October 1, 2014

Meal Planning | Hearty Soup Recipes



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So many yums on the menu at our house this time of year.  I am so much more likely to cook in the fall and winter when we're forced inside a bit sooner in the evenings.  One of my favorite things to make is soup.  Hearty, filling, perfect for dinner soup.  I love making big batches in my dutch oven and freezing the leftovers.  So many meals out of just one prep.  I'm going to try my hand at making a few batches of soups that require similar ingredients.  I'm hoping this cuts down on cost and time efficiency.  It's just so easy to make good homemade soup there really is no excuse to eat the sodium and MSG laden store cans.

What's your favorite soup to make?  I'd love to get some new recipes to try out.  I'm also guessing every one of these could be adjusted to the crock-pot which makes it even more user friendly.  I'm still a novice at crock-pot recipes but totally see the benefit on days when I'm not home.

Ahh, soup!  My favorite!

September 29, 2014

Black and White + Leopard | Work Wear

I thought it was time for a little work update.  I sat down to write this post the other day and I thought to myself, I was dressed in slacks and a blazer all morning and by 1:00 was back in my comfy old jeans and a soft gingham button down.  Like, who the hell am I today?  I had to leave a meeting with a problem still unresolved and still managed to be a few minutes late picking up the kids.  I feel like I'm living a double life and not always so successfully.

It's funny how the clothes can affect your entire sense of self.  At least with my two contrasting identities it does.  I feel like I finally get Clark Kent's need for the cape.  Not that I'm trying to say I'm a hero, I just get the bigger importance of a wardrobe change. Which one feels more like the real me?  Do I like being the mom in yoga pants pushing the swing more than the woman dressed in a super smart outfit using my brain? There is no doubt in my mind that I'd pick rolling around on the floor with my kids any day.  But I have to admit it's fun to play dress up and feel smart and recognize a little bit of my pre-kids self in the mirror.


I purchased my first pair of official work pants from Nordstrom last week.  They were a major splurge and really the only pair I anticipate needing since I'm only in the office one or two days a week.  If I immediately needed multiple pairs of dress pants to wear every day I would probably start out with a less expensive pair like these or these.





I love how I automatically feel really professional when I put these on.  I am just starting to build a work wardrobe so I'm tying to pick quality pieces that will last more than just a few seasons and in a basic color scheme.  Y'all know me, I love a good classic.  I paired it with a tailored white button down because I love the polished look of black and white.  I'm also a huge fan of this blouse but will have to add that to my wish list.



These leopard slingbacks are a few years old and have been a staple in my wardrobe.  I love the look of leopard with black so much; black pants, a little black dress, pencil skirt, or even just dark denim skinny jeans.  I'm going to have to replace mine pretty soon so I've rounded up a few of my favorites for you below.  If there is one stand out pair of shoes every woman needs it's leopard pumps.  You will never regret it.



Thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post.  As always, all outfit selections and experiences are all my own.  Thank you for supporting the companies that support me.  For more information on sponsors please check out the sidebar to the right. 

September 25, 2014

Photoshoot | For Posh Sake

 I had the best time yesterday morning helping my friend Brooke create some new stylized product shots for her monogrammed goods company, For Posh Sake.  This kind of thing is so fun for me and even better to get to do it with a Starbucks toting friend.  Yes, I'm happy to be paid in skinny vanilla latte's and a pretty monogrammed pumpkin mug!  There are so many cool things on her site, I'm afraid it's starting quite an addiction!

I'm not sure if the gold pumpkin with monogram is up on her website yet, I had her create it for me after seeing something similar she was offering.  Just contact her via the site and I know she will be happy to make one for you too.  They excel at custom orders!  And she's been sweet enough to offer of y'all a discount code good through the weekend.  Just use code JULIARYAN10 at checkout!

To my Richmond locals, it's also worth noting that For Posh Sake is a local company and can hook you up with local pick-up so you can get an incredibly fast turn around time if you're ever in a pinch for a gift!


