Monday, January 30, 2017

Currently...

I feel like there are so many things I want to share, but am having trouble getting a start on any post. I think a "Currently" style post is just what I need to share all the things I'm thinking and doing



Reading: 

One of my goals this year was the cliche, 'Read More/ Read 12 Books in 12 Months' resolutions. With our public library a half mile away in walking distance, I really have no excuses. It's free and too convenient to say I can't there or don't want to purchase 12 $10ish books for my Kindle.
 

I just finished The Nest this weekend.  I saw it mentioned on a lot of bloggers reading lists last year and was a NYTimes Bestseller.  I think it started a bit slow and my reading speed reflected that, I had to extend my two week borrowing window.  However, the more characters that were introduced, the more I'm got into, but overall I wouldn't rave over it.  I would love another recommendation!


Drinking:

Protein Shakes.  Now, that I'm finally getting my butt to the gym a whopping two days a week (baby steps, people, baby steps), I try to make sure I get an easily digestible protein shortly after.  We had been buying PlantFusion 100% Plant Based Protein Powder off Amazon.  It is free of GMOs and Soy.  I loved the taste and it dissolved easily enough in a blender bottle.  However, by happy accident last month we ordered Orgain Organic Protein, which is also GMO and Soy free, but also organic and $10 cheaper as well.  It doesn't dissolve quite as easily, it's a bit more frothy, but still tastes great with almond cashew milk.


Watching

All the feely dramas.  After my Gilmore Girls binge of 2016, we starting watching This Is Us on Hulu and were all caught up when the show came back this January.  And guess because the force of Gilmore is strong, Milo Ventimiglia wasn't enough and we also added in ParentHood too.  So every night is a mix of all the feels.  I have a feeling we will be catching back up on Game of Thrones next, just to get the right mix of violence and testosterone back. ;)


Wearing:

I mentioned I had a hefty haul back when Old Navy did their up to 50% Off active wear sale in the beginning of them month.  Sadly, the pieces were total hit or miss. For the price, you can't beat it, but the sizing seemed a bit all over the place.  A small petite sized cropped legging fits great, but two small petite full length pairs were baggy around the waist and ankles. Most of the tops ran huge as well.  I returned most of them.  I prefer looser tops, especially if wearing leggings, as opposed to skin tight all over, but these were like tents and looked silly.


I did order a few items from Gap since it was after season 40% off on top of other mark downs.  I am sooo obsessed with this spacedye pullover.  It's incredibly soft and fuzzy fleece on the inside and feels nice and thick on the outside.  It retails (around $70) for more than I would spend for activewear from the Gap, but with the discounts I scooped it up for close to $40.  The details are all really great too, zippered kangaroo pockets, slight reflective trim on the thumb hole sleeves - that also roll over like a baby's sleeper into mittens for the cold morning runs, and toggles instead of strings on the funnel neck style hood.  I love this top with leggings, for leaving the gym or even just casually with jeans for school pick up.



Preparing:

I am finally preparing to paint our kitchen cabinets.  We painted the walls pretty soon after moving in, but I wanted to wait until after the holidays to get moving on the cabinets. I started priming them over the weekend so let's cross fingers you're seeing an 'after' photo in a couple weeks.



Rocking:

Two weeks ago I decided to go bold and had my friend (who is a stylist) cut me some bangs.  I wanted some change, but love having my hair long.  I plan on having them grow out, so I'll be able to get them pulled back by summer, but it's definitely a fun look for now.   Two weekends ago, we had a Mom's Night Out for a group of moms in our neighborhood.  We headed Uptown and took over, nothing like a bunch of mom's let loose to scare all the 20 year olds!


What are you currently up to??

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

So Curly with SoCozy! + Sweepstakes




I have shared my love of SoCozy kids hair products in the past, but I'm back again to tell you how impressed I am with a new product line we recently swapped to.  We've now used SoCozy's Cinch 3 in 1 shampoo, conditioner, body wash - which we loved for streamlining our cleaning of everything at once, the Splash after swim line that was a godsend for Ashlynn's blond hair and Kenley's tangled locks after summer days at the pool, and even the Boo! line that helps promote healthy hair with natural scents of peppermint, tea tree, rosemary and lavender that scare away the buggies like lice, which thankfully we have yet to personally experience even though there was an outbreak at preschool last month - yuck!


