April and May Favorites

My goodness today has been so busy. I know for pretty much everyone else, it is already tomorrow, but here in Hawaii it is still Saturday, and since I promised my April and May favorites were going to be up today I am going to deliver on that!

Last month I never got around to posting my favorites. By the time I was ready to do it, it was already the middle of May…so I decided why not combine the two months and call it good? So, that’s what we are doing! I feel like this is kind of a random assortment of things, but isn’t it always?

Tory Burch Sunglasses-I know I posted about these a few weeks ago (yes, it is the same picture), but since they came in I have been obsessed. These are hands down my favorite sunglasses, and I am even more stoked about them because they are in my prescription. I love the way they fit my head, the coverage they give, the polarized and slightly gradient lenses, but most of all, I love how kind of cat-eye they are! Retro with a modern twist for sure. It’s going to take a lot to top these sunglasses. I have a feeling they will hold the top spot as my favorites for a while…and this is really saying something since I have three other pairs of prescription sunglasses and at least four plano (regular) sunglasses. Perks of working for a glasses company, I suppose! TB sunNYC Liquid Lipshine-These are the best! I was going to take a picture of my collection, but…I forgot. I’m at a friend’s house babysitting now, otherwise I’d get right on it. Anyway, I love these because they feel so nice on the lips (not tacky at all) and the color payoff is great! Some of the colors are a bit more sheer than others–I wish the coral one in particular was more pigmented–but in general I haven’t found a color I didn’t like. Plus, since these are NYC, you know they are inexpensive! I think they retail for $1.99 or so. Can’t beat that! Since they are just a gloss the color doesn’t last super long, but I don’t even care. We are in a serious relationship and we aren’t breaking up any time soon.

Photo from NYC website

Photo via NYC website

Briannas’ Home Style Rich Poppy Seed Dressing-Y’all…this dressing. Ohmygoodness. The other night we were over at a friend’s house and last minute she decided to make a salad. After looking through the fridge she realized all she had for the salad was lettuce. No joke…because of this dressing I had three servings…yes…of just lettuce. It is so good. It’s like a flavor explosion of amazingness. (Side note…amazingness is underlined in red. Is that not a word? Because it should be. Haha.) I’m actually sitting here typing this waiting (anxiously) for my husband to get off work so he can stop at the store (Safeway) on the way home and buy this dressing so I can finally eat dinner. Am I crazy? Maybe. (Probably.) But I made a salad for dinner tonight and I feel that it would be wrong to eat it with anything but this dressing. So I’ll wait. Only 33 more minutes…

Photo via Target

Photo via Target

Old Navy-Well this one shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who has been reading my blog in the last two months. Pretty much every outfit I have shared on here has been from Old Navy. Their clothes this season are fantastic. ON is usually all hit or miss for me, and I have been winning winning winning lately! I started to become more of an ON fan when I was pregnant because it was one of the only places that I found cute and affordable maternity clothing (I got a pair of fantastic maternity pants for $2.47 on clearance…what?!) and so when I was back down to my normal size postpartum I decided to give them a try again. I am so glad I did! When my budget gets a little bigger and I get this blog off the ground, I’m planning on having an ON gift card giveaway…so spread the word, share with your friends, and keep checking back to see when that will be!

All of my Old Navy favorite outfits from the last few months! 1/2/3/4

All of my Old Navy favorite outfits from the last few months!
1/2/3/4

Jessica Simpson Wallet-I found this wallet at Ross a while back and I am really glad I bought it. It’s the first wallet I have used in a while that has actually stayed organized since I purchased it. I don’t think I have ever had to sit down and clean it out. It has two compartments which I love, and it has plenty of space for all of my cards and everything else. I also love the color so much! It’s holding up nicely and I use it every day, so hopefully it lasts quite a long time.Bottom half 2 Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30-At the very end of this workout, Jillian says, “Transformation is not a future event, it is a present activity.”  I love that! Today was the first day I tried this program. Confession? It kicked my butt. I have done absolutely nothing since having Evan to get back into shape. I have been lucky enough to lose all of the baby weight and am back down to my pre-pregnant weight, but everything is much…squishier. I am definitely not as toned as I was before the baby, and I get winded a lot more easily than I used to. I finally decided I was actually going to get off my butt and do something about it instead of just thinking about doing it, and today was that day. “I just had a baby” really can’t be my excuse anymore at nine months postpartum, and being worried about my C-section recovery can’t either! I’m good to go…I just have to do it! I found these exercises to be challenging but not impossible, and I appreciated Jillian’s motivation through the whole thing. I only made it through just over 20 minutes today, but I am proud of myself for doing something. My goal is to be able to get through the whole thing by the end of next week, and then be completely ripped in 30 days, like the video said. Haha. Serious about the first part…kidding about the second. We’ll see how it goes!Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 I’m giving an honorable mention to Make Up For Ever’s Mat Velvet + makeup. I’ve only tried a sample from Sephora, but so far I really like it. I’ll try it out longer or see if I can find a nice dupe for it and let you know my thoughts.

