Bring on Summer

We have made it through the Tent Sale!  I’ve been with Joe for 10 years now, so the actual sale is nothing new and through the years I have been able to keep a pretty optimistic outlook.  I used to dread it and hate him working so much, but one day it clicked.  He explained it to me that it is like his “Super Bowl.”  The biggest sale of the year where he will be able to make the most money and provide for us.  Now of course we have added two kiddos and now a puppy, and we still have Holly so life at home solo parenting is anything but easy! He works 9-10+ almost two weeks straight and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hard.

But we did it.  We both put in the hours and time and somehow we are already on the other side!! It is nice that Father’s Day he gets out earlier and we can have a nice dinner and some family time.  Tonight will be his first weekday evening off in a very long time!

My father had his surgery and they did have to remove one of his lungs, due to cancer.  He’s home now recovering, but it’s not easy for him and I am still praying for a safe recovery.  He also closed his family business after it being in the family 138 years.

The real estate business is super busy and of course I was picking up most of that while Joe was working crazy hours.  I even closed a deal on one home by myself! That was exciting.

I stuck to my 10 day cleanse, (other than a built in cheat meal with Father’s Day dinner and some bubbly.)  I’ll post more about it, but I did lose inches and pounds!  Honestly, I think not drinking and eating the best foods possible was the perfect combo for that time; it could have been super stressful and I could have lost my mind but I was really in a great place!  A few meltdowns here and there, but considering all that was happening I’m super proud of myself.

We are now planning our Summer getaway for my mom’s wedding; we will be visiting South Carolina where she will get married on a beach.  We will get to escape to Savannah, Georgia just Joe and I for a few days! We plan on ending our trip in downtown historic Charleston.  It will be the first plane ride for the kids and our first true beach vacation as a family.  We are pumped!

As for the rest of this week?  We have plans to go to our little beach tonight, though kind of cool, dinner at one of our favorite Italian places and a family day at a local amusement park Sea Breeze on Friday.  This weekend we have a sitter for an evening–woot! Date night here we come.

I have got to say all of the work I’ve been doing on myself has landed me in a really sweet space, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.  Life is damn difficult at times but taking time to feed my mind with really great reads has literally brought me to new levels.

I know this little blog here has taken a back seat, but not for much longer.  I have lots of thoughts to share and now that I am where I am, it’s time to take off.  I would love to hear what you’re most looking forward to this Summer?

  • Summer Reading
  • Spray Parks
  • Date nights
  • Amusement rides
  • Family time
  • Blogging
  • Tanning (spray mostly!)
  • Outdoor workouts
  • Dining al fresco
  • Traveling
  • My Birthday
  • Our 8th Anniversay
  • My mom’s wedding
  • Kids going to day camps
  • Beach days
  • Living

Letting them be Little

Ages three and five are so special!  On one hand, they’re not little itty bitty babies, but on the other there is so much they can’t yet do! If there is one thing I constantly focus on, it’s letting them use their imagination.

In world of On Demand TV, iPads, phones, Kindles, etc…it’s so easy to let the hours pass by and let the littles indulge.  I’m not saying we never use technology, we do!  The kids love Angry Birds and have a ton of fun little learning games.  We just try to limit the time they’re on it, like maybe a little in the morning while some family members still sleep…or if we are stuck inside on a rainy day, or even if we’re just feeling low key.

BUT, as the weather has gotten nicer, we are teaching them that using your imagination is much more fun!  It’s amazing what they come up with on their own. The latest favorite was “pretending to fly a drone like Daddy.”

They were using this toy and running room to room, window to window looking for their pretend drone.

Time is fleeting; I remember being excited when our store got these new green carts and they could both sit & drive together…someone is getting too long and not quite fitting any more though.

Changing of seasons meant new clothes!  This boy outgrew all of his clothes from last year and we headed right to Wal-Mart to grab some cute and inexpensive shorts.

This one goes through phases; will I be a kitty? A puppy? A human? She’s also obsessed with the movie, Matilda.  Her personality is something else for sure!

We took them for the first official ice cream of the year.  Someone was not happy he had to wait for mama to snap a photo.

We signed them up for Spring Soccer.  They do pretty well! This dude hasn’t done any classes of any sort quite yet, other than mini camps at the Y in the Summer.  He loves dribbling the ball and scoring goals!

Her class gets a little more into game playing etc, and she’s pretty good too! Daddy has fun ‘coaching’ her from the sidelines already.

If it’s one thing that is super tough for me, it’s finding the time to cook healthy meals while working the real estate, keeping the house, the puppy, pre-k, dance class…it’s as if I world went from 0 to 100 real quick.  I found myself getting into the chicken nuggets and whatever zone. FAIL.

It may not be the BEST option, but since dance classes are the hardest nights, I try to keep it easy.  This night it was a run to Wegmans for a rotisserie chicken, carrots and Brooke loves shrimp.

We all know how important lean protein and veggies are, so we are working on that.  I also made yummy blueberry flax muffins the kids were obsessed with. I’ll share that recipe as I need to make more!

We helped organize flowers for the pre-k fundraiser, so Bradley got to sit in on snack time.  He fits right in!! I know he’ll be more than fine next year. I can’t wait to see him grow leaps and bounds.

Brooke loves shoes and we recently added some jelly shoes to our collection. Who remembers these!?

Batman helped me make dinner.  He loves stirring and dumping the ingredients in.  Actual forming the meatballs? Not so much.

In this crazy season of life, there’s not much I can control.  I can’t even keep my floors cleaned for too long with a puppy, but I’m trying to just keep up as best as I can, ignore the mess and focus on at least one clean spot.

Buying flowers/candles helps too.

I thought about getting rid of the stroller, but it seems we are just not quite ready.  I’ve been pushing this thing around for 5 years and it’s still going strong. They are a load to push but they still love it and man it’s a good workout!

They use my old phone to take photos/videos and there’s always a surprise or two when I check.  Selfies of her feet in her water table. I about died.

We had our last “helper day” at Pre-K and it was Teddy Bear day!

Her and her bestie at school.

The last time she’ll hug these puppets…

The last time she’ll ring the bell…

To have been able to step in and be there for these helper days is not something I will take for granted.  I sometimes get caught up in the whole, “I should be doing more” (thank you Pinterest) but I have to turn that thought around and focus on all of the good and positive things I have been able to do.

I think back to the little 3 year old girl we sent off to preschool two years ago, and I stare in awe at the beautiful and silly 5 year old that will be walking out.  She said she was scared of Kindergarten, and I understand that a new big building will be a little scary, but she will thrive and flourish.  I can’t wait for all of the new things she’ll learn and do in school.

We never know if he’s going to be Batman, Spiderman or Black Panther.  He even ran around the house as Captain America the other day.  He insisted that he had to sleep with this mask on…so I let him.  I then crept in and removed the mask for the night after he was sound asleep.

Being a momma is …

exciting.

scary.

exhausting.

magical.

worrisome.

awesome.

I could go on and on about what I thought motherhood would look like, but really you just have to welcome the season you’re in and just be. 

The more I try to primp, prod, fix, set up, worry and try to control, the worse off we all are.  If I can just get up each day with a happy mindset and just do my best, we all have a better day.  Sure there are times when I’m ready to pull my hair out (enter a 3 year old who is so tired he didn’t want to nap…and then he falls asleep in the middle of the hallway as opposed to his bed.)

I just keep telling myself, this is 3  or she’s 5.  It’s just a season.  You’re going to miss this. Life won’t be crazy all of the time .  I even go as far as to picture myself lonely and alone with nothing to do but read a book…and that usually makes me teary eyed, so I will give into one more bedtime song, cuddle or kiss.

I’ll embrace the mess that is.

This is what life and motherhood is about…the little and mundane moments that together create our very existence of memories.

Mother’s Day 2018

I still can’t believe that I’ve been a mom for 5 years.  It seems like yesterday I was just meeting Joe, but really that was ten years ago.

Crazy.

Sunday morning Joe got up with the dogs (after miss Bailey woke me up at 4:30!) around 7 and shortly thereafter Bradley woke up and then Brooke.  Joe wanted to go grab some breakfast for us and took Bradley.  It was nice to just lounge in bed with my girl!  Soon the boys were back with breakfast bagel sandwiches and my beloved Green Tea Latte from Starbucks.  It’s one of our favorite little traditions in the Summer–he pops out for a bit and brings back treats.

He knew I was out of my water bottles; I either lose them or I wear them out!! I’m loving the ones that keep your water cold all day.  Thanks babe!

Brooke gave me two cards and a potted plant she made in pre-k. So sweet!

We just had a nice quiet morning; Joe went and visited his grams with Bradley, and I did some dishes and got ready for our outing!

This year I wanted to go out for brunch at one of our favorite restaurants, The Revelry.  My dad, step-mom & sister joined us and it was perfect!  We enjoyed lots of oysters, cornbread, and I ordered mimosas & shrimp and grits.  OMG so GOOD!! Anyone have a good shrimp & grits recipe?? I need to try to make that at home…

The kids were excellent and loving their special tiki drinks, aka pineapple juice.  We went for a little drive afterwards and then home.  Joe took Brooke to grab some dinner items, while I cuddled with Bradley.  Heavenly!  Once he got home, Bradley ran downstairs and I was alone watching Fixer Upper for about an hour.  I honestly didn’t know what to do with myself!  It was weird, but enjoyable.

I came downstairs to quite a spread! My husband had his new smoker going, the grill, stove and sous vide.  Not to mention the chaos that is our children/dogs all together around dinner time.  I definitely giggled as I heard from above the noise.

 

Caprese salad, green beans, sautéd mushrooms, bone marrow with garlic crostini and a dry aged steak we picked up at the meat market down town.  Holy. Cow. It was so amazing! I couldn’t believe how delicious it turned out to be…even down to dessert which was a mini key lime pie he grabbed at Wegmans.

It was a beautiful day; no stress and full of love and relaxation…and full bellies!

The boys.

I am for sure one blessed momma.

Thank you Brooke and Bradley, for making me a better person.  I didn’t know the depths of love and selfless giving until I had you.  You two make our world a much better place by being in it.  Thank you for choosing me to be your mommy.

Meeting The Real Housewives

Saturday night my friend got us tickets to go see some of the Real Housewives at a nearby casino.  We were going to make it a real “Girls Night” and stay in the hotel, have a nice dinner, enjoy the show and SLEEP IN the following morning.  However, #momlife called and Brooke had dance pictures scheduled for 8:30 the next morning. #Awesome.  It’s all good though we made it work!  My amazing husband arranged to get out of work early so that he could drive me (it’s a bit of a drive and I didn’t want to drive home late alone). We had a couples dinner and he played some Blackjack, (and won!) while Ann and I were watching the show. In all honesty, the TV series itself doesn’t do much for me any more…and I can only tolerate it in small amounts, BUT I have always loved me some Teresa Guidice and I may or may not have read/own most of her books!

I decided to bust out the Loubs for this special occasion!

This girl and I have been friends since Freshmen year of college–straight up first day of school we met!  1999…we majored in the same field, Secondary Education English.  She may have taught me how to party and to rock confidence like no other.  I was her maid of honor 13 years ago, and she was mine 8 years this July. We live 2.5 hours apart and between jobs, kids, and life, we rarely get to see each other!! But when we catch up, watch out world!

Ann and her husband Brennan

My sweet hubby!!

Aside from the delicious bottle of Rosé bubbly we shared, and oysters, this dish was outstanding! Lobster, shrimp & scallops in a scampi sauce over asparagus.  I died! I will be recreating this dish in the future!

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We sat 2nd row, yes SECOND row!! She hooked us up with these seats!  The stage was set up much like Live with Andy Cohen and the whole bit was a Q&A sesh with our questions! One of Ann’s questions was picked!

It was pretty entertaining and the crowd was fun.  Teresa, Ashley & Brandi were really down to earth! Ashely is hysterical and Brandi is a bit of a #hotmess but hey, aren’t we all? She is definitely more on the raw/raunchy side.  Teresa was really quite calm and really cool.  She did mention “camp” which I giggled at because, girl, I love ya but jail is jail.  She did say however, she often wonders if she should have done the show or not.  I can’t imagine putting my life on display like that for all to see…it takes guts I tell ya!

We decided right before we went in to do the “meet and greet” which just meant getting a few hugs and photos.  The cost supposedly went to a charity, but when do we ever do stuff like this? Never.  I am not mad about paying a little extra for this experience!

Ann was the first in line to get her photo op!

I can’t remember exactly what we were all laughing at but I could have stood up there and talked to them for awhile!

I really wanted to hug T and I totally #fangirled and told her how I have all her cookbooks and that she’s totally my favorite. As I went to walk away after photos, I did tell her good luck and that she’s a great mom.  Lord knows us mommas always need extra support. With her husband in jail, and just losing her mom, I can’t imagine how hard it must be raising 4 girls on her own.

They were all so nice!  The only bad part was how quick it went! I could have curled up with another glass of bubbly or two…

I think it was Brandi who said something first, but the next thing I knew, they were all complimenting me on my hair! LOL

The all wanted to know who does it and how does it look so healthy! I about died.  I get my hair inspiration FROM The Real Housewives so it made my night.

As I turned to leave Teresa asked, ‘hey what’s your name?!’ I replied, “Jenn!” And they all said, “Bye Jenn!! Thanks for coming!” It was totally cool, I can’t lie!

Thanks again B for an unbelievable night!! I don’t know if we could top this one…but I’m willing to try!

PS we totally went back and forth months on what to wear!! Ann went with a hot little Express lace jumpsuit & red moto jacket & and did my black moto jacket & leggings from Express and Banana Republic top.

Accessories: Stella & Dot baby!

Curling wands = big hair!

Sunny Weekend

For the first time in what feels like forever, (cue the Frozen song) the sun was shining!! I swear it gave everyone an extra pep in their step and the extra smiles on everyone’s faces.  It wasn’t hot by any means or really truly that warm, but man we could escape outside for some fresh air and vitamin D without freezing our tails off!

Friday was Brooke’s ‘Helper Day’ and Joe wanted to go in to spend it with her.  Our Pre-K is parent run, so every day there is a parent in helping and one of the student’s has a special turn at being the class helper. They had tons of fun!

I made it to the gym 2 days in a row and was trying to snap a sweaty selfie, even though I wasn’t sweaty any more.  Brooke insisted she be in the photo with me!

Friday night we had our fist Book Club meetup.  We were hoping to gather around the corner at the cute wine bar, but it was super packed and there was no room….so we moved to Bar Louie which was also really busy, but fun nonetheless!

It was hard to talk about books in a loud place so we made the most of it but decided next time we will gather at someone’s home.

It did prompt me to start making more time for books again.  I have been listening to my audiobooks but I have not been making the time to pick up actual books.  I am almost done with this and am SO anxious to see where it is headed! Saturday was the perfect combination of cuddling the kids, getting to the park for a little fresh air and resting. My body needed it.

And in puppy news, she’s doing so great!! I’m not gonna lie…it’s been a challenging few weeks of adjusting at times.  Bailey and Holly love to play but they do get a little aggressive so we have to make sure they can’t fight over certain toys or get too rough with each other.  She’s just 12 weeks old and we have had her for one month.  Puppies are a lot of work but as we continue to work with her and train her, she’s really fitting in well.

I wonder how long she will fit on this bottom step for…

Sunday was kind of a laid back day.  Joe got up early to run some errands for the houses and the kids and I resumed positions reading/playing with ipads/kindle.  I made a big breakfast and we did a little Target run, had sushi and visited our friends’ baby Aiden.  The kiddos got to play outside and it was so nice to feel that sun!

We wrapped up the weekend with grilling chicken for the week, I worked on the Pre-K Newsletter and walked the dogs one more time.  It was refreshing and just what my soul needed; we need more weekends like this.  Summer, please hurry!

After such a long stint of cold crappy weather, I am so grateful for the sun.  I think this may be the 4th day in a row of sunshine and we are not taking it for granted!

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Happy Monday Friends!

Girl Code {Book Review}

TGIF lovies!!

I don’t know about you, but this week tried to kick my butt.  Seriously.  I am super glad Friday is here so that we can get to the weekend! It continued to snow all week, nothing stuck but my booty is frozen from trying to get the puppy to go outside and I’m so over it!

I am extra excited that our first book club meet up is tonight.  We are hitting up the wine bar around the corner from my house and I’m sure that it will be awesome to get out for awhile, chat bout #momlife, girl talk and I’m pretty dorky so I’m sure that we will talk about books too!

I have my list of books I’ve read so far in 2018.  This book, Girl Code was book 11 of 52!

I have the hard copy that my girl Lindsay gifted me, but I just never made an effort to pick it up, so I decided to try it on audible and I LOVED it!! I am so glad that I have the hard copy honestly, so that I can go back through from time to time.

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Clearly the author had me at her blog/brand, “The Champagne Diet.”  You know I love me some celebratory bubbly and if you’re a girly girl like me, her verbiage will speak to you too.  She is witty and cleverbut it’s not all glitter and champs.  She really is a fantastic business woman; there is something powerful about a female entrepreneur. She is also a Master Life Coach and just has so much valuable information to share.

 

What I loved most about this book were the interviews with other leading ladies.  Each gal had her own little story to tell and it’s nice to know we girls are never alone.

As per usual, the English teacher in my comes through and I had several quotes speak to me.

The first quote was, “Her success is not your failure.”

Whoa.

She was referring to those moments where we scroll through social media and find ourselves getting mad or jealous when we see other girls living their best lives. You know, that girl who promotes to the highest level in her company.  The bombshell who is flaunting her perfect body on a beach in the Caribbean. Whatever your trigger is, realize that just because she succeeded at something, doesn’t mean you’re a failure.

I guess I had not thought it through like that, but yes!  Sometimes I do find myself feeling awful, simply because she’s making a dream come true and I’m probably in day old sweats, 4 day hair and cleaning up poo.   Maybe I’m not exactly where I want to be (literally or figuratively!) but that doesn’t mean I’m a failure!

Each of our journeys is so unique and it’s super hard and tempting to compare ourselves to others on social media.  The highlight reel is great, but it took a lot of hard work, sacrifice and dedication for these people to get to show off their rewards.

“Why be envious when you can have the same, or not more?”

I feel like that kind of piggybacks off of the first quote.  Jealousy comes in all shapes and sizes, but instead of sitting there hating on someone, turn it around and really think about it.  What’s stopping you from having what she has?  Couldn’t you even have more? There is no limit in life.  We can make as much money as we want, there’s certainly enough to go around.  Most of these #bossbabes are most likely not choosing #netfilxandchill, so if that’s what you find yourself doing on a weekly basis, maybe it’s time to switch out some habits.  That’s what I tell myself when I start seeing posts and feeling less than.

“They don’t serve champagne at pity parties.”

Which leads me to my next favorite quote from this book.  Sure, you have a moment where you’re down and not feeling super fabulous.  I try to tell myself, it’s ok! Feel what you are feeling, but then get over it.  Sitting around moping and crying and doing the whole, “whoa is me” thing doesn’t get us anywhere.  Misery loves company, so you’ll attract that low vibe energy and miss out on some amazing opportunities.  I love me some champagne, so if I wanna be poppin bottles, I can’t cry too big of a river.

The last thing I took from this book was really what Oprah would call an “Aha moment.” The concept of a “Seasonal purpose vs a life purpose” really resonated with me.  Sometimes I get all caught up in “my purpose” and start a freak out session.  I dwell on the fact that thousands of dollars were spent on an Undergraduate and Masters Degree to teach here in NY.  I taught English for 8 years, but don’t really any desire to go back into that teaching world now.  I know that raising our babies and staying home was/is my purpose.  As we are nearing the end of that ‘stay at home’ period, I’m starting to really develop a new vision of where I want my life to go and what I’d like to spend my time doing.

This idea of a seasonal purpose just makes so much sense to me.  We are evolving creatures and the more we learn, the more we grow.  Our minds can take us anywhere and if we place all this pressure on ourselves to only have one purpose, it just sucks the fun out of life.  This is my opinion at least; I love knowing that I can keep developing into better versions of me and that as I grow older, my life’s purposes will too.

I haven’t read her other books yet, but I am definitely keeping them in mind! I love a quick listen, and this was a great one to hear.  If you’re in direct sales or in business for yourself in any fashion, I highly recommend this book.  If you’re not into champagne and some of the couture glitz and glam, I think you could still get something out of this book, if you have an open mind. It clearly spoke to me and I will be flipping through these pages again and again!

 

Happy reading my friends!

Getting a Spray Tan

I figured I would start out the week with a really fluffy post!  I’ll attribute it to my husband and I watching the Jersey Shore Family Vacation last night…what a train wreck! It really opened my eyes as to what on earth was I thinking watching that all of the time?!  We barely turn on the tv and last night, as Joe built a fire (yes, we are still having Winter here in Upstate NY) we just decided we needed to turn our brains off.

Anyway, back to the spray tan–which I would recommend 1000x over and over! Whether you have an event you want to have an extra glow for or you enjoy looking sun-kissed, it’s totally worth the money!

