Month: April 2015

Happy Friday friends!!! I’m on vacation this weekend so this Friday Favorites post is all about my five favorite posts.

I’ve been blogging for 6 months now (though it seems much longer) and I really enjoy it. My job is focused on digital and social media so I can apply a lot of that knowledge to my blogging hobby. I also love that I get to talk about my adventures in being a wife, a mom and a semi-healthy person.

Well, enough about me. Here are my 5 favorites posts from my first 6 months as a blogger:

10 tips to get started running

Running has become a pretty big part of my life. Even though I occasionally take a week off here and there, it’s always the one thing that can help me get out of a funk. Read about how and why I started running, and how you can get started too.

Becoming a mom turned me into a liar

As a parent, you often find yourself telling little white lies to your children just to get through the day. Check out a few of my finest (and most ridiculous) fibs I’ve told my children.

10 thank yous for my husband

This post was really personal for me. I’m not always the best at thanking my husband for the things he does and showing my appreciation. I felt that it was important for him to know I am thankful for the big things he does, along with the daily things he does for our family. I think most wives can relate to a lot of these things. SO let this serve as a reminder to thank your husband often.

A letter to tired moms

I wrote this post after an especially tough day with my kids and was more than a little under appreciated. I think sometimes a mom just needs to hear thank you and be reminded that being a mom is the greatest gift.

Stitch Fix: How to make it work for you

If you’re a regular reader, I’ve talked about Stitch Fix a lot. It took me a few months to figure out how to get good stuff that I really liked and I wrote this after hearing from a lot of people that had the same issue. The tips in this fix will help your stylist give you a better selection of things that you’ll actually want to keep (I just kept all 5 things from my last fix).

Have a great weekend everyone!

Confessions of a tired mom

Before you become a parent, you have lofty ideas of the kind of parent you will be and the things you will (and will not) do. Then you have a kid (or two or three), you survive on a minimal amount of sleep and personal time and those ‘parenting ideals’ go right out the window.

I’m in a permanent state of tired as a parent and I’ve been know to tell a little white lie or take a shortcut here or there to make my life easier. I no longer judge other parents for showing up in pajamas to drop their kids off at school or letting their kids wear a super hero costume to the grocery store. We’re all doing our best to survive and stay sane while we raise happy, healthy kids.

Here are 10 confessions from this tired mom that probably shock pre-kid me:

  1. I have hidden in the bathroom to eat something I did not want to share with my kids.

  2. When my kids wake me up early on the weekends (ie before 6am), sometimes I hand them their iPads and some cereal so I can take a nap on the couch.
  3. I know all the words to the ‘Dora the Explorer’ and ‘Mickey Mouse Clubhouse’ intro songs.
  4. I have used baby wipes and hair detangler as a substitute for a bath when there just wasn’t time for a bath.
  5. I have sat in front of the television watching cartoons after my children have gone to bed, not realizing I’m still watching cartoons.
  6. I’ve told my girls we are out of candy/cookies/etc and then proceeded to eat the rest of the candy/cookies/etc.
  7. Since my kids are too young to tell time, I sometimes send them to bed 15-30 minutes early when they haven’t napped or are tired (or when I’m especially tired).
  8. I haven’t completed my 4 year old’s baby book and I have yet to start my 2 year old’s baby book.
  9. I let my children watch television before bed and even let them fall asleep watching it.
  10. I pay/paid my children to go potty in the toilet during potty training (whatever works right?!?).

Can you relate to any of these or have other mom confessions you’re ready to share?

It’s finally starting to feel like spring here in the Pacific Northwest. Hopefully it’s warm and sunny where you are too! This week went by fast but I’m ready for a (somewhat) relaxing weekend with the fam.

Here are a few of my favorite things from this week:

Stitch Fix #7 was a home run

I received my 7th Stitch Fix a little over a week ago and was blown away by all the cute stuff that I received. Check out my April Stitch Fix Review to see what I got and what I kept, as well as my tips for getting stuff you actually want in your fixes.

Tone It Up Bikini Series starts this week

If you haven’t heard about the girls over at Tone It Up, you seriously gotta check them out. Karina and Katrina are the fitness gurus (and besties) behind Tone It Up, a workout/nutrition program and community. Their philosophy is all about loving yourself and being the best you can be inside and out. Now don’t get me wrong, they’re beyond gorgeous with perfect bodies but I promise they rock.

I started doing their workouts last January and really loved it. I lost about 20 lbs in 6 months and kept most of it off by following them. They post weekly schedules, have lots of youtube workout videos (great for busy moms to do at home) and are great motivators. They have a nutrition plan (that I have not purchased but will probably eventually get around to) that is all about eating ‘lean, clean and green’.