This time, we were lucky enough to try the Boing line formulated for kids with curly hair.  This line was made for my girls with curls!


Ashlynn has really fine hair that is naturally wavy and wispy, that dries in soft enviable loose ringlets and Kenley's hair is a personal barometer of the current humidity status.  She has true curly locks that form tighter corkscrew curls based on the weather.  Even though, I have wavy/curly hair myself, I've always had trouble with styling Kenley's wild woman hair.  Boing has a been such a rescue product leaving her untangled after bath and returning the natural bounce in her curls as her hair dries.




I noticed her hair is looks better even after a night of bedhead, her curls are more defined then her usual hot mess bird's nest.   I finally feel like I've found the secret to keeping her curls tamed, and restoring them to beautiful and bouncy, instead of wild and messy.



SoCozy is committed to providing children's hair care with "no nasties", just good, clean, honest formulations from ingredients that work.  SoCozy is safe and completely non-toxic and free of parabens and phthalates.


I'm excited to share that SoCozy currently is holding a sweepstakes for anyone who purchases any SoCozy products at Target, CVS, or Walgreens through February 13th, should save their receipt to be entered into their Family Vacation Sweepstakes.  No limit on spend. *IN-STORE PURCHASES ONLY.  Winner announced on February 14th.  Just take a photo of your receipt, like I did above (I had purchased more detangler spray, our morning lifeblood) and upload it the form here.


Sweepstake Package includes:

An all-expense paid 5 days, 4 nights, deluxe family vacation includes - four (4) roundtrip coach airfare tickets, roundtrip airport transportation, one (1) Oceanfront Superior Room hotel room for five (5) nights at The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, FL; one (1) date complimentary Poolside Cabana, two (2) complimentary 50-minute Diplomat Signature Massages; two (2) complimentary full-day Kid's Club passes, Daily Breakfast and Lunch for four (4) people, one (1) dinner certificate for four (4) people to Portico; one (1) dinner certificate for four (4) people to Bristols; three (3) additional dinner certificates for four (4) people valued at $200 each and $100 to spend daily at resort. 

The total value of this prize is $10,000! (read more here: http://socozy.com/blog/diplomat-hotel-vacation-giveaway/)





Good Luck! And Good Hair!




**Disclosure: This post is sponsored by SoCozy and powered by BrandBacker. I received free samples in exchange for this honest review.   As always, all opinions and product experiences are our solely our own.**

Friday, January 13, 2017

Winter Vacation Swimming with Speedo

This post was sponsored by Speedo. I received Speedo products as compensation.


We were so excited for the holiday break, not just of course for the magic of Christmas morning, but for the opportunity to spend the week with family.  We headed back to Pennsylvania for the first time since moving south.  It had been a hard adjustment for the girls who used to be only 15 minutes from their PopPop and Nanny to no longer be able to visit whenever, but PopPop was a genius and was able to get all the grandkids together for a few nights at an indoor waterpark resort over the holiday break.


The kids had such a blast spending time with each other, as they always do, but this time with the added fun of an indoor waterpark.  The girls really grew in their swimming ability this past summer, but hadn't been in the water since Labor Day.  I anticipated that they might be a bit rusty, but they just picked up where they left off.

By the end of the summer Ashlynn was jumping in unassisted and going under all on her own.  She was still wearing her floaties, but we were pretty sure she was ready to start testing the water without them.


We loved trying out her new Begin to Swim fabric arm bands while staying at the waterpark.  They gave her the security she needs while allowing her to adjust to her own body's buoyancy.  These will definitely become the new summer staple as she learns to swim confidently on her own.


Kenley was so excited to have a pair of her own pink goggles that matched her sister's purple set.   Ashlynn's Speedo googles really made a big difference with getting her to put her face in the water, and now Kenley is less resistant to blowing bubbles and getting an underwater view.



And while the kids no doubt had a total blast, we have to talk about mom for a minute.  Rocking a bikini when getting some sun at the beach is something I'm okay with, but when you take away the sand and sun and add in chasing kids, funneling down slides, and shooting water canons at splash pads a bikini is just not the practical choice.  Having a comfortable, yet flattering one piece is essential.  I have been a loyal fan of Speedo swimsuits since childhood, and to prove the test of time, I still have one from high school that I dig out whenever swimming in a gym pool!  I was so excited to wear my new Cross Back Thin Strap suit to the park.  It never came out of place, crawling here or slipping there.   I love the color blocking for giving the illusion of a slimmer figure, which let's face it after all the Christmas cookies, was totally welcomed!



And for when I was running around grabbing drinks, snacks, chaperoning potty trips, and taking nap breaks to recharge in our hotel room, this grab and go cover up, that was as practical as it is cute, was the perfect addition to my luggage.  It's perfect for the waterpark, pool, and beach.  I love all the fitness and recreation options Speedo has to choose from.

Speedo definitely helped prepare my family for our winter vacation and I can't wait to go swimming again hopefully before summer.  Check out Speedo.com for your family's winter getaway needs!


My blog may contain links to other websites. I am not responsible for the privacy policies of those other websites. When you click on a link, your information may be collected by those websites so I encourage you to read their privacy policies. Affiliate links are not associated with Speedo.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Loving Lately

Just a pop in of things, I feel compelled to share with the world... or 5 people who still read here.



The girls' classes were cancelled on Monday due to a delayed start for the school district, so we spent some of our morning at the library.  They picked out this book, Little Red Gliding Hood, and it is seriously sooo cute.  Lots of cameos from your favorite storybook characters telling a new adventure for Little Red who loves ice skating.



I might be way behind the times with this one, but I am obsessed with Crayola Twistable Crayons. It's like crayon meets eyeliner.  Ashlynn loves to peel the paper off crayons which makes me twitchy and a huge mess.  I also feel like crayons are constantly snapping in half, maybe it's because they are naked or because the kids are just actually breaking them in half on purpose, but these twisters are awesome.  They help the girls with their pincer grip since they hold them like pencils.  We have the set that comes with neons, metallics, and multi-colors and they are huge hit.



I was a bit unsure during the holiday what to get for my teenage nieces.  Toddlers I have nailed down, but teens actually have opinions, and actually remembering my teens years vs my toddler, I remember how hard to please I could be.  Since they are southern girls, I decided to go monogramming something and picked up S'well for Target water bottles.  The bottles were on sale for $10 a piece and I was able to get them monogrammed at a local shop nearby. Going through Etsy would have cost double, shop local friends!  They were a huge hit with the girls and to be honest, I kind of wish I picked one up for myself!  This will definitely be on my Mother's Day wishlist.

I stocked up on a bunch of athletic gear from Old Navy last week when it was up to 50% off plus additional 30% off all items.  Everything should be arriving tomorrow, so I'll follow up if it's worth the pennies I paid.  I've never purchased work out clothes from them and was a bit hesitant too, but I've heard good things, so I'll be sure to share my sometimes picky opinion.

What are you currently loving?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Merry Merry

We had such a great holiday break, it was so fun having the girls be old enough to truly enjoy everything we had planned and that magic of the season had to offer.  We baked cookies, waited for Santa and his five firetruck motorcade, sprinkled reindeer food in the backyard, and basically every other standard holiday tradition we could squeeze in.




The girls had a magical visit from Santa, bring Ashlynn her much requested Torch, My Blazing Dragon and Kenley her 'red cash register'.   He also brought a set of wooden bunk beds for their WellieWishers and a highchair for their baby dolls.   They also got some new bath and playdoh toys, hooded towels, clothes, headphones, books, games, and an awesome dollhouse from Bopo and Yaya.






I love the dollhouse because it's big enough, two sided, that they can both play without pushing each other around.  It came will all the furniture which is color coded to each room (so they haven't stuck the toilet in the nursery yet) and is actually sturdy, unlike my plastic and cardboard Barbie Townhouse of yesteryear.  I could have definitely taken the time to customize it all pinteresty before putting together, but I'm glad it's a hot pink, purple, green and orange monstrosity.  Less pretty for me to look at, but definitely more vibrant for them to play with since I don't think they appreciate the white farmhouse and rifle paper flower wallpaper look as much as I do, ha.