September 24, 2014

Fall Look

Have I mentioned just how much I love Virginia in the fall?  It's by far my favorite season.  The cool air makes me really want to be outside.  We are so much more social in the fall too.  Neighborhood walks, grilling out, fall festivals, apple and pumpkin picking, and lots of trips to the mountains.  Even on rainy days like today, I love it!

While most of the fun we have tends to be purely social, I've noticed that a lot of events around this time of year seam to overlap with work and I need to be dressed a bit more conservative than I might for a Saturday football game with just our friends.  Today I'm sharing a conservative but pretty silk blouse from Lafayette 148's fall collection paired with my all time favorite fall jacket


This is really what I would call a work piece.  Although clearly it's not work specific as I have mine paired with my favorite jeans and my new boots.  It's cut in a feminine silhouette but not form fitting which I love.  I also have a larger chest sized for my frame so I need shirts with a higher neckline to eliminate cleavage when I'm at work or Church or even just in a situation where I don't want it all on display.  This top has a nice triangle detail on the side so it feels complete when left out but still looks nice tucked into a pair of dress slacks or a pencil skirt at the office or Church.

It's a polished and professional casual look that I pull out strictly for adult only functions.  I would be entirely too nervous to wear such an elegant all-white top around my kids.  That's when I'd switch this out for a machine washable peasant top like this.



I think there is a time and place for everything and it's nice to have one or two pieces that can transition from work-day appropriate to conservative casual.  Nordstrom pretty much has everything I ever need no matter what occasion.



This post was sponsored by Nordstrom.  As always, all outfit selections and opinions are all my own.  Please see sidebar for more information.

School Days


My two little stinkers are doing so well at school this year.  No tears.  No drama.  Much better start than last year.  My sweet girl got off to a rocky start for the first two weeks.  She was agitated and crying and throwing tantrums over her hair, and outfit, down to the shoes.  She would cry and claim she hated going to school.  Every single morning.  Of course it had nothing to do with any of those things.  She has a great time when she's there and hasn't cried at all over missing me.  It was just a way for her to lay her fears down over things that were controllable in a safe environment.  A new classroom with new kids and new teachers is extra hard for her.  I just hugged her through it. 

Matthew and I also let her know that school is her job and will be for the better part of her life and she needed to get used to it.  We told her she could have rewards for her hard work.  She quickly earned herself a new Ariel and her mermaid sisters.  Followed immediately by the rest of the gang from the movie.   

And let me interject by saying I let my kids choose their own school clothes.  I have no interest in fights first thing in the morning.  It takes every thing in me not to fully control them at this age but I'm trying hard not to do that.  Wells actually insists on wearing a dress (usually smocked, ha) every day which makes it a lot less of a battle anyway.  She has also politely and not so politely let us all know how much she hates bows.  She told my mom on Sunday morning that she wasn't going to wear an effing bow to Church.  Point taken.

And my sweet and serious little Tagg.  He's rocking school.  They have trains.  And snack.  He told me after the first day that two kids cried because they missed their Mom's.  But not him.  He knew I was in the Mom's room, drinking coffee.  I may have let them believe I had my own school to attend for the first week or so.  Yesterday his teacher said he let his sillies out.  That means he's finally comfortable.  Didn't take long!

Speaking of snack, in his class they do a shared group snack.  Eliminates all kinds of confusion for a table or two of two year olds.  I get that.  I also get that he has a serious food allergy and can't participate.  I discussed this problem with his teacher before school started and told her I'd be more than happy to run to the store after drop off to match whatever had been brought in that day for snack.  That way Tagg nor the other children would know his snack wasn't the same.  I even mentioned the problem of cross contamination with fruit coming from an unsafe kitchen.  Instead, his teacher asked me to provide a list of safe foods for him and she would then use that as the class snack list.  She asked for all fruit to be brought in whole so she could personally wash it and ensure it was safe for Tagg. I am so moved by this generosity on her part.  To make both him and me feel as normal and safe as possible in a group food environment.  Oreos and Cinnamon Teddy Grahams are both safe for him and she even asked that Birthday Treats be one of those two.  I am so grateful to her.  I know this will not be the case as he gets older but it's nice to transition into school with such a kind community. 