Wow! I feel like I just talked a lot, but I suppose I was catching up for two months, so it is what it is! In case any of you are wondering, it is now t-minus fifteen minutes until dressing arrives. So. Excited.

Did any of you have any favorite things this month that you think I should try? Let me know…I’m always open to new favorites!

High Five for Friday

This week has been a really great week! Today is super busy for me (not because I have that much to do…mostly because I have a nine month old who wont nap because he would rather stand in his crib and yell and when he is up he is constantly on the move) so, let’s just get right to it because I don’t have a lot of time!

1. This week I have been super on top of the blog. It feels good to have a creative outlet, and even better to be organized with my posts!

2. Erin Condren announced today (finally!) when her new 2014/2015 life planners are coming out in June! I am so excited. I’ve never had her planner before but I have wanted one for such a long time! *Celebrate!*

Image

Image via Facebook

3. I have an awesome new nail design that I have been working on, and hopefully will be able to do tonight when my little monkey goes to sleep. It was inspired by this picture (which I have posted on the blog before, but it’s so beautiful I wanted to post it again). My husband is such a good photographer, isn’t he?

footprints in the sand BJJ

4. Like I mentioned before, Evan has had a really hard time getting to sleep for the past few weeks. Now that he knows how to stand in his crib, he stands and cries instead of settling himself back to sleep like he used to. Naps are the hardest, but he usually wakes once in the middle of the night too and that hasn’t been much fun either. I was thinking that it was because he didn’t know how to get back down, but he can get down from standing when he is playing during the day. I just don’t know what to do to help him get back to sleeping well. If anyone has any tips on how to get through this phase, I would love to hear your advice.

5. This week I tweeted my outfit post with the hashtag #OldNavyStyle, and Old Navy saw my blog and tweeted me back! I thought that was super cool! Haha it made my day.

Dressy vs Casual Collage

Okay, folks. I actually have more highlights that I wanted to share, but that makes 5 and currently my baby and husband are playing with Jenga blocks…like this:

Evan with jenga blocks

I’m gonna go play too! Have a great weekend everyone and be sure to come back tomorrow for my combined April and May favorites post!

Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth, Five on Friday, Friday Favorites, Amanda’s Friday Favorites, Confessional Friday, and Friday Blog Hop!

Favorite Baby Items (8 Months)

Our favorites this month have been mostly food related. And, honestly, most of Evan’s favorite things recently are all things he isn’t supposed to have. You know, things like remote controls, cell phones, daddy’s bicycle, board games, the trash can, cardboard boxes, paper, anything that makes a crinkle sound, the door-stop on the back of the door, and anything he can get his hands on so he can put it in his mouth. Exhausting, isn’t it? Excluding all of those items, here are some mom-approved things that Evan has been loving this last month.

Baby Puffs
Since Evan is all about being independent and feeding himself, these puffs have been a hit. He loves them, and sometimes I have to intervene as he tries to stuff four or five in his mouth at a time. I like them because they dissolve pretty quickly so I don’t have to be too worried about him choking on them, and they are great to help him learn how to chew and swallow larger pieces of food. They are also a really convenient snack on the go, and they are relatively healthy, so I don’t feel too bad about how much he likes them. I haven’t tried the Gerber brand, but we have tried the ones from Happy Family and Plum Organics. The Happy Family ones come in a much bigger container, but they kind of have a nothingness/cardboard after-taste. I prefer the Plum Organics ones because I think they taste way better…although I suppose they aren’t really supposed to be my snacks…

ImageBaby Food Puree Pouches
I really love these for Evan. He gobbles them up! He’s had to deal with a bit of a learning curve when figuring out how to eat them, but I think he has finally discovered that he can suck on the end and get the puree out that way. At first he was just trying to chew on the tip and wasn’t getting anything out…and that frustrated him a lot. He’s learning! I like them because they are super easy to take with me places, they are resealable (although we never have any left over to have to save for later), and they have great flavor combinations. Most of them have a nice balance of fruit and veggies too, which makes sneaking in those veggies that Evan doesn’t prefer a lot easier. The ones we have been using are the Mom to Mom brand from Safeway, but these pouches have become super popular so I’m sure your store has a local brand as well. In fact, I have even seen at home pouches that you can fill with your own puree and reuse, which I think is super cool. If I end up ordering some and trying them out, I’ll let you know how I like them.