The Bikini Series is an 8 week challenge to help get into shape before bikini season. I love following along with them and other TIU girls on Instagram (which is a great support system). I do their daily workouts/schedule and follow my own lean and clean diet. If you’re looking to get into shape before summer, head over to their website and register for free.

Smoothie time

Smoothies are a big part of my clean diet (and are great food for on the go). They help me get in a couple of servings of fruit and veggies as a meal or snack. They’re also a great way to sneak vegetables into my kids’ diet, since niether of them really willingly eat veggies (except french fries). My two favorite smoothies right now are strawberry almond butter and mango colada. I usually drink one as either my breakfast or as an afternoon, pre-workout snack.

Vacation Prepping

I always look forward to prepping for vacation because A) I’m a planning freak and B) because that means vacation is right around the corner. And as a working mom of two, I really need a vacation!!!

Because I live in the PNW and I’m fair skinned, I always try to tan a bit prior to vacations. Yeah I know that tanning is all kinds of bad for you, but I don’t do it all the time and it’s better than turning lobster red on day one of my vacation and being miserable.

I also look forward to figuring out my clothes situation and paying extra attention to my skin. These two things rarely happen in my daily life because I’m usually splitting up a fight between my daughters while making pb&js. It’s nice to take a little extra time for me before vacation to make sure I look and feel my best while I’m away.

Garth Brooks Concert

I grew up in Idaho, so I’m no stranger to country music. I grew up listening to George Straight, Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks. When my husband and I found out Garth Brooks was coming to Portland, we knew we HAD to go. And I’m SOOO glad we did. Probably one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to (definitely top 3). He played all of his old stuff, despite having a new album out and his lovely wife, Miss Trisha Yearwood, came out and did a few songs as well. If you get a chance, you must go while he’s on tour (plus it gives you a good excuse to buy some cute cowboy boots).

This weekend we’re headed to my nephews’ birthday party and packing for next week. Have a great weekend everybody!

Hello April!!! I’m still sick but trying to get into Spring mode with some cleaning, prepping for vacation and getting ready for an eventful Easter weekend.

Here are a few of my favorite things from this week:

#followfriday

Are you on Instagram? If not you should be! Head on over to Macaroni & Mascara on Instagram and check out these 4 lovely ladies you should be following now!

Stuff yo self

I made these amazing taco stuffed bell peppers last weekend and they were so good. The pepper serves as a healthy (and clean) substitute for a flour or corn tortilla so you can stuff yo self without blowing a day’s worth of calories in one sitting. You can find the recipe in this post from earlier this week.

Starbucks Evolution Fresh smoothie

When I first saw that Starbucks was offering new healthier smoothie options, I was stoked. I mean who doesn’t love smoothies?!? I was not so thrilled when I heard they’d be charging $5.95 for a grande. Boo! I decided to give them a shot, despite the price tag. They come in 3 flavors, strawberry, carrot mango and sweet greens. I was all set to go for stawberry but they were out. So I settled for carrot mango and, to be honest, I was pretty dissapointed. It was really carrot-y and not very sweet (coming from a girl that regularly adds spinach, kale, cucumbers and carrots to smoothies). In fact, had I not paid $6 for it, I probably would have chucked it in the garbage (sorry Starbucks). Maybe the strawberry is better (ie. sweeter)? I say save your money and make a healthy smoothie at home (like this clean strawberry almond butter smoothie), then go to Starbucks for your coffee fix. Starbucks is still a favorite, but their smoothies were not.

March Fitness Challenge Complete

I finished up my March Fitness Challenge. It was tough keeping up with the schedule. There were a couple of days that I missed and had to double up. I made it through and definitely see some difference in my overall strength and body. I took before and after pics but I’ll be keeping those to myself. I’m not ready for the humiliation of putting pics of my mom belly and butt in the internet just yet. If you’re looking for a way to increase strength and muscle tone, I definitely recommend adding this challenge to your regular strength training routine.

#WOLO

WOLO is the couples version of YOLO. We only live once. My husband and I finally got around to putting together an actual list of all the activities, events and trips on our couples bucket list. I hope to be crossing a few of these items off soon and adding new things as we think of them. Want to know what’s on my personal bucket list? Check it out here.

I’m off to prep the final touches for the girls’ Frozen themed Easter baskets then get ready for an Easter egg hunt tomorrow and Easter dinner on Sunday.