More on this later.  I know so many of you have asked for a food allergy post and I'm trying to put one or two together.  It's harder than you think. 

September 23, 2014

On My Radar: Week One


I'm a huge fan of the Link Lists that so many blogs publish on Fridays but I can never seem to get my act together to post my own on a strict schedule.  I do have a few things that stick out each week that aren't really big enough for their own post so I thought it would be fun to share those with you whenever the mood strikes.

I know people tend to go blonder in the summer but I think I'm about to get a few more highlights for fall.  I love the golden blonde look with some dark blonde/light brown mixed in.  Big fan.

I'm a huge fan of this outfit and am happy to have found her style blog.

Slow-cooker lemon and rosemary chicken.  Yes please.

I love this hair tutorial for a messy bun and braid combo.  She has a few other simple ones that I already do.  I was really into braids twisted into pony tails a few years ago and I'm thinking about bringing that back.

I have at least two pieces of old furniture that could really benefit from a bookshelf facelift like this one.  Too bad the article doesn't give any paint colors or directions.  Although I guess paint it easy enough to figure out.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

September 22, 2014

Sitting Room | Blue and White

Happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.  My parents surprised us by taking the kids on Saturday afternoon and keeping them for 24 hours.  And you know we did to celebrate?  Nothing.  That's right, we stayed home and hung out in our own house and enjoyed just being home.  In the quiet.  We sat on our back deck and ordered take out and had some drinks until well after dark.  I had my coffee in peace on Sunday morning and we hung out outside again with more yummy take-out for lunch.  It's such a luxury to stay home and enjoy your home as a couple without kids.  And take-out is such a nice treat.  No clean-up!

As y'all know, I'm on a decorating kick lately.  Dare I say it aloud here, because we all know I'll probably change my mind, but I think I'm slowly evolving my love of grey into more uncharted territory; blue.  Every mood board I've been putting together lately I find myself selecting lots and lots blue.  I have a feeling I'm going to bite the bullet with this color palette somewhere in my home soon.



*affiliate links used in partnership with reward style.  please see sidebar or feel free to email me for more information.

September 20, 2014

Saturday Shopping | Anthro Day

Today is Anthro Day you get to take 15% everything with code: FALLPERK.  I've rounded up a few of my fall favorites below.  Dang I wish it all would hop in my closet.  Of course, it's always a good time to stock up on one of my favorite scented candles as well.

One of my favorite fall outfits is skinny jeans with boots and a simple but pretty top.  I've already got my favorite jeans and a new pair of boots ready to roll for fall.  Those are staples I'm willing to spend a bit more on for fit and quality.  I've been saving for those boots for a while to replace a less expensive pair that wore out.  I'm really excited about them!  I know I will wear them a bajillion times.  I've been focusing on more polished casual clothes the past few years and am wanting to pick up a new top or two for Saturdays.  Football games and fall festivals and going to the winery at the cabin are the perfect time to step it up just a bit from my normal plaid button downs.  I seriously want every single one of these tops. 


I'm starting to notice that I'm lacking in dressier clothes.  Between work and a few weddings on the horizon I'm starting to taking a deeper look at what's out there.  In addition to the pretties below, I'm also really in love with this striped dress.  I have absolutely no where to wear it.  I just can't justify it, but boy is it pretty!




*Affiliate links used.  Please see the sidebar for more information.

September 19, 2014

Grateful Heart


In this online world of show and tell it's easy to get caught up in a climate of consumerism.  Buy this, wear that, wishes, wants, etc.  But I don't think that really tells the story that so many of us are living.  It's more fun to talk about pretty pillows and new shoes.  As I learned the hard way, old clothes gives people the sads just as quickly as seeing someone else in new.  You really can't win.  But there are so many behind the scenes parts of all of us that are comprised of so much good that have nothing to do with stuff.  So many blessings counted.  But to be honest, sometimes it's really annoying to read someone's list of #blessed.  Let's face it we all have first world problems around here and our list of what we're thankful for can sometimes read just as bad.  Like making a list and adding the first two items just to have some thing to check off.  Look at me, look how good I was this week.  It's judged just as quickly as a list of what you bought or where you went.  We are all so quick to judge how we spend our time as quickly as our money.  And more often than not, we are the ones judging ourselves the most.  Was I enough this week?  Why didn't I accomplish more.  Wasted time.

I'm sure many would find my days to be pretty boring.  Some days I'm bored.  Some days I pray for some easy boringness.  And you know what, I am so thankful for that.  I am really embracing the ordinary of my life.  This season of loving on babies, and fixing meals, and slipping in work between quiet moments.  This is my life and I'm proud of it.

So I'm not going to give you my list of wants this week or my run down on what makes my life truly full.  I'm just me today.  Drinking my coffee, hopping on the computer for a few minutes to write and look around before I start getting some work done.  The babes are on the couch eating pizza (homemade vegan pizza so that's not as bad right?) and watching a movie because I'd rather pay netflix than a babysitter this morning.  Some work men are out front cutting down a few pine trees in front of our house.  Man I wish that money could have gone into the Mommy Needs A Quiet Vacation Fund.

Speaking of adding to funds, both fun and necessary, work is about to really start gearing up.  My photography business really takes off in the fall and it's already been busy this past month.  October and November are the busiest.  My marketing job is also about to really start gearing up.  As I mentioned before I had the luxury of starting off really slow.  Well now is the time where it's about to switch gears.  I'm feeling more prepared now that I have two designated mornings child free to be in the office.  But I know I'll need more time than that in order to get my work done without staying up all night.  I feel like a weird hybrid of stay-at-home-working-mom.  There are so many of you who fall into this category, any advice?  I feel like it's hard to give either my full attention sometimes. 


I'm sorry for the random and not very well thought-out post today.  My brain is scattered in a lot of directions today.  I was up super late last night, almost mid-night, hanging out on a neighbor's deck with some other ladies in my neighborhood.  Such a restoring night.  I guess I am happy to publicly say I'm #blessed and #thankful after all. 



September 18, 2014

Blue and Pink Living Room Design

I've been feeling really creative in my house again lately.  As Matthew has been working really hard on updating the landscaping outside, his territory, it's had me wanting to work on things inside, my territory, as well.

I'm starting to crave a little bit of color.  Nothing too crazy, just little bits here and there.  I tend to get overwhelmed really fast when color sneaks into my rooms and usually end up banishing all of it.  I'm a huge fan of neutrals, y'all know that.  I get my crazy from my life with two small children.  Their life in our home brings plenty of color.  In rooms like our family room, there is so much texture and pattern existing in the bones of the room that my all white/natural scheme works so well.  It's probably my favorite room in the house for that reason.  But I've noticed in other spaces that when the room is void of any special architectural features, the all white begins to fall flat. 

That's where the fun accessories come in.  Simple base with a few bits of pretty.  I can't exactly go out and finish the rooms in our house like I wish I could.  I mostly just shop my own stuff when I'm feeling the need to refresh a room.  But I've got the bug so you might be seeing lots of these mood boards around here lately as I play around with things I love!


Judith Gigliotti Glassy Beach Print || Jamieson Sofa || Gobi Wool Rug || Pink Suzani Pillow || Lulie Wallace Print || fresh candle || Ikat Tile Throw || Dragon Lamp || Pink Bone Inlay Tray

*affiliate links were used in the above links to bring you fun at ideas at absolutely no additional cost to you.

September 17, 2014

Fabric Painting In My Dining Room

 I'm thinking about trying my hand at stenciling the curtain panels in our dining room.  Currently, they are white linen.  I don't dislike the white but it was never my intention to leave them completely alone.  I had planned to add a thick border edge or trim to them.  I'm still open to that but I think it could be fun to stencil them allover in one of my favorite patterns also. 


My girl Shelley stenciled some fabric recently and made the most adorable otomi print bean bags for her children.  If it could look this good I'm all for it!  I even love the pattern she chose. 