I have only done two.  One was in October before we went to Toronto for Joe’s birthday and the other was right before the Ugly Disco.  Since then I have been applying Jergen’s fake tanner a few times to just keep the glow going a little longer.

I haven’t seen or felt the sun since September I bet.  Sure, it pokes its head out, but there is something about getting a little healthy color from that big old ball of fire.  Since that is not an option and tanning beds have a bad rap, the spray tan is the way to go!

I chose an Organic spray both times.  I am sure you could totally get a decent tan at any place offering them, but I do have a special spot for small businesses in my heart.  The most recent place I went to was Glow Tanning.  The girl was a riot and she chose my color for me: “The Champagne of Spray Tans.” Girl spoke my love language!  I knew enough to “prep” ahead of time and ran all my errands that day ready to be sprayed!

First Day with the tan–I don’t even wear makeup.  I feel like it looks super dark!!

Once you find a place you’d like to try, ask them for any specific prep they need you to do. Most likely they’ll tell you the following, but I’m not an expert.  You could always consult Google too!

The Prep

Any waxing should be done 24 hours prior.

Otherwise, this is what to expect of a spray tan!

  1. Shower in the am and wash your hair! I forgot to do my hair so my first shower after spray tan, the second time, I felt like was too long as it takes FOREVER to do my hair. I highly recommend being able to do a quick rinse/shower the day of your event.
  2. Exfoliate I prefer a sugar based scrub, but anything with a little grit will work! You really want to sloth off those dead skin cells to get to the newest layer of skin.
  3. Shave You want to make sure you’re primed and ready to get the solution on your skin.
  4. NO LOTION This was super hard for me!! I am a lotion girl and I hate the ‘dry feeling’ of no lotion. However, if you wear lotion prior to getting the spray tan, it may mix and cause blotches or it simple won’t allow the spray tan to stick.
  5. Wear black/loose clothing You most likely will get spray tan on you, even if you try to air dry/fan dry a bit before getting dressed.  Wear something baggy if possible and definitely black. I was even told to forgo the bra. Ok!
  6. Bring a makeup wipe I tried not to wear a ton of makeup the day of my spray tan, but I did have a little tinted moisturizer on so I made sure to bring wipes to get it off.
  7. You can wear bottoms or not.  They usually tell you to do whatever you’re most comfortable doing.
  8. Go the day before your event. I personally find the best color to be the very next day. The first day I looked pretty dark! I didn’t feel the need to wear makeup and I just looked like I hopped a plane from the islands. The tan will last about a week, if you drink a lot of water and slather that lotion on continuously after the tan!
  9. Be prepared to spend a little money. I paid $40 and tipped the girl, but again this was an organic solution, it lasted a week and I didn’t get messy trying to prep myself for days with bottled lotions/sprays at home.
  10. It all has a ‘scent.’  Again, I found the organic solution to be tolerable, but it still had that ‘fake tan smell’ if you’ve ever dabbled in fake tan before.

A few pics from our weekend in Toronto–I loved this glow!

I did add a little extra bronzer lotion to my legs too, which had glitter. Needed extra for the disco!!

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Have you spray tanned before?  Do you have a favorite place?  I’ll share some of my at home fake tan products in another post, since I don’t see Mr. Sun coming out any time soon!

 

Kid Free Weekend

We didn’t get a break from puppy training, but we are so grateful that my dad and stepmom took the kiddos Friday til Sunday.  It was Ugly Disco time and we had not had a kid free weekend since Joe’s 40th Birthday up at the Ritz in Toronto!  We were a little excited to reconnect, enjoy some delicious food & get our boogie on!

We hit up our favorite restaurant in the city, The Revelry.  We ordered our drinks at the bar; Joe’s favorite is the East Ender & I was super excited that they had brought back Rosé! We dined upstairs and had some fantastic oysters! They were so good, we ordered seconds.  We also tried the Corn Gnocchi –TO DIE FOR! Joe always orders the duck and this time I went with the butter poached lobster tail.  It was out of this world–black truffle sauce–the thought of it is making my mouth water at this very moment…it is that good.

I felt like wearing some snazzy Gita tassels with my LBD.

The next day we hit up a late brunch at McCann’s Local Meats.  We’ve had lunch here several times, and we always see photos of the Saturday brunch.  Since we had no plans, we knew we’d try it out after seeing it on Facebook. If you’re local and love meats, you’ve got to try it out.

I am a sucker for Eggs Benedict, and this was so savory, and creamy.  It was the perfect mix of sweet and salty and the ham had an incredible flavor.

Joe had the buttermilk pancakes, and I may have had more than just a few bites.  I couldn’t believe how good they were!

 

We went for a nice quiet drive, which has always been our thing.  Car rides are a great way to connect, talk and really hear what the other person is saying.  It’s not easy when our 3 and 5 year old are always chattering; life with littles is super tough sometimes.  That’s why moments like this and weekends like these are really special but also necessary.

He said I was weird, but I love this profile view of him. Something about the collar and his smile; it gets me every time!  I hope you know how happy you make me baby.  I love being in your passenger seat.

We cruised over to our land and talked about where the house will be, how far over the barn will go and how much dirt we’ll need.

I tried to take a quick disco nap but the new pup was barking non stop. (Probably because she slept on me while I zoned out on the couch.

After my attempt at napping, Joe ordered sushi takeout and then it was time to get ready!  I bought this outfit last year and I felt no need to buy anything new. I used as much curling spray, hair spry and glitter I could get my hands on!

Joe loves channeling his inner Rick James and bounces those curls all night long.  We have gone to the Ugly Disco quite a few times now, I actually want to say this was number 7? It’s for a great cause and we love supporting the Golissano Children’s Hospital.  Why would you not want to dress up in 70’s garb and boogie all night?!

The real stash and sideburns were a real treat!

I just felt like playing around with my iphone filters…haha

I was really playing around with my diet before this so I think I may share what I did to get into “disco dress” shape.  I by no means work out 7 days a week for hours on end, nor do I only eat salad.  I believe in the 80/20 rule and have started to dabble in some intermittent fasting. Anyone want to hear more about that?

My other #1 trick is get a good SPRAY TAN!  I went to Glow Sunless Tanning. The girl did a great job and their organic solution was awesome.  I’m also thinking of doing a blog post on how to prep/what to expect from a spray tan. (I was nervous before my very first one!)

Had to snap a selfie of me and my boa! I mean really, how often can you rock a boa?!  We danced til midnight or so, grabbed an Uber and totally hit up Steve T Hots for a Garbage Plate.  We have not done that in YEARS…so bad for you but oh so good.  Never heard of a garbage plate? Check it out… 

Sunday we had a late start, I took a nap (GLORIOUS!) and we drove out to get the kids.  We missed them and they had a great time, so it was happiness all around.  I knew I’d be in no shape or have zero desire to cook.   I also knew after all of the eating and drinking, we would just want simple: enter chicken in a slow cooker.

My attempt at being healthy once again: brussel sprouts.

I know that I’m barely making the “Monday cut off” deadline that is in my head for blogging.  It’s 11:03 and I’m about ready to hit publish.

I legitimately had zero time for myself (other than a quick shower!) from the moment my eyes opened until about 25 minutes ago.  I desperately needed that kid free weekend, more than I really knew.

Yesterday I could have done the dishes, washed, dried, folded laundry.  Grocery shopped. Blogged. Cleaned up all of the mess that is a home filled with dogs and children, but instead?  Instead I took that little nap on the couch with both dogs.  Something I’m not sure I’d ever be able to do if kids were here, because they’re usually on me!  That gave me so much determination and push to just keep going today.

And tomorrow? I’ve got a whole lot of new stuff going on and I am excited and nervous all at the same time.

 

Fashion Friday: March Looks

TGIF!!
I have been super busy puppy training, potty training and living my best life! {see last post!} Haha. I really needed to just sit and breathe for a moment and talk about some girl stuff–aka fashion!  Plus, we have the Ugly Disco this weekend so we are pumped BOOGIE!

I’m a total Summer girl, but I really try to embrace the 4 seasons. That said, this girl is OVER Winter.  Ya heard, mother nature?! It just hit me this past week; the cold, snow, wind and biting temps–enough already! I told my husband, it is time to think about moving…

Anyway, some looks from these past few weeks…

Layers for the win.

I adore this kimono from Apricot Lane Boutique.  I also love layering with this super soft white tee from Banana Republic.  Accessories are the perfect way to dress up any plain outfit! I think that they are vital for us to really create our own style.

PS If you still haven’t tried a Matcha Latté with soy from Starbucks, get on it!

I am digging the lilac trend, so I busted out my 3/4 cardi and layered it with a cross tee from Amazon.

 

I’ve been staying warm with turtleneck sweaters, but channeling warm weather with these Rose statement chandelier earrings! Obsessed is an understatement.

Graphic tee– I have my girl Rachel design my shirts; I love that she is basically my personal designer!  Check her out at Simply Mama Boutique

Sweater Cardi – Express.

Constantine feather chandeliers – S&D

Always be sure to have some cute aprons to keep your clothes free from stains whilst cooking!! A glass of Cab is always helpful too.

I adore this new bracelet, earrings & the new on the go tassel phone charger.  It looks so cute on a bag and you always have a way to keep your phone charged. If you’re like me, you probably have a dead phone halfway through the day!

I do love hitting up the gym, Align Pants from LuLuLemon & my hubby gifted me this sweatshirt for Christmas. I think he got it at Macy’s. My favorite sneakers are Nike.

Sparkle studs– $19, make ya holla!

Eve Bib- Stella & Dot

Gold Engravable bangle -S&D

Sweater – Express

Lips: Lipsense

Hat, Earrings & Celestial choker- S&D

Sweater: Vintage Guess

Lips: Pink Dust Cosmetics (vanilla latte combo!)

Constantine Feather Earrings, Celestial choker- S&D

Long Cardi- Jane.com

I went for a pale pink mani in March. I love how they look with our Intention bracelets!

Twinning with my mini me in our Stella & Dot “Self Made” shirts!  It’s never too early to teach her it’s important to be independent.  She can do ANYTHING and so can I.  Don’t forget that ladies, it’s NEVER too late to reinvent yourself, change the way you’re living and becoming the best version of yourself!

She took some photos of me with the new Ava backpack too…I think she needs to be my personal photographer!

Speaking of, this backpack is bad ass.  SUPER convenient to be hands free with kiddos and it’s so cute!

Lil B had a “Beach Day” at school and I was the helper.  Gita Tassels for the win!

This may be my favorite necklace still, the Terney. I also loved how my hair came out!! This Amie Lace sweatshirt is so comfy but still stylish enough for date night (which is why I’m all dolled up!)

I had so much fun with boots, scarves, sweaters, layers…but enough already.  Bring on the heat!! I am ready for shorts, flip flops, air-dried hair and sunshine.

What were you wearing in March? I’d love to hear!

Enjoying the Journey

It’s a windy day here this Wednesday of “Spring Break.”  However, the term Spring must be used loosely here in upstate New York.   It’s a chilly 39 degrees and I do believe that as I type this, there are snow flurries.  Not surprised dear April…

There’s a to do list a mile long, mountains of laundry to be folded, a workout to be done, a shower to be had, but you know what I just did? I made a cup of tea.  I made a cup of English Breakfast tea with a splash of heavy cream & a drizzle of honey. (I have a disco dress I’m preparing for, otherwise I most likely would have used a teaspoon of sugar.

I woke up this morning, not really knowing where my day would take me; the blessing and curse of a “Stay at home” lifestyle.  On one hand, I feel as free as a bird and on the other, there’s so much to do I don’t really know where to begin.

Life has been quite crazy for some time now; little ones will do that to you.  We’ve been married 7.5 years and celebrated 10 years, (a whole decade!) of dating.  Yes, I do consider that even though we are married, with two children, we are still dating.  Marriage is like any other commitment in life; you get out what you put in.  There are days and weeks where we feel like we are spinning our wheels and treading water.

Raising babies, building businesses and still staying true to oneself is not for the faint of heart.   I often times ask myself wouldn’t it just be easier if…and I could list a hundred things to remove off of my plate to try and make myself feel less ‘busy’ or ‘stressed.’ But then what?  Would I be bored?  Would I feel incomplete?  Would I be searching for that “something more” that I know creeps up when we least expect?

I’ve heard it said that the devil attacks those next in line for promotion.  That when things are hard, they tend to get really hard.  You’ll want to quit, give in, stop trying and just throw your hands in the air and scream.  Go ahead and scream dear one, it may help…but do not quit.

I’ve mentioned before on my blog that the setback is often the setup for what’s next to come.  I’ve been feeling all of the things, going through a lot of emotions and feeling like OH MY GOSH WILL THIS EVER GET EASIER?  I’m talking in parenting, in relationships, in eating well, working out, feeling confident, and even in day to day things like the washing machine not working right.  I don’t know if it will get easier, but it’s all part of the plan.  If one more person tells me to “Enjoy the journey!” I may yell back “I AM!!” but that’s only because I truly am trying.  I am enjoying the snuggles of my wee ones, amongst the chaos of potty training and cleaning poo all day long.  I am loving the puppy breath and playfulness of our sweet girl, while cleaning mess after mess that she makes.  I am ecstatic to fit in any alone time with my husband, as I know that our love must come first so that our family can thrive.

But I’m also saying, damn girl, This shit is hard!

I’m just here to tell myself, and maybe you, that it’s all okay. The feelings, the tears, the stress, the laughs the joys…it’s all part of it.  One day we will look back and miss the precious moments.  I can’t say I’ll miss the poo and mess, but I will miss mostly everything else about this time.  I will probably ask myself how on earth did you not go completely insane? How did you do it?  More importantly, my kids may ask us when life is hard for them, how did it you survive?

I will them…

Faith

Gratitude

Patience 

Laughter

Love

Focus

Perseverance 

Help

The last one is the one I struggle with the most. I always try to do everything by myself, but this life is teaching me that nothing amazing is done alone.  I hope to delve further into these topics in future posts; I am always trying my hardest to be real and raw with my readers.  There is no smoke and mirrors here. No photo-shopped life snapshots. I am on this journey with you and am here with open arms and an open heart to learn alongside you.

May this first Wednesday in April bring you peace, love and comfort.

All my love,

Jenn

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March Favorites

Here we are in the beginning of April, so I figured I’d share a few my favorite things from last month!!  March is typically one of my least favorite months.  It’s SUPER long. STILL cold and just overall crazy!  This past March didn’t seem to stray too much from that!

#1 Favorite–

I would say the biggest favorite of the month of March was getting our puppy Bailey.  She is also the biggest adjustment and so much work!  She completes our crazy little family in ways I almost had forgotten about.  When we got Holly, we had Sadie.  For the last 3 years Holly has been an only dog, and honestly I haven’t been the best dog mom.  With two kids, 4 and under, life was nuts!  We are nuts for getting another fur ball, but we love her so much.  My husband and I laugh at how we will look back at these times and just shake our heads.  I need to make sure I keep blogging about all of this beautiful, messy, chaotic life of ours.

Accessories–

LOVE these Rose Chandeliers. Obsessed.  I think because it’s still freezing and grey outside, any pop of color helps beat these Winter blues.  I am all about the statement earring trend these days.  Toss on a black shirt, add a fun pair of earrings & bronzer and go!

Booties-

I ordered a pair from Jane.com but they did not fit.  My friend Shelby swore these pretties from Target were comfy and a must have! She was on the money.  I normally am a solid size 9, but she suggested I go down half a size and I did. 8.5 fits perfectly without any socks.  Score a pair here.

Drink:

This was even more amazing than I anticipated. Joe gave me this for my birthday and I was saving it for a celebration. We had a particular house that was, well, tricky to say the least, with our company, 585 Rent to Own.  I said back in the Summer, that when we sold said house, we’d pop this bottle. I’m not sure if it was the taste of sweet success, or just really good champs.  I’ll sip to both!

Hair:

Two things–One, a high pony.  If I’ve curled my hair (or even if not) I am loving throwing it up in a high pony tail.  I think it still looks chic, but effortless!

Dry Shampoo–

This is THE BOMB.  Seriously, I didn’t understand why girls swore by dry shampoo. I had tried a few different kinds and nothing really did much for me.  My friend Stephanie is a mama whose hair is gorgeous.  I had been wanting to try Monat for awhile and I am so glad I did! The scent of this alone is to die for.  I can go 3 days comfortably…I workout and I hate my hair smelling weird or funky, so I can’t go much over 3 days, unless I wear a hat! I will definitely be ordering more of this no doubt.

Quote:

My phone screen for the month.   I try to stay motivated/inspired and this quote stuck with me.  I find that if I change up my phone screen it helps! It’s not always easy to stay positive.  I had a goal this month for my S&D biz and I knew it wouldn’t happen by itself. I have to wake up and make efforts every single day, if I want my dreams to come true.

Podcast:

I love audiobooks, but sometimes I like a quick little something something to listen to.  I’ve been trying out different podcasts and THIS one speaks to my heart.  I could barely get through my workout because I was SO motivated. I wanted to get right down to work on our Rent to Own Real Estate business when I listened to her the other day.

Day:

As I mentioned, March tends to be a tricky month.  Since we were doing a whole lot of work and not a whole lot of playing, I pulled the plug on the last Friday of the month and made us go to the spa.  We got a couples massage and it was SO beneficial.  As much as we are all about the hustle, man you just need to pump the breaks a bit.  If you don’t take the time to step back, relax, rejuvenate and unwind, you’ll burn out and go crazy. During our quiet massages, we BOTH had experiences where we learned something.  Sometimes the best thing to do is sit in silence and let it work its way out. Running multiple businesses, raising kids, getting a new puppy & Joe working full time doesn’t really allow for much “quiet” time other than us passing out from exhaustion! This is something I will make us do more than once a year.

We didn’t even take the whole day ‘off’ but scheduling this time to feed our souls and physical bodies was worth every penny and moment.

Song:

We are getting ready for the disco, so naturally I am listening to that Pandora station!  It’s really hard to be in a bad mood when you’re listening to this.

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Superhero:

My son.  I was having a rough day and may have teared up a bit.  On one hand, I was mad at myself or letting him see me cry, but then the most beautiful thing happened.

“Don’t cry mommy, I am a super hero.  I can save you!”

My heart is still fluttering from hearing that; he’s a lot of work at 3, as most little tykes are.  I know that I’m doing a lot of things right when I hear and feel compassion like that.  Baby boy, your heart it so sincere.  I know you’re a tough little cookie, but your sweet heart is love. You radiate so much compassion. Stay this way always.

 

Tiny Dancer:

She marches to the beat of her own drum, this one.  It’s hard to tell her what to wear, as she has a style all her own.  She loves dance class, but does think ballet is a tad boring.  Tap is her favorite!  I told her to smile for a picture for daddy, this is what she gave me.  I can’t get over how tall she is!

Brookie, you have grown so much (and not just in height!) Since adding a puppy, you’ve shown so much patience and responsibility.  I thank God you’re so understanding and supportive.  I worry you’re a little too like mommy; I want you to have fun, be little and not try to grow up too fast! I love your creative soul and all the joy you bring to our lives.

Book

I have read my 9th out of 52 books for 2018!  This was FANTASTIC!! I love Oprah.  It reminds me of my childhood, as my mother always watched her.  She is full of wisdom and interviews the best people; this book is life changing.  It has introduced me to new authors and I feel myself growing more spiritually and mentally.  I love that feeling.  Oprah reads it, so you’ll be soothed by her voice too!

Humor.

Laughter will get you through so much; lighten up, take risks and enjoy this crazy ride called life! It’s not always easy, in fact most days it’s downright freaking hard, but always worth it.  I just can’t choose that third row; I was born for the front row.

Weekending {With a new Pup}

Oh my gosh; a new puppy is so fun but man oh man, it’s kinda impossible to get back into a groove or routine!! I hate excuses, but I will admit blogging is always the first to drop when life gets hectic…oh well. I’m here today!

Wednesday I took little man to Starbucks after dropping off Brooke to preschool.  He was so good!! Spidey of course came with us.  We just needed to break out for a bit and take a break from puppy time! Haha

Thursday the kids came up from the playroom with this whole setup.  They said it was my birthday and we had to sit down and enjoy tea and cake.  You better believe I stopped myself from whatever “busyness” I had going on and let them sing Happy Birthday to me.

I will say that this book has helped me SO much.  I cannot say enough good things about it.  I would love to go in depth, but I’ll save that for another time.  Oprah reads it herself so it’s an excellent audible!

 

 

These two have started to really bond!

Sunday we had a little Birthday party to attend; she won 1000 tickets!!  The kids had so much fun and it was from 10-12 which was the perfect time.

Sunday afternoon I made a yummy pasta with sausage and paired this delicious Cab Franc with it.

PS Target has some SUPER cute pajamas out now! I am always in Joe’s pants or ratty old shirts, so I picked myself up a cute top and some shorts…because I know it will be warm soon!

I have to say that my husband knows me better than I know myself too.  I told him I needed some “time” but couldn’t even explain what I needed time for–so Sunday afternoon he told me go to Target… we needed a few things and I really did need some alone time.  It’s crazy as a mom, we just give and give and give…and give some more.

I can’t explain why I need my alone time but I do.  And I know that I need more than just an hour at the gym.  Sometimes I feel bad for that, but then I realize that if my cup is empty, I cannot pour from it.  So thank you babe, for pushing me outta the house yesterday and giving me some time!

I do adore this little furball. She may keep me (and the rest of us!) on our toes for now, but she fits right in perfectly.

I cannot believe we have had her for a week!

She certainly bites, so we all are very careful–she has SO many toys!  She’s an angel when she sleeps, so most of the kids’ kisses happen when she’s not awake.

In random news…

I swear this “WTF” weather app is the best! I have to just laugh at our weather lately. I think it will warm up tomorrow though!

Bailey the Puppy!

Back in November Joe and I decided we were ready to add a big dog back into the mix.  If you’ve followed me for awhile, you know we used to have Sadie.  She was my dog before I met Joe, but she had epilepsy and unfortunately at 7 1/2 years, we had to say goodbye.

We were put on a waiting list and anxiously awaited for our puppy!  Finally on January 24, she was born! We started visiting her at 2 weeks old and she and she had two other sisters. 

At 3 weeks, the other family who had first pick chose their puppy and we got to choose from a darker or light colored puppy.

In a lot of ways, she chose us.  She nipped at Bradley’s pants playfully and fell right to sleep in Brooke’s arms.  It was hard to pick at first, but then we realized she was the one.

It was so incredible to see her each week and how the kids looked forward to playing with her and holding her.

She is the cutest little puff ball.

Daddy loves her so much.  (I’m still not sure who’s more excited, the kids or Joe!)

Sunday 3/18 we got to bring her home.  She turns 8 weeks Wednesday, but with work, it’d be hard to get her until late next week.  Ready or not, here she comes!

So far so good; I think I must have lost my marbles…having a three year old, five year old, a 7 year old dog and now a puppy?!

I think laughter, humor mostly, grace and wine will help!  No really, I want to savor this time as much as I can, as I know just like babies, they grow up so fast!! It will be hard, this I know.  The potty training, the chewing, the crying, the energy…no joke I know it will be crazy town over here.

But Joe and I both grew up with big dogs and we are dog people.  We want our children to experience the same bonds that we had with our amazing dogs.  Yes, they bond with Holly but there is something bigger about a large dog.

Plus, Holly seems SUPER excited to have a new sister/friend!  I can tell she’s already wishing she were a bit bigger to rough house with and play.

Love & Fear

 

It’s probably not a surprise that I love self-improvement books and thoroughly enjoy reading and listening to authors who preach all about how to better ourselves.  Gabby Bernstein is one of my favorites.   Even listening to her voice seems to help me breathe better, feel less anxious and I find myself easily becoming centered.

Her newest book Judgement Detox is a good one.  It talks about how we are all guilty of judging, (even her) and that we are all coming from one of two places:

LOVE  VS FEAR

If you are coming from a place of love, you are welcoming others, circumstances and understanding we are all intertwined.  There is no drama, gossiping, feeling victim to, or being upset.

When we come from a place of fear, we are apt to believe certain people are out to get us.  We may find ourselves judging one person in particular, and just becoming stressed, sick, or annoyed more often than not.

It’s our birthright to be happy, joyous, blissful.  If we are not feeling like this, there is something triggering us.  You must take the time and figure it out.

We all have down days, off weeks and just bad months even!  But it’s vital to our emotional & mental health to figure out how to get out of that funk.  Often times, the breakdown is actually setting us up for the breakthrough.

Let me say that again, if you feel like everything is against you and there’s no end in sight–hang on sister, there is something MONUMENTAL just lurking around the corner.  I promise you.  You’re not going through all of this, whatever it is, for no reason. Nope. Nah-uh.  There is something great and big, even DIVINE in you.  Hang on tight and buckle up.  See where it takes you, breathe through the journey and know that you’re almost to that ‘next space’ you’re supposed to be. Trust me.

Don’t give up.

I’m saying all of this because a few weeks ago, I was in tears. Upset, crying, frustrated, angry, yelling more than usual…it was bad.  Want the honest truth?  I started questioning myself on whether or not I should be back at work.  I felt so defeated, low, and just that what on earth am I doing feeling…but I stuck with it, breathed through it, cried it out, talked with my husband and close friends and family and I can say that now I am 100% feeling much better.  I have a clarity and purpose within me that I didn’t feel then.   I would scroll through social media and compare and judge and feel so low.

Now I have a vision, a clear mind and I can definitely say that I feel stronger.  I have no desire to run away from my ‘problems’ and am willing to work harder on myself so that I can live my best life.  I have so much to give and sometimes we forget how important our role is as a wife and mother.  Don’t lose sight of that!

It’s helping that I focus on gratitude.  At 11:11 every day I have an alarm on my phone that goes off.  I stop what I am doing and say out loud what I am grateful for.  Whomever is with me gets to tell me too!! It’s really helpful, especially even when you’re having a heck of a day, and having a hard time finding good in anything–there is always something to be thankful for.

It’s also really magical to view your life from an outsider’s point of view.  You probably have everything you once wished for.  You may be living a life that other people could only dream of.  It’s just really important that we step back and breathe in our moments and realize how special our lives really are.  Sometimes when we are in the daily grind, we miss seeing the bigger picture.

If you stumbled across this post, perhaps it was for a good reason.  I believe we are all connected and someone wants you to take some times and find the gratitude amongst our crazy world. Everything you are, and everything you have at this exact moment is on purpose and for a good reason.

Namasté.

Meal Planning 101

Oh my gosh, you guys!! I have always been a good cook. Sure, I’ve made some not so great dishes, but overall, I love being in the kitchen, one of my love languages is serving my cooked food, and I think I’m pretty darn good! However, I feel like a total flop in the kitchen lately.  STRUGGLE BUS. Call me silly, but I keep hearing this “still small voice” to get into the kitchen.  Get back in there, cook wholesome foods, involved my kids and be okay with that.  Yes, I sometimes feel like it’s Groundhog’s Day and I’m unloading the dishwasher for the 30th time this week, but I know my work here is important.

Since we’ve been “working ” more, I’ve come to realize how dang hard it is to get a good meal on the table. I am not in the mood to meal plan, because sometimes I feel like it’s a waste of time. Half of what I cook isn’t eaten or I don’t get to cooking it…but this has got to stop!  I figured if I just took the hour or so to research new meals, schedule it out and hold myself somewhat accountable, I may be better off.

I feel the madness in me from not being consistently in the kitchen.  So, today I sat down and made a “March Menu.”  Granted, it’s a little more than a week into it,  but I wrote down 6 meals for each week left in the month.  I thought I’d try it this way, as opposed to giving each meal a day.  I just came up with 6 meals; they can be interchanged with a lunch.  I chose only to do 6 because usually there are leftovers or a lazy day, where we’ll go out or eat sandwiches.

Tips:

1. Set Aside Time

The hardest part for me is time.  I only have so many hours in a day (as do we all) and selfishly, I don’t always love having to choose between meal planning & reading a book, blogging, or whatever…clearly I interwove blogging and planning into this one; winning!  I am hoping an hour of planning saves hours later of me trying to scramble and figure out what to feed my troops and eliminates the stress and worry that comes with it.  I used to do it every Sunday, but I’m going to try this new once a month tactic. I will report back to ya!  Some meal planning essentials: Wine & Green Tea.  I kid…I kid…

2. Print off Recipes

I literally printed off a few new recipes. (You see, that was one of my excuses. I’d “like” a recipe, or write it down but then really never get back to that site…) I love the internet but I’m such an old school, write-it-out kind of girl! I placed my 3 week menu, the printed sheets, and my week one grocery list on a clipboard.  I’m thinking I may just buy a new binder; that’s how I started. I would print off a favorite recipe and place it into a plastic sheet, and sorted them all in a binder.

3. Plan Meals out or cooked by someone other than you.

I know that I get burnt out in the kitchen, so that is another reason I only wrote 6 meals per week.  We love sushi takeout and Joe does love to grill. I just need to prepare and buy the food to be grilled! I’m excited that it’s getting warmer out…life gets easier when we aren’t hibernating. Look at the calendar and see what birthdays or holidays are coming up.  Can you get together with friends and host a potluck? You’ll not only be inspired by new foods, but you may find a recipe you and your family really love.

4. What you focus on increases.

Whenever I feel something is off balance, I will shift my focus on that subject. I am well aware that there is no such thing as “perfect” or even “balanced” but I feel like for the most part, I have a nice ebb and flow on things…and lately, there not enough love flowing in my kitchen! So, I’ve been trying to watch more you tube videos, putting on the Food Network in the background, and spending a few moments consciously pulling up recipes etc.  I strongly believe what we put out there, comes back to us. Plus, I always learn something from my favorites on Food Network!  Go dust off some of those cookbooks and show them some love.  I bet you’ll re-discover a family fave!  Please share with me, I’d love to know!

5.  Keep it Short and Simple (KISS)

Try to do a theme each week.  Maybe it’s Meatless Monday, or Taco Tuesday.  I chose to do “One Pot Pastas”.  I also went through my cupboards to see what spices I had etc. I love Tastefully Simple and I knew if I just took a few minutes to go through what I had, I would throw together a list in no time.  Don’t overcomplicate, don’t feel like you have to whip up lavish dinners, and who cares if it flops?! There’s always pizza, but at least you tried!

Totally pinched for time?  Stop in the store, pick up a whole rotisserie chicken, bagged salad and a fresh loaf of bread.  It’s better than going fast food and you still are making efforts.

I am nowhere near perfect, but I know if I put in a little more effort, it will be better.  I am waving the white flag and saying hey mama, I too serve Dino- nuggets and fish sticks like the best of them.  However, I know that if I can make a little effort, I’m opening my kids’ minds and doing my very best.  You betcha this kid friendly pasta meal is on the menu!

Oh, and have fun!! I know the days are long, but the years really are short!! Take a few minutes and throw together a little something special for your loved ones.  My kiddos go crazy for hot chocolate with marshmallows.  My husband also loves breakfast in bed; giving them yummy foods makes me feel good putting smiles on their faces. (Boxed muffins are a big deal to little and big kids!)

Workouts

I am admittedly terrible at sticking to a workout routine.  I love schedules, and yet I can’t seem to follow them!! Between pre-k, appointments, sicknesses, weather, it’s impossible for me to stick to one thing.  I am probably way harder on myself than I should be, but I really feel like a better human being when I sweat on a regular basis!

I FEEL a million times better when I workout and I also eat a lot better too.  My goal is to workout 5x a week.  If I end up moving more than that, great!

I did invest in a membership to the YMCA.  I think it has done wonders for the kids to get out, play with other kids, sweat it out in the “Mystery Cavern” and for Bradley to be around other grown ups.

It’s also incredibly nice to have an hour or so to myself where I can blast gangster rap, listen to a podcast or just zone out to You Tube.

What if I don’t want to work out?

Just go walk on the treadmill.  If you’re going to watch a show, then why not burn a few calories by walking?  Even 30 minutes of walking will probably make you sweat a little, and you may be inclined to walk more.

I don’t have time.

None of us do.  We just have to make the time. If it’s 5 minutes here, or 15 minutes there, it all adds up.  Start small and increase as you become stronger.

Check out this article via Prevention magazine; it talks about the benefits of simply walking! Walking Benefits

I have zero motivation.

I will totally admit when I have an event to attend, a vacation to go away for, or Summer…I am certainly way more motivated than in the dead of Winter (now) when we are covered in layers upon layers and leggings. Oh those damn leggings with the elastic waist! It’s great until you try to zip up a pair of your favorite jeans…

You can also make your friends hold you accountable; it’s much easier now with the fitbits and Apple watches.  Join an actually accountability group, hire a coach or purchase from a Beachbody or AdvoCare coach.  These things work people! Only if you want them to of course.

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t workout.

I need this one right now.  It’s been over a week since I went to the gym.  On Saturday I did a 20 minute yoga flow and truly felt my shoulders burning, but I haven’t done much else other than walk the dog a bit.

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Find a workout you LOVE.

For me it’s a mix. If I could do Zumba every day, I probably would, but that’s not in the cards for me!  I try to go every Tuesday at the Y.  Sometimes I miss it, but man when I get my dancing in for the week, I am a happy happy girl!

I try to workout based on my mood. Some days I really want to lift weights, other days I’m really into yoga. There are even some days I just want to walk with the kids outside or run around at the playground. At the end of the day, and even at the end of the week I think it’s important to look back and just see that we have exercised in some sort of capacity.

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Get Outside.

I hear ya sister, it’s cold and probably not sunny all of the time.  I am such a hermit when the cold weather hits, but when it’s at least 45 and sunny? I really try to make an effort.  I do attempt to play in the snow with the kids too, but I’ll be honest I am more beach bunny than snow bunny.  My dog sure doesn’t mind a little cold, so on Sundays if it’s not too bad out I’ll take her for a nice long walk.

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Try a pre-workout drink.

I am obsessed with pre-workout. I love both Beachbody and Advocare’s.  I find the energy uplifting without a crash and it DOESN’T bother my belly! Yay! I will even drink this stuff if I need a kick in the pants and need to function…I can’t drink coffee, and green tea only does so much for me.  This is made with a green tea leaf extract and I think it’s mixed with a magical potion to create a perfect balance of ‘get-er-done’ and zen.  Odd, I know. Trust me on it though!! Spark is too rough on me and I just love the taste of this.  I add one ice cube and sip that baby like it’s my morning cocktail of energy.  {You can get your pre-workout here.}

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Take photos.

I can’t tell you how many times I will sit there feeling sorry for myself and I don’t wanna workout bla bla bla, and then I’ll scroll through some of my old insta-story photos and instantly become motivated. I didn’t want to workout then either most likely, but I did it, I felt good and I know that I can do it again. I also think it inspires other people, which I always enjoy doing too.  It’s also nice to see progress happening, whether it’s a flatter tummy, more defined arms or clothing fitting a little nicer. With all of our social media options, find a place to hold yourself accountable and share your photos. Or just take them and store them in your phone.

Reward yourself. 

I had been dying for a pair of LuLulemon yoga pants for quite sometime. I vowed that once I dropped my baby weight (the second time around) and stayed at a consistent size/weight I would treat myself to a pair.  Warning: They’re addictive! Hands down, these are THE BEST and most comfortable pair of pants. I could live in them daily.   Maybe it’s a spa day, a manicure, a new pair of sneakers….dangle some sort of carrot in front of your face, so that you stay motivated to achieve your goals.

(You can find them here.)

Motivation doesn’t last.  It ebbs and flows, some days I am ready to kill it and others I want to pull the covers over my head and stay there all day.  What works best for me is to remind myself that my overall health is what’s important.  Yes, I want to feel and look good but ultimately I tell myself I have this one body and I must take really good care of it.  We are not meant to be sitting all day; we need movement and to feel the oxygen going in and out of our lungs.  We have to push ourselves and also enjoy exercise.

What are your tips for staying active?  Do you have a favorite workout?

Fashion Friday: February Looks

Happy Friday!

We are totally snowed in–no school, no hair appointment, no traveling of any kind! I’m okay with that, and may have asked the universe to slow me down, so thank you mother nature!

I get asked where I like to shop, so I have included some of my February looks and similar styles for you to view.

I have been on a curling kick lately.  My hair is super thick and really a lot of work, so I try to do it up when I can, but it does take time.  I use my older Chi straightener and curl away from my face.  It kind of creates this big curl, semi-Farrah Fawcett look and I’m obsessed.  I have one like this.

Date Night look:

Old Navy Swing Dress (similar here)

Faux Fur vest- Similar

OTK boots–similar

Mina Draped choker is 1/2 off right now!! I LOVE this necklace!

‘Mom’s Day Off’ look:

Audrey Statement Earrings

Charlotte Druzy Pendant

Free People top Similar

Mom on the Go Look

Park Slope Scarf– Out of Stock, similar here

Nila Chandeliers–Out of Stock, Similar here 

Kari Layered Necklace in gold

Girls Night Out:

Cold Shoulder Top- Forever 21 Similar here

Sparkle Studs ($19!)

Diedre Double Horn Pendant

Janson Horn Pendant

My friend Shelby hosted #redpinkweek around Valentine’s Day on instagram and we had fun wearing those festive colors!

Date Day/Taxes Done

Sweater: Express (Similar here)

Earrings: Constantine Feather

Arm Party:

Anda Intention Bracelet in Strength & Courage

Nicholette Stretch Bracelet

Starbucks: Green Tea Latte with soy

Open House Look:

Black sweater dress– Kohls *admittedly, 9 years old!, (similar here)

Natia Necklace

(Arm party from above)

Date Day look

Black Top: Amazon

Audrey Statement Earrings

Celestial choker in gold

Baby Shower Look

Terney Necklace

Top –-Apricot Lane Boutique

The Addy poncho can also be worn as a cardigan (not shown).

Cece Earrings

Celestial choker (daily staple!)

Bonus: Cute boy photobombed

The Addy poncho as a boatneck…

OR off the shoulder…

Seriously though…with free product, discounts, and GIRL TIME built into the biz, how can you not at least try it on for size? I’m coming up on my 2nd year Stella-versary—

I can’t believe it!

And of course, my mini me. This was her Valentine’s Day look~

Dress: Old Navy— currently on sale for $8!

Wisdom Wednesday

I have been feeling the pull lately. That tug from the other side that stresses me, stretches me and causes a bit of frustration. I find myself gripping for something, and yet cannot seem to grasp.

I think I often forget my little children are just that. Little. They need, and need, and just when I feel like I have nothing left, I find myself just giving a wee bit more.

I feel exhausted and wonder if I’m actually doing anything right at times. I try so hard to enjoy everything– and I get so mad at myself if things aren’t going the way that I feel they should.

I truly believe that things come into our lives at the exact right times; maybe a book falls on the floor, a photo appears that speaks to you, or even something as silly as a you tube video appears on your phone.

HowJenDoes it channel is one of my favorites! I know I have shared her previously on my other blog; she runs her house like a pro, is a loving mother of two older boys and a devoted wife.  I sometimes watch her videos and get down on myself because, well, my house is not always spic and span like hers…toys are all over, crumbs are on the floor and the laundry is always piling up.

A few months back she made a video, for viewers just like me.  This hit me HARD this morning as I changed the sheets on our bed, sorted the laundry and picked up the kids’ rooms.  You can hear in her voice, how it cracks a little as she remembers when her boys were young–she shares what she remembers about that time.  Yes, it was hard and yes, it was a lot of work and she was exhausted, but the memories? They are there, embedded in her mind, that create her story of her staying home with her boys.

I’m living this right now.  I get to cuddle on the couch, wash their hair, make their day with hot cocoa and playing in the snow.  Everything is pure wonder, almost magic.  The innocence is surreal at times and although I am worn to the bone some days, these are the days.

These are the days we will look back on.

These are the moments I will miss.

Sometimes I try so hard to jump ahead and my word for 2018–BE–brings me right back down.  I need to just be their momma some days.  That’s all.  They don’t need much, in the grand scheme of life.  They need my love, they need to feel safe, they need to have fun, and of course they need structure.

This video even prompted me to stop and enjoy some lunch at the store before we picked up a few odds and ends.  Dining with a 3 and 5 year old is a bit crazy, but so much fun.

So if you’re a mom to young ones, maybe take a few minutes and watch Jen’s video.  One day this will be us, telling our younger mom self, we made it. The kids turned out great. Life is a beautiful and messy ride, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Survey Time!

February break is over and whoa…I’m seriously struggling to get back into a routine! I figured a simple survey would be a great way to ease into the new week.
My girl Nikki shared her survey last week and I totally felt like a fun mindless post! It’s always fun to learn about fellow bloggers, so I thought maybe someone would learn a thing or two about me!
1. Where was your Blog profile pic taken?
July 2017.  Joe surprised me with a gorgeous overnight at a fancy hotel for my birthday.  I was so excited to be going out and July is always my favorite month!
3. Favorite place you’ve been?
Rome.  The food, the wine, the people, the cheese, the bread, the culture…I could just go on and on.  I really love St. Martin too–totally relaxing and beautiful.
4. What’s the funniest thing you experienced this week?
Bradley popping up in his window that overlooks our living room.  He was supposed to be sleeping, but Joe caught him and Brooke hanging out in their doorways…then he went in his room and stood on a stool and made funny faces at us! We tried to discipline but he looked so funny we just laughed.  #oops
5. How late did you stay up last night?
11.  That’s late and I’m old.
6. If you could move somewhere else, where would you move to?
Some place warm. I’m really kinda over this Winter! Joe and I will definitely move to Florida or somewhere during the winter months when the kids are older.
7. Which of your Facebook friends lives the closest to you?
My hubby, Joe! We clearly share a home.
8. When was the last time you cried? 
Sunday.
9. If you could talk to ANYONE right now who would it be? 
My grandma.  I’d go over to her house, we’d bake and laugh…and talk.  I miss her so much!

11. What’s your favorite season?
SUMMER.  SummerGirl8481 was my Match.com when I met Joe.  I do love each season, but my favorite is Summer.
12. If you could have any career, what would it be?
An entrepreneur. I’d have my own office that I ran and it’d be fun, stylish and we’d all have a blast every day.  We’d own the whole building and the top floor would be ours.  There’d also be a Starbucks in the lobby.  I’d love to help people become the best versions of themselves.

13. What was the last book you read?
Little Fires Everywhere.  I’m currently reading An American Marriage.

14. 
You’re a World Traveler, where would be your next destination?
England. Bucket List!!
15. Are you a good influence?
Yes, even if I’m not.
16. Does pineapple belong on a pizza?
No.  They belong in fruity drinks with splashes of rum!
17. You have the remote, what channel will you choose? 
Food Network or HGTV
18. Favorite Cocktail?
Wine.  If there is no wine, I’ll leave.  Just kidding! I do like fruity mixed drinks; I’ll take a cosmopolitan any day.
19. Last concert you attended?
My daughter’s holiday pre-k concert? LOL
We did go to Luke Bryan a few years back.
20. Favorite type of food?
Sushi, Mexican, Italian…I love food. Like, really love it.  I love eating all different types of foods in different countries. I love raw oysters, fried chicken and filet mignon with a side of lobster risotto.  I enjoy baking and cooking; food is my love language. In every way!

Fashion Friday: 90s Style?

The much anticipated Ava backpack has launched!! I will admit, at first sight it brought me right back to the 90’s and when I saved my money to buy a backpack purse from Nine West.  Loved that thing!!

I think this will be a super chic and fun way to tote my mom gear around.  I don’t use a diaper bag anymore, with kids 3 & 5, but they still have a lot of stuff! Extra clothes, snacks, a random toy, an extra pull-up and wipes…plus my own necessities!

I love the black and white simplified look with the pop of coral on the inside.  It looks like it will wipe easily and I will be able to keep it rather cleaned quickly as well.

She’s rather roomy too!  *These are not my photos, I will share mine when I get it!*

So if you want to ‘mom in style’ or hop on the backpack trend, go ahead and find it here!

If the backpack is not your thing, perhaps a new Spring crossbody bag would be more your style.  It can be used as a clutch or worn across your body.  You can remove the flowers or slide them up the strap! How fun is that?! Fleurette is to die for and you can find her here!

Looking for some new color to add to your wardrobe? Add some fun statement earrings to any simple outfit and you’ll have a fresh new look!

I love the bootie trend, but I only have one pair…I saw these on Jane.com and thought they’d be the perfect transition shoe from Winter into Spring. Love the deals on this site!img_3479.jpg

We also got some fabulous previews of our upcoming Summer line!  Give me all the bright colors, tropical feels & footless and fancy free styles.

I’m counting down the days until I am on a beach. It may not be until Summer, but it’s still better than not!

Loving all these new accessories? Schedule an online style session and earn them for free! My hostesses earn on average $100 in free S&D and a few half off items!

Don’t Wait for a Special Occasion

If there is one (of the many things) I have learned through the years, it’s to not wait for a “special occasion.” Well, yes it is nice to have certain things saved for special days, but I’m talking about saving that pretty top or that new necklace. Maybe it’s a new recipe you want to make or a fancy bottle of wine you’ve been gifted.

I used to try and wait for the perfect moment to enjoy things, and well, I often found myself never finding a perfect moment and therefore never enjoying said new item.

I’ve learned to make a special dinner, just because on a Sunday.  To randomly stroll into the store, pick out ingredients and prepare a scallop, steak & lobster risotto dinner.  Trust me, it was MUCH easier than trying to force or make it to happen on a “special night.”

Valentine’s Day for example, my husband worked late.  I could have tried to time a nice late meal when he got home, or opted to cook it the day before or after.  I also could have made reservations or got mad at the fact we did not have Valentine’s Day dinner plans.

But I have learned that to be happy, you really have to go with the flow, be in the now and just allow things to unfold as they may.  Yes, I am still a go-getter and believe we have to make sh*t happen, but sometimes you cannot force things.

So this year Valentine’s Day the kids and I went up to Daddy’s work, had a delicious pizza and called it a day.  Saturday, my dad and step mom unexpectedly took the kids and we somehow managed to get into the swankiest restaurant (via the waiting list!) and thoroughly enjoyed the French cuisine.

And last night?  I totally opened my special bottle of wine he gifted me for V-Day, just because.  And do you know what? It felt amazing.  The more I stop pressuring myself for perfect, and trust my instincts to be present, I find that I enjoy the now so much more.

So dear reader, take a look in your cupboards, closet, or heart.  What are you holding onto for a special time?  Turn your ‘just another day’ into a special day.  Head to the bookstore unexpectedly or take time to soak in the bathtub.

Life is not supposed to be so crazy, chaotic and stress-filled all of the time, and yet it is.  So make the most out of ordinary moments by using some of your ‘special times’ items in your life.

What’s something sitting around waiting to be used? I’d love to hear.

Open House

Sunday we had our first open house experience, and I think it went quite well!  I channeled my best impression of Christina from the “Flip or Flop” TV Show, and pretty much smiled and greeted as many people as I could!

Considering neither of us had any formal ‘schooling’ in this arena, we were pretty happy with the turnout.  Everything we have learned has been self-taught through lots of reading, videos, and learning from past mistakes.

Friday Joe and Bradley hit up the store for some signs and last minute prep.  I just adored this photo–what memories we are making for our little ones!

Sunday was a beautiful day; it snowed lightly Saturday night but it was in the mid-thirties and partly sunny on Sunday.

This home had a lot of work that needed to be done.  I’m thinking I’ll share some before/after photos in another blog post!  The living room/dining room is open and I just love the high ceilings.

The kitchen needed all new cabinets, flooring, backplash and countertops.

We did not choose to stage the entire house, but I decided to grab a few items I’ve used on past houses to just add a little something extra.

We didn’t want too many scents/plug-ins going, but we did have a little cinnamon candle burning in the kitchen.

I love the white railing leading up the staircase.  It kind of reminds me of my old house; yes I owned my own home before I met Joe!! My walls were blue though.

The bathroom was my favorite renovation!  It was a really dingy pepto-pink and needed a total redo.  I’m obsessed with this granite countertop and vanity.  The mirror is extra large which is always a plus, and the oversized vanity gives lots of storage space below.

We had a little table set up with some water, cookies & hershey kisses…along with our applications and other forms.

It was really cool to meet some new people, get our names out there, discuss our program and explain to folks what it is we do.  It’s so unfortunate that there are illegitimate companies or people out there that take advantage of people in already bad situations.  While rent to own may not be for everyone, for certain folks it provides a really neat option to be living in a home to call your own, until you’re able to transfer the mortgage into your name.

Right after our open house we had to meet up with some prospective buyers for another property.  We met at Starbucks and they are beyond excited to be able to fill out the paperwork, provide a down payment and be able to move into their new home before next weekend.

My favorite part of the day?  Realizing how very much I want to work with my husband.  I’m not sure of how many years we have together on this planet, but I do know that I enjoy very much being by his side.  I lack confidence in this ‘newish’ business venture (we’ve been in the real estate game for awhile, but we continue taking it to new levels!) however, Joe has always been 100% supportive and encouraging.  He pushes me out of my comfort zone and really seemed proud of how we were today.  I know that in a few short years both kids will be in school and I don’t want to go off to another job where I’m away and not in charge of my day.  We are creating a life by design and it’s worth every hardworking second.

It’s not always easy, as I’m typing this I am a little tired and kind of wonder where our weekend went; but I truly believe if we work hard and live like no one else now, we will be able to live like no one else later.

Be

I get asked quite often, how do you do it all?

I don’t.

I find that in this season of my life, I simply do the very best that I can each and every day.

I’ve always been a type A over-achiever.  I put more pressure on myself than my mom, dad, grandparents, teachers or anyone else I ever encountered ever did.  I like to be really great at things, not fail and I used to try to be perfect.

I will say I have officially thrown my perfectionist hat out the window.  I have my daughter to thank for that.  My husband would tell me not to stress over things and to stop beating myself up, but I would roll my eyes and still meticulously plan out certain events, meals, get togethers, and try to create that picture perfect scene that laid out in my head.

This was before Pinterest people!!

I will say that the first time I realized I really did have the power to control my own mental attitude, was walking down the aisle to marry my husband.

The DJ played MY song when my bridesmaids starting walking out.  I may have screamed and dropped the F bomb while waiting next to my father and the poor wedding coordinator.  They both looked at me like—what are we to do? Stop him? Tell him to re-do?  But I simple paused, took a deep breath and put a smile on my face.  I knew that if I walked down the aisle with a bitchy look on my face, my fiancé would NEVER marry me.  So I took it in stride, realized it was out of my control, and that at the end of the day, no one would know that it was a mess up.  In the end, we all walked down to, “Lucky” by Jason Mraz. I can laugh about it now, but really that moment was a huge turning point in my mental thinking.

A few years later, along came our beautiful baby girl.  As much as I tried, there was no trying to get her to conform to what I wanted.  She slept when she wanted, ate when she wanted and eventually potty trained when she wanted.  God used her to really show me that I am not in control and that all of the stress I put on myself to try and control things, was really really bad.

A few more years go by, we add a baby boy.  I totally thought I had this mom thing figured out!  Turns out, baby boy was a total different experience than baby girl.  He had terrible reflux, I had to stop nursing him after 8 weeks and switch him to Nutramigen formula, and I don’t think he fully slept through the night until well after the first year. Funny how things work…

In the last 10 years I have been with my husband, I have learned so much about myself, life, being a wife, and eventually a mother.  I fully admit I DO NOT have this whole thing figured out, but I have learned to give myself a lot of grace.  I have learned to laugh at myself.  I learned to be more open to experiences, situations and let go of the ideas of what I want people to be, and just let them be who they are.  Accept them, or don’t. I have begun to embrace the chaos of my messes and though it be tough at times, view the chaos as a blessing.  I turn on the jazz music on the surround sound.  I tackle my to do list, one thing at a time. I stop to do something for me, to fill my cup.  Like blogging; right now there are mountains of laundry to be done, but my fingers needed to feel the keys for a few moments…

My life is filled with oops, and uh-ohs.  I just learn to do my best, try very hard to do it with a smile and save the worries and stressors for when I really need to.

My word this year is “Be.” (Yes, I am a huge dork and pick out a word for each year…) It’s a simple word but when I find myself getting out of alignment, uppity, stressed, or freaking out (probably for no reason) I try to quickly check myself and breathe so that I can just be.

…be in the moment

…be still

…be happy

…be healthy

…be joyful

…be confident

…be grateful

….be humble

…be helpful

…be aware

…be present

…just be.

Stress is SO bad for us, and the more we can become aware of our thoughts and shut them down before they take us down the rabbit hole of angst, the better we will be.

My top 5 tips for getting back into alignment

  1. Let go of expectations and accept where you are.
  2. Do something that makes you happy, self love.
  3. Get outside, preferably barefoot (weather permitting)
  4. Sign off social media for a bit.
  5. Acknowledge how you feel, but then let it go.

I also truly believe who we spend our time talking to, listening to, reading about, watching, helps us form our thoughts.  I am human, I love a good TV drama, but I also love a peaceful and happy life.  Just making small changes over time helps our overall mindsets so much!

Is there something you find yourself doing, to just be?

Valentine’s Day Guest Post

I’m so excited to have a good friend of mine Nikki, guest post for me today!! She put together a beautiful post about faith, love and marriage. She is a fantastic mama of two little girls and married to an amazing guy.  She’s definitely one of my faves and we lean on each other for mama support all the time!! Check her blog out over at My Life to Our Life.

Happy Valentine’s Day Friends!

Being today is Valentine’s Day I thought it would be fun to talk about marriage and what it means to Mr. Big Truck and myself.

Marriage is putting God first and our marriage second. I know that sounds off to some but it works for us. It means putting the other before our own needs just as Christ put the church before himself.

Ephesians 5:25-33 says  “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, …”

I means not letting anyone come between us.

Mark 10:9 says “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Marriage mens love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-5 says “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

Marriage

1. the formal union of a man and woman, typically recognized by law, by which they become man and wife.

2. a combination or mixture of two or more elements.

To me marriage is a partnership for life. Marriage is work. Marriage is two people committing themselves to each other. But marriage also means being yourself. It means putting the dating walls down and not being afraid to show your spouse your “bad” side. It means unconditional love. It means showing your partner you’re not perfect and letting your partner accept your imperfections as they are. Marriage is trust. Marriage is having a partner in crime that is always going to have your back no matter what. It means having my best friend by my side through all of life’s ups and downs. Marriage means I know I am going home to the one persona who will always be happy to see me. Marriage means learning to say “I’m sorry.” It means learning to let go of control and letting someone else take the lead. It means pushing your spouse to be the best version of them self because its best for them. It means putting someone else’s needs before your own. It means supporting your spouse in whatever endeavors they choose to explore. It is nurturing a family. It means being faithful to the one you vowed to be with. Marriage means love and commitment.

Marriage is complicated, raw, tender long and giddy. It’s scary, exhausting, broken yet whole. In all marriage is amazing and one thing I know for sure I know I am so so happy to experience this with my love, Mr. Big Truck.

I also asked Mr. Big Truck what marriage means to him and this is what he had to say…

What does marriage mean to me? I’ve got so many thoughts and ideas on what it means to myself. Unfortunately I am not all that great at putting my thoughts into words, but what type of man would I be if I didn’t try? So I will give y’all a quick little rundown on what it means to me.
It means that I have found the woman I want to dedicate my life too. The woman who means the world to me. Two people who are able and willing to live for each other. Love each other through thick and thin. Walk the same path in life. Unconditional love. Two people who have the utmost respect for each other. Two best friends living a life of joy and love for one another. Growing old and building memories that will last a life time, not just for each other but for their family.  Being faithful and true to one another from the day you married to the end of time.
Ok so there you have a quick run down of some of the thoughts I have on what marriage means to me. Everyone has their own thoughts and opinion on what they think it means. But like I said, these are just a few of my own.
And because I thought it would be fun here is a little throwback to our wedding shoot on the beach in Cabo!

Water & Cleansing

Need inspiration to drink more water? Buy yourself a custom tumbler! My friend Rachel’s amazing!  I had her whip me up this pretty little one.

“When life hands you lemons, pray they are lulu.”

Check out her custom etsy shop, Simply Mama Boutique. Stay tuned in another blog post for a giveaway too!

I wrapped up my 10 day cleanse and I will 100% admit, it was SO darn tough!  Being super cold up here in NY, all I am craving are warm baked goods, pastas, and lots of hot lattés.   Was my cleanse a total flop?

No.

I actually think it was the perfect re-boot that my body needed.

  • I upped my water intake (we need 1/2 of our body weight in water at least!)
  • I upped my veggie intake
  • I stopped snacking mindlessly
  • I pretty much omitted sugary foods/drinks (I did cheat and have a soy green tea latté on Friday, my last day before taxes)
  • I ate more lean protein
  • I ate more real foods, not so much bars/shakes/aka processed junk
  • I worked out
  • My jeans are baggy again
  • I lost the bloat/extra flub around my midsection
  • I slept well
  • I had more energy
  • I only drank (wine) on Saturday night
  • I became more mindful of what I was eating

I didn’t lose any weight, but if I had measured inches I am sure that I lost some.  I am at a steady 135 and I am 5’7.  I am in between a 4/6.  My goal is to continue 80/20 eating.  I want to enjoy a latté when I’d like one, but not drink them daily.

I want to tone up and build more muscle, while enjoying delicious foods. My body seems to work best if I eat clean all day, and then dinner I can be a little flexible and enjoy a little pasta or cheese pizza.  I cannot do the all or nothing thing, it never works.

Next up I’m going to play around with intermittent fasting a bit more.  I am fascinated by it, and have several friends who swear by it.  Stay tuned!

I did notice the biggest difference when I started CHUGGING my water.  The fiber for sure helps flush out toxins, as does the cleanse tablets, but more than anything ladies and gentlemen, water, water, water!!!

Top 5 tips to drink more water:

  1.  Cute tumbler
  2. Figure out if you prefer water cold or room temp
  3. Use a straw (I don’t know why, but I always drink more with a straw!?)
  4. Add lemon or fruit to flavor
  5. Have water everywhere.  I have multiple cups going day/night.

February Style Drop

Rosé, please.

(Sounds so much better in French!)

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Each month we have new styles that are launched.

 

This month, since it’s the month of L-O-V-E our looks are romantic, whimsical and lots of feminine florals.  Not to mention, rose gold!!

Which are your favorites?!

 

I went with #1, the stunning 2-in-1 Audrey Statement Earrings.  You can wear them as statement pieces or just a stud.  I cannot wait to show them off to you!

This s Pavé Petal Ring is stunning and matching earrings will complete your look.

 

This adorable Peony Clutch will turn heads as you step out in style!

 

The hot “it bag” of the season is this stunning rose gold Marseilles Tote. 

Need a flowy romantic floral top? Look no further! The Addison top is the perfect flirty piece for your wardrobe.  Jeans and this top will keep you casual and pretty; dress up with a skirt or work pants.

Loving these looks?  Shop my e-boutique directly, or shoot me a message. I’d love to have you earn these adorable pieces for free!!  Even better, sign on as a stylist and shop these items at your own personal discount.

Currently {a link up}

 

Finishing: Super exciting, but prepping for our taxes.  I have to get them all organized! Owning our own real estate company is no joke! My water. I am bound and determined to drink as much H20 as I can, so I make myself finish each large Corkcicle of water! I’m also going to finish reading another book this week, the laundry (who am I kidding, that ish is never finished!) and my 10 day cleanse.

Subscribing:  I tried to unsubscribe from most things, as I don’t want to spend money if I don’t have to and I do not need any more “stuff.” However, I am on a reading kick, so I do have my monthly Audible account and I am trying out the Book of the Month club.  I heard that you can get a book before it’s released to the public sometimes!! Interested in checking that out? Here is my referral code! {here}

Wishlisting:  This adorable black top.  A new winter coat. These booties.   A new puppy! We actually go Thursday night to pick her out!! I’m thinking she’ll need these too!

Watching:  I don’t watch a ton of tv, but I am one show behind on Scandal, (what the what?!) and I still haven’t brought myself to watch the latest episode of This is Us.  I’m hoping that while I fold the PILES of laundry, I can catch up on these! I also watch a lot of You Tube. I find that it helps inspire me to, cook, clean, dress up, play with my makeup…basically there are you tube channels for everything!

Hearting:  All things pink, red, hearts and roses!! I finally pulled out my Valentine’s Decor and the kids had a ball playing with some Valentine’s day stuffed bears from years past. I’m also adoring my new blog, making new blogger friends, sticking with a health regime, keeping in touch with those whom I love, and spreading kindness wherever I can.

 

Linking up with Anne in Residence.

 

Weekending

Thursday

I kind of count Thursday as the weekend, only because I snuck out of the house for a bit! First I brought these two to the dentist.  Perfectly normal and healthy checkups.

After running a few errands, Joe and I met up for a quick lunch! I kept it cleanse friendly by getting some edamame, and sashimi.  I kept the soy sauce to a minimum and really loved on the lemon!

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After lunch I got a quick mani!

After that I did sneak up to the mall for a few new bras. My friend told me how amazing the non-underwire t-shirt bras from VS were, and man she was right.  What is it about a new bra that makes you just feel like a brand new woman?!

I also scooped up a new book and stopped into Old Navy for some new clothes for my ever growing kids.

Friday

I had a hair appointment at 10, so Joe brought Brooke to school, brought me to the salon, and then took Bradley on some errands to check on the houses.  They picked up Brooke from pre-k, came back to the salon so that Joe could get his hair done and get me.

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We tried out a yummy new Ramen place in the city and we all enjoyed! (no, it was not cleanse friendly–I gave most of my noodles to Joe, but I did enjoy the broth and it warmed us all up!

Right after nap time our big girl lost her first tooth!!

The tooth fairy came and left her two dollars.
She was so excited!

Saturday

I made sure to get my booty to the gym.  The kids love going to the Y, mostly for the “Mystery Cavern” because they can run, climb, play on mats, foam toys etc.

I did an upper body workout: shoulders, triceps and biceps.

I am obsessed with our Crush it Bag (back in stock in April!)

We had a date night at Char, one of our favorite restaurants in the city. I so badly meant to get a photo of the two of us, but all I have is this random shot he took of me. I just love the vibe in this place.  Dinner was phenomenal, the bubbly was fantastic and we thoroughly enjoyed a night of adult conversations!

Sunday

We laid really low, like really really low… no big Super Bowl parties, I didn’t cook a huge feast, we just kind of hung around and I’m not going to lie, it was glorious.

I totally paused my cleanse Saturday/Sunday.

I will be resuming my clean eating and the stricter regime today!

I saw this quote that one of my Stella sisters shared and I just thought it is so appropriate, especially for the month of February!

 

What was your favorite part of your weekend?