ImageMirrors
I wrote about mirrors last month, but Evan still loves them! This kid just loves looking at himself.

Books with faces
Evan really loves to look at faces. He will literally giggle to himself when he sees smiling baby faces and then try to get as close to them as possible (sometimes he puts his face directly on the books) and babbles like crazy. He also loves stuffed animals that have smiling faces. We have a happy frog that is as big as he is that he really loves, and we also have a Charlie Brown doll that he always smiles at. The Charlie Brown doll actually looks a lot like him…and it too is almost as big as he is. Maybe he thinks it’s a friend? Haha I don’t know. I’m still trying to work on getting pictures of our family so I can create a board book of family-faces for him, but for now it’s more of an idea than it is a work in progress.

This Remote Control
As I racked my brain for anything else I could think of that really stood out as something Evan uses all the time, the only other thing I could think of was this remote for our fan. I usually only let him play with it if he has his pacifier in so he doesn’t try to eat it. Don’t worry…we always closely supervise him to make sure he doesn’t somehow figure out how to get to the batteries. He will sit and press the buttons, and every time he presses them he looks up at the fan to see if it worked. Every time he realizes that he is in fact controlling the fan, he has this look of pure joy on his face. It’s the little things, you know?

fan remote controlI have two main “wants” for this next month. To find a bib that will catch all of the food Evan drops while he is feeding himself (and preferably one he can’t rip off easily), and to find a play pen or something of the sort that will help keep him safely in one area but still give him room to move around and play. I saw on the Summer Infant facebook page that they are coming out with a new, lightweight, portable play yard that I am super excited about, so hopefully it will be at a reasonable price point and we can make that one work for us. Our apartment is so tiny that it is somewhat difficult to baby-proof. We have had to think of creative storage solutions for a lot of our things, and it would be so nice to have a safely guarded circle around Evan so I don’t have to be pulling him off of Brinton’s bike every three minutes. I’ll let you all know how that works out, and in the mean time I’m open to suggestions for a bib!

 

One Dress, Two Ways

Can I be honest with you all?

I would love–like really love–to be able to be a “fashion blogger.” I love clothes, I love style, I love love love accessories…but that’s just not realistic for me right now. Maybe someday I will be in a situation where I have tons of readers and sponsors send me amazing pieces or bags or shoes or jewelry that I can style and wear and promote, but that’s not where I am in the blogging world today.

Since I started blogging, the majority of the blogs I follow are fashion oriented. I’ve realized in the last few weeks that since that is mostly what I am reading and seeing on Instagram, that is mostly what I am thinking about.

Things. All the time.

I’ve stretched our budget super thin in the last few weeks trying to pretend I could afford pieces that we simply just can’t…all for the sake of being able to style them and share them here. It finally hit me at the beginning of this week–that is just craziness! I am a firm believer that when you look good, you feel good, but there is so much more to life and so many more important things to focus on. So, that being said, my style posts in the future are going to be a lot more focused on different ways to wear or style a single item. I might not always be exactly on trend or have the perfect bag/shoes/jewelry to accessorize an outfit with, but I will be living within our means, which quite frankly is way more important.

As a side note…if any of you out there reading this want to sponsor my blog or send me things, I am totally on board! Okay…just wanted to put that out there. Haha.

Anyway…let’s get to it.

I mentioned in my very first What I Wore Wednesday post that I almost never find anything at Old Navy that works for me. I don’t know what happened this year, but Old Navy has been almost the only place that I have found things! I am all about comfortable pieces now that I’m at home with Evan most of the time, but I also like to feel put together. This fitted tee dress is amazing. It is so, so comfy and it can easily be dressed up or down. I had debated buying it (because of our budget!), but when I saw one of my friends wearing it in a different print, I knew I had to have it too. Dressy vs Casual CollageI think this color blue is so beautiful! I decided to go with this one instead of a print because this color will work well across all seasons. I’m looking forward to styling it later this year for cooler weather. Well, in theory at least. It’s always 85° and sunny here! And yes, I know I’m super pale for living in Hawaii. I’ve got to make it a priority to get to the beach more this year!