Would love to hear your stenciling or fabric painting stories.  So many examples floating around pinterest but none I've seen in real life.  I'm worried the finish will look too unprofessional.  Maybe cute for a shower curtain but not my formal dining room.  I've painted fabric before and loved the results so I know it can work.  Have you stenciled fabric before?  If this works well this could be amazing!

September 16, 2014

Asian Wraps & Rice Bowl | Dinner + Leftovers Lunch

I try to always make a little more food than we need for dinner each night so I can get at least one more meal out of my prep work.  This time I made Asian Rice Bowls and Asian Wraps.  Either choice is hearty enough for a real meal so it can be dinner on night two or your lunch the next day. 


Asian Sauce
1 cup of low sodium soy sauce
1 cup of honey
1 tsp of ground ginger
1tsp of sesame seeds
1 tsp of pineapple or orange juice
whisk together.  Add more soy sauce or honey to achieve desired quantity.  I like mine to be a little more thick so I keep the parts equal. 
 
Asian Wraps & Rice Bowl
4-5 boneless chicken breasts
1 large package of broccoli slaw, or two if your family will eat their veggies!
Jasmine Rice
Flour Tortillas
Spring Mix

Marinate one package of boneless skinless chicken breasts in the above sauce for as long as possible. This can be anywhere from the night before to just coating to the chicken before it bakes.  Bake the chicken on 350 for about 40 minutes.  While the chicken is baking, steam a package of Broccoli Slaw, and cook the Jasmine Rice according to the directions.  Assemble as pictured above!

September 15, 2014

Wall Update Ideas | Little Boy Room

I have been wanting to add some decals to Tagg's back wall for a while now.  I've always loved the look and affordability of using them to create the look of wallpaper.  This is our view when we come up the stairs.  I used to have art hung on that wall but that's no longer a safe option.  Boy likes to jump around. I also think it's the perfect way to keep his room from looking too stuffy.  It was beginning to take itself too seriously.


Of course, I also am also open to re-painting the green.  Perhaps with a blue like below.


Here is how it currently looks.  What is your vote?  I'm so torn.  I honestly love them all.  I think I might have a top contender.  Or two.  Definitely torn between two.  Or three.  Ahh!  I need your input!


September 13, 2014

Saturday


Tagg cried until he got to come sleep in our room last night.  He told me nuffin' was wrong.  He was just sad.  He said it the night before too.  He's sad that Daddy gets to sleep in my bed but he doesn't.  Om, I can't even.  Way too many high school English references there.  So I let him sleep in our room.  Not my favorite choice, but it bought me a crazy good night of sleep for the first time in ages.  We no longer let the kids sleep in our bed, but rather set them on a luxurious sleepover on the floor next to us.  We store Tagg's old crib mattress on the floor under our bed and pull it out when we need it.  We place pillows all around it to keep them from rolling onto the floor.  They bring their lovies and pillows and blanket from their bed.  It's really not ideal but it gave us all a much needed full night of sleep.  And it's giving him closeness without getting him used to a warm body snuggle.  I'm hoping this makes breaking the habit easier.

Anyway, with this full night of sleep comes productivity.  My mind literally feels so much more ready to expand.  I can't wait to put that to good use this coming week!  I have a few new projects I want to start tackling around the house.  I'm ready to pull the trigger on some pattern in Tagg's room, more on that on Monday.  I'm ready to get my house back in order as well.  The past three weeks seem to have created a big pile of mess everywhere.  Time to get on that.

My parents graciously agreed to watch the kids today.  Matthew and I are going to watch the USC game with some friends and then maybe sneak out for a burger.  Anyone in Richmond have any recommendations for a good burger?   Our usual spot is downtown and we don't feel like venturing that far away this time.  I would love your recommendations! 

shoes || dress

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I've rounded up a few of the weekend sales for you in case these notices go straight to your promotions page unchecked for days like mine do. The sales listed below contain affiliate links, but as always, there is absolutely no additional cost to you.