Stitch Fix: April review

Oh how I love getting shipping confirmation emails from Stitch Fix! That sweet message saying my next fix is on its way (and knowing that I can cheat and see what it is I’m getting). It’s like the countdown to Christmas. I check my tracking obsessively and then rush to the mailbox as soon as delivery has been confirmed.

This month, I was especially interested in the items would get, especially after writing a post all about how to make Stitch Fix work for you. I would feel pretty silly if I received a dud of a fix.

My April fix did not disappoint. In fact, it’s the best fix I’ve ever gotten, further proof that my tips work! As I ripped into the box and tore through the tissue paper (after documenting with photos of course), I was thrilled at the bright patterns in my box.

First thing I always do is check my note from my stylist. She was unable to get me any of the 6 items I requested by name but she did say she used those items and my Pinterest board as inspiration for the items she did send.

Next I take a look at each item along with the style cards to get different ideas of how to wear the item and what to try it on with.

I gather the coordinating items from my closet that I think might look good with the items from my box, including the proper undergarments (seriously you can’t try on clothes sans bra people). I also usually force my husband  to witness my personal fashion show to get someone else’s opinion. I can tend to gravitate towards ‘mom styles’ (as my husband calls them) so it’s nice to get another point of view, plus I do want him to like what I wear and how I look.

So, here is what I received in my April Stitch Fix.

Kut From The Kloth Galden Button Down Blouse

At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about this shirt. The pattern was fun but I wasn’t sure if I was really into the flowers. My husband wasn’t 100% either. Floral patterns are really on trend for spring and summer, so I figured it might be a good addition to my current closet.

It looked cute with a pencil skirt and jeans. After scouring my closet, I found 3 cardigans that I already own that match colors in the pattern and looked good paired with this shirt (which means lots of versatility). I also tried the shirt tucked into a pair of white wide leg slacks and that pretty much sealed the deal for me.

Verdict: Kept

41Hawthorn Moni Studded Shortsleeve Blouse

I’ve wanted one of the Moni Studded Shortsleeve Blouses since I joined Stitch Fix. I received a medium in one of my first fixes and it was too big. This one was a small and fit much better. It’s fitted enough to show my shape but not so fitted that it shows the stuff I don’t want anyone to see. My husband even liked it (and he generally doesn’t like shirts that ‘cover’ this much).

I paired it with skinny jeans, a black cardigan and flats, as well as bootcut jeans and wedges. Both were super cute! Love the versatility of this top.

Verdict: Kept

Brixon Ivy Lex Textured Floral Knit Fit & Flare Dress

This dress has such a great print and a fun bright color for spring and summer. The fit was right on, showing off my curves and hiding my hips. My husband also liked the scoop neck, which showed a small but tasteful amount of cleavage. I can’t wait to wear it to weddings and parties this summer.

I paired it with a grey cardigan as well as a coral cardigan and it was cute. Thinking it would be fun to try with cobalt blue cardigan or jacket as well

Verdict: Kept

41Hawthorn Colibri Solid Tab Sleeve Blouse

I’m not a huge fan of purple. I actually don’t own any purple tops. I do like how it’s bright and will be great for spring and summer. This shirt fits really similarly to a few other shirts that I own and love. My husband didn’t love it, mainly because he said it didn’t show enough skin (such a guy) but finally came around at the end.

This looked great with skinny jeans and black skinny slacks for work. It was a little long to tuck in to a skirt (too much bunching). I also think it would look cute with white skinnies, which I don’t currently own but I’m thinking of investing in for summer.

Verdict: Kept

Tart Maxine Knit Chevron Jacket

I love the print of this jacket. I wish it was a bit more fitted. I’m also not a huge fan of navy, mainly because I own so much black. I do need another cute jacket for going out (which is what my husband said), so I talked myself into it.

I like it with rolled up skinny jeans, a t-shirt and flats for a casual look. I also liked it with skinnies or bootcut jeans, a cute tank and wedges.

Verdict: Kept

This is the first time I’ve liked every item in my fix. I ended up keeping everything, which saved me over $70 (if you keep all 5 items you get a 25% discount). I probably would have only kept 3 items (in an effort to not go spending crazy) but once I factored in the discount, it was only $10 more to keep the two additional pieces. So of course I kept it all!

Ready to try Stitch Fix for yourself? I’d love it if you’d help fund my Stitch Fix habit and use my referral link. Also, be sure to check out these tips to help you get stuff you’ll actually like from your fixes.

Happy Friday! We made it through another week! This week was pretty busy in our family, especially trying to get over our Easter candy ‘hangover’. My phone also got soaked by a leaking sippy cup and died. Thank goodness for phone insurance right?!?

Here are a few of my favorite things from this week:

Stitch Fix #7

OMG you guys! Last weekend I recieved my 7th fix and it was the best yet! I was so excited with all the items that I recieved. Just proof that following my simple tips for making Stitch Fix work for you really works! Here is a sneak peek at the beautiful patterns but stay tuned for my review post on Monday!

Easter candy detox

After a weekend of glutony and overindulgance on candy, good food and wine, I was feeling sluggish and blah. I knew it was time to get back to clean eating, just in time for our upcoming vacation. I made up some zoodles using my Veggetti Sprializer (which I still love), sauteed up some ground turkey with basil and garlic and added some of my favorite clean marinara sauce (with added veggies). It was SOOOO good. Obviously not your standard spaghetti bolognese but still pretty good for healthy food. I’m already feeling better and have a lot more energy just because I’m eating better and drinking ridiculous amounts of water.

Netflix faves

It’s no secret that I’m addicted to Netflix. My husband and I spend many a Friday and Saturday night binge watching shows since we have kids and don’t get out much. Earlier this week, I wrote a post about 5 shows to binge watch on Netflix with your spouse, mainly because I have a lot of friend that have a hard time finding shows to watch together. These shows are newer and little less popular than the binge watch staples, like ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘Walking Dead’ and ‘Scandal’. Right now, we’re a few episodes into the series ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ on Netflix. I’ll let you know what I think once we finish.

Potty training – slow going (no pun intended)

We’ve been slowly working on potty training our youngest, who is 2 years and 4 months. With our oldest, Lucy, we tried to push her into it and it just didn’t work. We finally decided to wait until she started talking about it and was excited about wearing ‘big kid’ underwear. We’ve taken that approach with Olivia and she’s gradually getting more into it. We tried putting her into underwear for an entire weekend about a month ago and it wasn’t fun for anyone.

Over the last week, she has gotten better about telling us when she needs to go but still isn’t consistant. We’ll keep on keepin’ on until she gets to a point where she ‘gets’ it and we can switch to underwear. While I’m super excited about the thought of no more diapers, it’s a little sad to see my last baby growing up so fast.

Rocksbox

I signed up with Rocksbox (with a free month from Kerri over at Haven Way – thanks girl) and my first box is in the mail. Rocksbox is like a cross between Stitch Fix and Rent the Runway, but for jewelry. You sign up to be a Shine Insider for $19/month and fill out a brief style survey and start adding items to your wishlist. You will get 3 items of jewelry sent to your within 1-2 weeks. Wear the pieces as often as you like until you’re reday to send it back for 3 new pieces. Keep your box for as long or as little as you want. If you fall in love with one or more of the pieces, you can purchase it for a discounted price (plus you get $10 towards a purchase every month). I’ll do a post once I recieve my first box and let you know what I think.

If you want to give Rocksbox a try and get your first month free, I have 2 more promo codes for the month, just leave you email in the comments section and I’ll send it your way (first come first serve)!

We’re planning a relaxing weekend at home. We’ll probably do some cleaning, some coloring and some Netflix binge watching (with wine of course). Cheers!

A few weeks ago, I answered some of the most common mom questions regarding labor and delivery. Here is the next installment of mom questions answered: The good, the bad and the ugly of being a Mom.

What is the worst thing your kids have done?

This is a tough one. I guess the worst would have to be when my oldest was 2 (she’s currently 4 1/2), we were in a restaurant and she threw a glass on the ground. As it shattered on the floor, everyone in the restaurant turned around and looked at us like we had brought a monkey into a restaurant. Needless to say we promptly got the check, to go boxes for our food and left. I don’t think we went out to a restaurant with her for at least a few months after that incident.

What is your biggest pet peeve about being a parent?

My biggest pet peeve would be the constant judgement you get (or at least think that you get) from everyone around you. Whether it’s friends, family or a stranger from the grocery store, I feel like I’m constantly being judged based on the parenting decisions I make. Part of it is people actually saying judge-y things and giving unwanted opinions. The other part is my worry that I’m being judged (which may be in my head). Because of this, I do my best to try not to judge other parents. I feel like we all need to support the parents around us, no matter whether we agree with their decisions or not. We’re all doing the best we can to keep our kids alive right?!?

What is the best part of being a mom?

I think personally, I can often take being a mom for granted, because it really is awesome. I think the best part is when they put their arms around your neck and say ‘I love you mom’. Best feeling ever. It’s the one thing that can take away all the stress and frustration and turn me into a bowl of mommy mush.

How do you get your children to eat vegetables?

The only vegetable my children willingly eat is potatoes, in the form of french fries. On rare occasion, I can get them to eat spaghetti and I sneak extra veggies into their marinara. Check out this post for my marinara recipe and other sneaky ways I get my kids to eat vegetables.

Who is the mom you admire the most?

My mom of course. She was a single mom that put herself through college while I was in grade school in order to give me a better life. She always supported me and pushed me to do my best. She put me through college without any student loans and now she’s an amazing Grandma to my little girls. I hope I can be half the amazing parent she was/is.

How has life changed since becoming a parent?

When you have kids, your life becomes less about you and all about your kids. My weeknights used to include happy hour, going to the gym and staying up late watching television. My weekends were all about going out with friends, weekend brunch and lounging around the house. Now, my weeknights include picking up the kids, feeding them dinner, getting them ready for and into bed, then trying to stay awake long enough to have a coherent conversation with my husband. On the weekends, we’re hanging out at the park, playing outside or inside, watching cartoons, coloring, and binge watching shows on Netflix after the kiddos go to bed.

I love my kids to pieces, but sometimes I miss the carefree lifestyle we lived before we had kids (though I don’t know if I could stay up past 11pm on the weekends to go out anyways).

You are potty training and you find that your little one has smeared ‘poop’ on the wall. How do you react?

In my head, I think I would be screaming mad. On the outside, I would attempt to remain calm while I clean up my child and tell them that kind of behavior is not okay. Then I would hand them a rag and ask them to help me clean it up so they understand the consequences of their actions. This would be a really hard situation to not just freak out, especially for me.

We’ve been lucky to have never run into this kind of situation with our oldest. We’re working on potty training my youngest right now, so fingers crossed that this doesn’t happen (and that if it does I can remain somewhat calm).

When do you find time for yourself?

I’m really bad at this but I try to make it to the gym or out for a run at least 3 days a week (I work out at home the other days) in order to get some alone time. Also, my husband and I try to go out for at least one date night per month to get some couple alone time.

What is your biggest failure as a parent?

As a parent, you would never admit that you have a favorite child, even though you probably do. In our house, the ‘favorite’ situation occurred when we had our second child. I was breastfeeding which meant I was the main caregiver for our second child, while my husband took over a lot of the parenting duties of our first child. This naturally turned baby #1 into my husband’s ‘favorite’ and baby #2 into my ‘favorite’. We try really hard to not show any favoritism towards either child but sometimes we just gravitate toward one child more than the other.

About a week ago, my oldest asked why I give more attention to her sister than her. #PARENTINGFAIL It broke my heart! I never want my children to feel like I show an obvious preference towards one of them. She then said it was okay because her dad gives her more attention than her sister. We’re now making even a bigger effort to show equal attention to each of our girls.

What has been your proudest moment as a mom?

Whenever I see my oldest sharing with her little sister it makes me really proud. She is a great big sister, always giving her toys to her sister to play with, including her in games (or trying to at least), trying to teach her words and giving her hugs when she is sad. I’m so proud to be her mama.

You’re in  the store with a full cart and your baby starts crying frantically…what do you do?

This has happened to me more times than I’d like to admit. I would usually try to distract baby with a toy or one of the items in the cart. I’ve even been known to bribe my children with a cookie or other treat. If all else fails, abandon  your cart, get in the car and try again later.

What is guaranteed to make your child smile?

Tickling is usually my go to to get them out of a bad mood or make them smile. Also, doing something silly will generally put a smile on their face. My husband is much better at this than I am. He’s great about getting down on the floor with them, playing around and being super silly. He can always get them smiling and giggling.

What is the last thing your child cried about?

Earlier this week, my youngest was crying because my oldest called her a baby. I’ve never see two individuals love each other as much as my girls do but sometimes they can be downright mean to each other, without really understanding how they hurt each other. I can only imagine what they will be like as teenagers.

Have you ever been embarrassed by your child?

Yes. Most recently, I was out in a restaurant by myself with both of my daughters (what was I thinking). My youngest was acting up, screaming and generally causing a scene. As I was trying to get her to stop flinging food around with her fork, she proceeded to dump my plate of food into my lap. I was extremely embarrassed. However, I do have to say that it was probably not fair of me to be embarrassed of my 2 year old, for acting like a 2 year old, when I probably shouldn’t have taken her out to a restaurant when she wasn’t really ready for it.

Being a parent is the best thing in the world, but it’s also one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Watching my children play makes all of the sacrifices worth it (even though some night I’d rather drink a glass of wine and go to bed at 7pm).

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