For the casual look, I think this dress would look great with a belt too. I don’t currently have one in my wardrobe that fits the bill though, so I suppose I’ll just have to wait to experiment with that. Sitting to the side Tada pose Bottom half The dressy look is simple and polished. Sometimes I feel like less really is more! I’ve worn this look to work, church, and hopefully a date-night in the near future. Also, this clutch is actually a large Tory Burch sunglasses case which I talked about in my June favorite things post last year. I love multi-tasking pieces! Full outfit angledKneelingAccessoriesWhat are some of your favorite versatile pieces? Let me know!

Link ups! Shanna//The Pleated Poppy//Get Your Pretty On//Transatlantic Blonde//Color Brigade//Tucker Up//More Pieces of Me and On the Daily Express//Trend Spin//Stylish Tuesday//Lovely Thursdays//Tres-Chic Fashion Thursday//Maybe I Will//Look What I Got//Three-fer Thursday//What I Wore to Work//Working Girl with Style//Friday Fab Favorites

Minion Cake

Today is my co-worker’s birthday. Happy Birthday Wilson! It has been a running joke at work for a while now that Wilson looks like one of the minions from Despicable Me (haha sorry friend!), so we decided to make him a minion cake to celebrate the occasion. It was my first time working with fondant, but I think the finished product came out pretty good for a newbie!

Minion Cake 1

Wilson minion collageInside of minion cakeI unfortunately had to leave work before they cut into the cake, and when I went into work yesterday morning this piece is all that was left! Sadly I don’t have a nice pretty picture of the cake freshly sliced, but at least everyone loved it enough that it didn’t last!

I usually bake my cakes from scratch, but for this one I ended up using a cake mix because I knew I wanted to spend the majority of my time working on the decorating. I chose a very basic milk chocolate cake to help balance out the super-sweet flavor of the fondant, and it did help quite a bit. I frosted and filled the cake with a white chocolate ganache (which was so delicious that I ate the leftovers with a spoon) and then I rolled out the fondant and decorated it.

To make the ganache I used 3 parts chocolate to 1 part heavy whipping cream. In this instance I got my scale out and used 900g of chocolate and 300g of heavy cream. This made more than enough for me to fill the cake and frost it, though if I hadn’t been covering it with fondant I’m guessing that it would have been just enough to get a nice thick, even layer around the whole cake.

To make the ganache, I brought the heavy cream up to a simmer until there were small bubbles around the edge, and then I poured that over my chocolate. I rotated the bowl back and forth a few times to make sure that all of the chocolate was covered, and then I let it sit on my counter for about a minute and a half to allow it to start to melt. I then mixed it with a spatula until it was nicely blended. I found that it was still slightly lumpy, so I heated it in my microwave for about 15 seconds on high, which was just long enough to smooth it out completely. I read on a few sites that you can leave it out at room temperature for several hours until it becomes peanut butter consistency, or you can even make it the day before. I didn’t have the luxury of time on my side, so after it cooled to room temperature I put it in the fridge, which helped it set to the right consistency in about an hour. I don’t really know if you are supposed to do that or not…but I did and it seemed to work just fine!

For tips on how to apply the ganache smoothly, I watched this YouTube video by Three Little Blackbirds. Their website is amazing and the cakes they make look beyond delicious. Though the video is super long, I found it to be very helpful.

I made the fondant from scratch following this recipe here from The Baking Beauties, and then followed these tips from Sugar Coated Chronicle to learn how to have a smooth application. I did add significantly more powdered sugar than they recommended when I was rolling it out, but it is so ridiculously humid here that I really didn’t have a choice or it would have just stuck to the counter. Plus, we don’t have air conditioning (seriously what’s up with that, Hawaii???) so between the heat and humidity it was quite sticky. Luckily it worked out well though. The internet really is an amazing place that I could have all of this help at my fingertips!

The cake ended up being delicious, and I am definitely looking forward to working on my cake decorating skills. I’d love to try to make a whole cake with just the chocolate ganache frosting. The fondant always looks nice, but I personally don’t really like to eat it. Granted, this recipe that I used was much better tasting than normal fondant, but I still don’t prefer it. I have three months before I need to make Evan’s first birthday cake…hopefully I learn a little more before then!

Linking up again for Delicious Dish Tuesday! I feel so special because Alesha from Full Time Mama picked my Zesty Chicken Mini-Tacos from last week’s link up as her featured recipe this week. Thanks, Alesha!