J.Crew - 30% off final sale, 50% off select final sale with code EASYSALE.  Y'all know I love these tops and and these shorts. No reason to wait and pay full price.
GAP - 30% off entire purchase with code HAPPY.  Perfect for stocking up on my favorite kids' skinny jeans.  I'm also loving this dress for girls.
Old Navy - 25% off entire purchase when you spend $75, 40% off many styles
LOFT - 40% off all merchandise with code FALLSTYLE
Ann Taylor - 50% off full price tops including new arrivals
Banana Republic - 40% off entire purchase with code BRYAY40

September 12, 2014

New House: Landscaping Plans

I'm going to deviate a little bit today from interiors or all things going on inside our home to talk a little bit about some changes we've made outside.  And by we, I mean 100% solely my husband.  We have a rule that I make the inside decisions and he decides what happens outside.  We have ultimate veto power but have found this creates more harmony if one person takes the lead.  We spent the six months pulling things out and now we're starting to create a long-term landscaping plan and will be adding more back in.


The plants around our house were completely overgrown and encroaching onto the exterior itself.  They were planted too close to the house with no breathing room creating a really bad moisture problem.  Dark, cool, damp brush is home to lots of things you don't want near your front door.

At first glance the before pictures actually look much better than the afters.  I realize that.  It's going to take some time and a few planting seasons to fix the mistakes we inherited.  Buying full grown plants is crazy expensive.  As you can see, we've removed several pine trees and planted grass to cover the brush island in the center of the yard. 

Matthew added in several compact holly to line the front which will hopefully grown big and full before we know it.  That's what you can see in the images below.  We'll also be adding in liriope to fill the entire front section between the house and the sidewalk.  Next we'll put in a few crape myrtle trees on either side of the house to add some visual height.


 Of course we still want to paint the whole house white, including the brick siding.  Shutters will be black and that dang door will be painted a fun color eventually!  So many to-do's so little time and money!  I can't wait for it to look like some of these beautiful homes below!


 So tell me, are you into landscaping at all?  Do you

September 11, 2014

Pretzel Encrusted Honey Mustard Chicken

I first mentioned this recipe back almost two years ago when I started meal planning and I've been making it on the regular ever since.  I may not be as good at actual meal planning as I was at first, but I've got a good little arsenal of dinners under my belt now that I can pull out on rotation.  One of those meals is Pretzel Encrusted Honey Mustard Chicken.



Pretzel Encrusted Honey Mustard Baked Chicken

1/2 cup of dijon mustard
1/2 cup of honey
1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar
combine these three ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.  Alter the amounts to get the desired taste and glaze consistencyThis is a pretty spicy combo so use traditional yellow mustard to lessen that kick.

Crush 1 cup of pretzels in a food processor until fairly well ground.  Set aside.

Pound three boneless chicken breasts until flat and let bathe in the honey mustard mixture above for as long as possible.  I have done this as early as the night before letting it soak overnight and as late as for a 30 second dip as I'm cooking dinner.

Dip the chicken in the honey mustard.  Be sure to get both sides nice and coated before dipping into the pretzel crumb bowl.  Again, get both sides good and covered.

Place in a baking dish and bake for about 40 minutes on 350.







September 10, 2014

Twenty Things

I was tagged by my girl Shelley to play along in a little get to you know game called Twenty Things.  I feel like it's always hard for me to come up with new things to tell y'all about myself because through the years I've shared so much.  But it's always fun to stretch my brain and share some random facts.  I'm calling out Dominique of Comfy Cozy Couture to keep this little gem going.


1.  My husband and I met on a blind date.  The rest is history.

2.  I hate formal exercise.  I much prefer to go on walks or run around with my kids.  The gym freaks me out.  I feel like I'm just not coordinated enough for classes and I think I look like such a try-hard wandering around by myself staring at all the equipment.

3.  I need at least two more hours in my day.  I'm going to start carving them out of the morning because I'm just not a night person.  I go to bed immediately following my kids.  I've tried afternoon or evening caffeine drinking which leaves me more awake but also restless all night.  I need some time to be alone.  Do you know how much actual alone time I get each day?  None.  I think some quiet alone time would be good for me.