We enjoyed a quiet Christmas at home, playing with our new toys and packing up for our trip.  We left early the next morning to head back to PA for our adventure filled trip.  We spent a solid 30+ hours in the car over the week break from school and work, and the girls really did handle it like rockstars.  We visited 3 of 4 sets of grandparents, all of the cousins, old neighbors, and old friends in just 8 days.  Every night was pretty much a party and the January slump was real for that first week getting back to the grind of a routine. A little more from our trip coming up!


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Dear 2017,

see also, Dear Poor Ol' Neglected Blog,

I hope I can return to somewhat more regular posting and inspired content, but last year was just lacking in motivation and effort on all fronts.  The move happened so fast, listing our house in 10 days notice, going under contract in 12, and finding our new home after two trips in just a week after that.  We settled into our new home and immediately jumped in two feet first into all our neighborhood had to offer and all the holiday fun we could have.  Our house has yet to feel like home (to me) and I hope that's something we can change in the next few months.  The same was reflected in my health, with half assed effort for exercise and all the cookies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it's time to get on track on all aspects.

So since I love a good brain dump and list, here are some thoughts and "resolutions" for the new year ahead.


1.  House Tour and Projects:  I would love to share more of our house here on the blog.  It'd be a great way to share with friends and family who keep asking for pictures and details and of course all my readers who still might be around or have any interest.  Our big plans for the year include painting the cabinets and overhauling the landscaping.  We want to take advantage of living in an area with such a mild climate, so the porch, patio, and yard (while small) are something we want to enjoy.  There are some other smaller projects that are mostly organizational or just styling, we'll get there too.

2.  Health: I'm officially in my mid-thirties.  For some reason 34 stings a bit more than any other age has, I'm trying my hardest to keep on top of things like sunscreen/sun exposure and skincare, but exercise needs a kick in the pants.  I was a cliche and asked for a gym membership for Christmas, but instead got a trial run at a fitness studio.  I've taken one PiYo class so far and enjoyed it, tomorrow is Barre, and I'd like to fit in a cycling and HIIT class before I decide if it's something worth joining full time.  I've realized I need the motivation of a class or group because working out my own this past year has been the definition of inconsistent.

3. Mental Wellness:  This fits a bit hand in hand with working out, but I need a bit more peace and 'me time' as selfish as that sounds.  I'm playing solo parent more often with Pete's traveling work schedule, and I find myself burnt out quicker than ever.  The girls have some habits that need breaking, mainly needy bed times routines and tv time.  If we can change that, I could have some more mental quiet time before bed, instead of feeling frazzled and 'done'.   I would like to read more books.  This is another inconsistency of mine.  I'll read 3-4 in two months time then not pick one up for months on end.  I'd really like to set the goal of a book a month.  I checked out Swans of Fifth Avenue from our library before the holiday break and am enjoying it.  Utilizing the library is also something I'd like to take advantage of more often.  It's within walking distance and keeps me from spending money on books, so really no excuses.

4. Habits:  My quick list in my notebook is mostly habits I'd like to improve, drink more water, wash my face twice a day (should I be admitting thats a goal??), clean my make up brushes regularly, exercise (see above), etc.  I'd also like to get back to posting more regularly since blogging has always been a creative outlet, however at some point I lost inspiration it just started feeling like work, so I stopped showing up.

On the other hand, I have also really enjoyed pulling the reins in on social media.  I find the race to keep up, or want, or feeling inadequate really has diminished with the less I use my social media accounts.  I check in my instagram feed usually once a day at most, occasionally on snapchat (which my list of friends is rather small so I can't get sucked into spending hours of time watching other people live).  I'm trying hard to really only follow accounts that I feel connected to or are true source of inspiration.  I might miss out of some cute new shops and sale announcements, but cleaning the junk accounts out has really made a difference and kept it about the relationships with people I care about.


I feel like there is a lot more, but then this will be even more rambly.  Plus it's time for the kids to unplug (my resolution for them!) I hope to recap some of our holiday break.  We had a great time seeing so many friends and family, even if we did spend roughly 30+ hours of the trip in the car, oomph.



Dear 2017... I'll be back!