PS- None of these links nor the content of this post is sponsored in any way. I just wanted to share with you the websites that were helpful to me as I tried to figure out how to put this cake together!

 

Nine Months

This little man is nine months old today! It’s hard to believe that he is three-quarters of the way through his first year. On Wednesday he will be 39 weeks, 2 days old, which is how long he was inside of me. Crazy to think that we are passing the point where now he has been outside of my body longer than he was inside! It all seems to have flown by, and every day I see a little bit more of the big boy he is becoming. I wish I could just squish him so he would stay this little longer!

This month Evan had so many firsts! He tried a ton of new foods (and boy oh boy can this kid eat!), we celebrated my first Mother’s Day, and he fell off of the bed for the first time (don’t worry…he was fine and I definitely cried way longer than he did). He learned how to sit up from laying down, how to pull himself up to standing in his crib, how to feed himself, and how to crawl…and that was all in the same week! He is becoming so independent, which makes little things like feeding him more of an adventure than it used to be, but I love watching him problem solving when he encounters something new or is trying to do something on his own. I’m sure all mommies feel this way…but my baby is so smart. He knows how to use the remote control to control our fan and is absolutely fascinated by light-switches. Needless to say, there is a lot of on-off-on-off happening around our house. He loves to read and will spend so much time flipping page by page through his favorite books, sometimes “talking” and telling me what is happening in the story, and sometimes just giggling to himself when he sees a funny page. It’s adorable. He is so playful and a complete mama’s boy, and I love this special relationship that we have. I never knew my love could grow so much.

Nine months old, Evan! You’re getting so big!

Month 9 Final

9 Months 4

9 Months 5

9 Months 2

9 Month Collage

9 Months 7

9 Months 6

Our 8 month baby favorites are coming up later this week!

High Five for Friday

Another week has flown by! I don’t completely understand how my days seem so long sometimes, but my weeks seem so short. Funny how that works, isn’t it? Anyway, let’s celebrate the weekend, shall we?

1. I am working on several DIY craft projects right now and I am super excited about them. It has been way way WAY too long since I have had the opportunity to be crafty and I am having a great time allowing myself to take the time to work on some things that I love. A lot of the projects I’m working on are kind of an experiment and I’m learning a lot by trial and error, but I feel like that’s the best way to do it sometimes. I can’t wait to share some of my successes (and probably the failures, too!) with you all. Here’s a small preview!

IMG_5148

2. Since Evan was born in August, I have taken over 9GB worth of pictures and movies of him…just on my phone. In the last week or so I have been getting notifications that I can no longer send/receive text messages, download new apps, or take any new pictures or videos because of the limited space. Even though I keep all of my photos backed up to Google+ photos, I have been really nervous to actually delete them from my phone. Those pictures are Evan’s whole life! My wonderful (and very patient, haha) husband took the time to physically move all of the files from my phone to his computer too so that I would know that they were in a few places and not just in the cloud, and then finally deleted them from my phone. So, hooray to receiving messages and emails again! Sorry if I haven’t responded to you in the last few days friends…I’ll catch up tomorrow!

3. I am working on an awesome, nay, an epic cake for a co-worker this weekend. I am really excited about it and I hope it turns out. Either way…you will see pictures. Because it is either going to be so ridiculously fabulous that you will be crazy impressed with my skills, or it will be such a failure that we can all have a good laugh. Either way…stay tuned on Tuesday!

4. Last week I was looking forward to some “me-time” to do my nails and I’m happy to say I was able to pamper myself after I put Evan to bed. I love this mani…super simple, but still perfect for spring and classy. Plus it looks good on short nails! You can see my post all about Sensationail and why I love (at home!) gel manicures here.

5. Remember that Yoga Challenge I said I started a few weeks back? Well…I did start it. And that was it. I did day one. Haha. The second day I was supposed to do it was crazy, and the exercise for day two was focusing on positive, happy energy and I was just in a bad mood and didn’t feel like doing it. So, last week I re-started the challenge (much more successfully might I add), and I am really enjoying myself. I definitely have a long way to go as far as how flexible and strong I am, but I feel like this is a nice low impact way that I can ease myself back into an exercise routine…because if I’m being honest, I really haven’t done anything to get off my butt and back into shape after Evan came along. I dropped all of the baby weight a few months after he was born, but it’s time to get toned again. I’m nearly 9 months postpartum…I have no more excuses! Do any of you have any suggestions for a workout program or plan? I’d love to know!

Okay…it’s time to go bake a cake. Fingers crossed this turns out well!

Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth!