try to climb out.

Bathtime is anything but calming and soothing.  Any one else have or had a wiggler on their hands?  Advice?!


Back in May, an opportunity came up for the Husband at work that would have brought us to Houston, TX.  A very long story short, after months of delay, we finally put it to bed in July and will be staying put here in Pennsylvania.  It definitely wasn't a place a ever imagined moving, but I was up for the adventure, and may still be getting alerts from Trulia that I need to cancel.  However, we had put so many things on hold "just in case".  We are finally back in the mindset of putting time and energy (and money) into some home improvements around here.  We haven't touched our Master Bedroom since we moved in, so I'm dying for it to be painted.  Hopefully professionally, because I'd be okay never cutting in again and it's a pretty big room that needs a good coat of primer too.   I'm also itching to really "finish" the playroom so it's not just a bunch of haphazard toys organized around the wall, but a stylish and functional space for the girls to grow into.  Craft station and artwork display, dress up bin, and yes, more storage and organization!

Don't be surprised if more home decor mood boards start popping up around here!


In the meantime, you can catch us working on this!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Bringing in the Bold

I was recently contacted by Chairish, an exclusive curator approved, online marketplace for vintage furniture.  I checked out the site and was really impressed.  I am anything but an antique or vintage shopper and would most likely never find a gem at a thrift store and this site takes out all the guess work.  Since everything is approved by Chairish's curators, you can feel confident you are buying a real quality name vintage piece of furniture or decor and not a someone's random craigslist cast off. 

Chairish challenged me to step away from basic neutrals and go bold by sharing a styleboard around an accent chair taking a room from white to bright. 

I was given a selection of actual Chairish curated chairs to choose for my project. The styles ran the gamut from victorian to mid-century modern.  No style period or (BOLD!) color was left out.  I ended up choosing a turquoise barrel chair with a greek key pattern upholstery.  It's tufted buttons are even a bright neon, this chair is anything but subtle.

However, my usual design esthetic is!  I love breezy whites, light greys, tans, and grounded black or navy.  Cool hues of blues are always where my eye is drawn, and natural earthy greens.  A girl from the ocean, it's just in my blood!  

I started a styleboard and immediately realized I was failing the challenge!  I was going with my tried and true breezy shore style, but since I still felt I was able to incorporate this fun and eclectic chair, I wanted to share what I came up with.

candlelabra | mirror | coral | vase | sideboard

After going back to the drawing board, I realized it wouldn't be "me" to come up with some crazy modern and bright room, so I swapped some of the more neutral and safe items for others with more color and punch.  So similar style, just with the color dial turned up!

A lot of the items included are pretty affordable and either found at Target, Joss & Main, Rugs USA, and One Kings Lane (some are currently available now!)  We actually have the Mayes Bookshelf in our family room, and love it's look.  I'm also dying for a art piece by Jennifer Latimer or a Thom Filicia print for our own home.  Chairish has a great selection of decor items and artwork as well, and you can even shop by your city to see what is local to you (for free pick-up).

And for FTC disclosure purposes, this post wasn't sponsored (paid or perked) in any way by Chairish, I was just asked to create a styleboard for them using one of their bold chairs and really fell for their site's mission.  Definitely helps the non-vintage shopper in me feel better about buying pre-owned pieces!  However, if you would like to save $20 off an order of $100 or more or other perks, sign up for their VIP List.

Which style do you like better?? 

Monday, August 4, 2014

[Giveaway] Sugar Bit

I love giveaway Mondays!  What cures an end of weekend hangover better than the chance at winning stuff... and cute stuff at that from Sugar Bit!

I'm sure a lot readers already follow Natasha, of Hello! Happiness, but if not, she is one sweet Southern Mama of two (adorable) girls who are fifteen months apart... making her one of my superheros! Her blog is amazing, but what's even more admirable is that she took a chance on a dream and opened online boutique Sugar Bit.

Sugar Bit specializes in staple girls and boys clothing options for newborns to 4-year olds, exploring designers across the country selecting high-quality and versatile garments that are truly for any day or occasion.  Dress up clothes to cuddly pajamas.

Natasha was so sweet and knew my inner girl mom longed for a cute set of matching or coordinating outfits for Ashlynn and Kenley.  As I mentioned a hundred times just last week, we are heading to the beach for family vacation in less than two weeks, and these Cukees Sailboat Dresses (now on sale!) just fit the Shore vibe I'm running on.  We will definitely be packing them along for some beach side sister pictures, that hopefully turn out a bit better than our test run.

(insert raised eyebrows emoji here)

Sugar Bit believes kid fashion should be fun, playful, and easy to mix and match.  Offering a wide variety of brands to suit both traditional and trendy tots, Sugar Bit stocks well known designers including Pink Chicken, KicKee Pants, Peaches 'n Cream, Anthem of the Ants, Tooby Doo, Flit and Flitter and Silkberry Baby, among others.

Feeling lucky this Monday morning?? Enter win a $50 shop credit below and check out both Natasha's blog and Sugar Bit!

a Rafflecopter giveaway