4.  I'm so much more comfortable in simple clothes.  I feel so silly and much older in really trendy outfits.  Read Real Housewives over the top.  I also don't want to get stuck in a fashion rut.

5.  I don't hate my skin and I love natural looks on other women but I still wear tinted moisturizer, highlighter, bronzer, blush, mascara, and pink lip gloss daily. I'm also a big fan of hairspray and dry shampoo.

6.  I go through phases with my purchases.  For a while it's all house stuff, then it's clothes.  I honestly don't feel like I over do it in either area but it's funny how it's all or nothing for me.

7.  I want another baby but I know I can't handle it.  Things feel so manageable right now during the day and I know adding another to the mix will alter that forever.  And we still haven't gotten the honeymoon period of nighttime sleep after having Tagg.  I don't do well when I feel like I'm sinking and I know a baby would make me feel that way.  Not another child, but another baby.  I want Wells to have a sister and Tagg to have a brother.  So really that's two more babies that I want.  Not in the cards for us.

8.  Along those lines, I don't like the baby stage.  I'm thankful every day for the way in which my two are growing up and communicating more.  Wells was a really hard and fussy baby, Tagg was not.  But either way, they may get harder in some respects as they get more independent but the crying and sleeplessness isn't for me.  Just tell me what you need!

9.  My hair is turning white.  Yup.  It's skipping over the grey stage and going straight for white.  Everywhere.  I can't even.  I'm using it as my excuse to go blonde.  I was blonde when Matthew and I met and got married and then up and went back to brunette one day one a whim.  I always said when I was pregnant with Wells that I would be what my kids are one day, so blonde it is for all of us now!

10.  My kids have too much screen time.  I'm not going to pretend it's only for a few minutes so I can cook dinner or just during breakfast.  We play outside a lot and we play with toys so much but I always feel guilty about the shows.  So much.  But somehow I still say yes any time they ask to use the iPad or watch tv because it's so easy.  I say yes too much. 

11. Up until about a year ago I really truly disliked Mexican food.  Now, it's my most favorite.

12.  I knew from the first month that Matthew and I dated that if we had a son his name would be Tagg.  Wells' name was originally Milly, which changed to Anne-Massey, and eventually Anne Caswell.  We didn't start calling her Wells until right before I was due. 

13.  I'm slow to make new friends.  I have a few good friends here in Richmond and a few really good friends spread out over the country.  With the exception to one, these are people I have known for years.  I envy women who go to a playground or preschool drop-off and leave with a new pal.  How do they do it?  How do they make those connections so effortlessly?  I envy that.

14.  Barbecue Chicken Pizza is my all time favorite.  I could eat it every day.

15.  I eat salad every day for lunch.  Like a giant mixing bowl family sized salad.  I think it's really easy to make good food choices most of the time when you don't limit yourself.  Every time you put something in your body it's a choice.  I would rather eat a giant salad the size of my head than a small sliver of something else.  But I also don't deprive myself.  So when I want something high in calories, I go for it.  Like a whole barbecue chicken pizza.

16.  The only liquids I drink are coffee, tea, wine (or beer), and water.  That's it.  I never ever drink juice (aside from the occasional mimosa) or soft drinks.  Period.  I used to love them.  I gave them up for a while after Tagg was born because I was having a bag sugar crash and I accidentally lost ten pounds.  I had more energy and I lost weight.  Never looking back.

17.  I know I'm that mom and I'm okay with it.  I'm going to cry when they go to kindergarten.  I'm going to loose my shit if either of them tries to apply to an out of state college.  I feel like Matthew and I have built the sweetest little family and I never want that to change.  I worry about them growing up and leaving.  I worry about the time when I won't get to know the most about them.

18.  I'm super sarcastic and find witty humor the best kind of humor.  Watching almost all comedies give me major eye roll because they're just so not funny to me.  I think real life humor is the best.  It's so rare to find that in shows or movies and I wish Hollywood would do a better job of portraying that.

19.  I watch The Real Housewives, Nashville, Parenthood, Scandal, and Love it or List it.  Throw in some Netflix and that's it.  I feel like in 20 years I'm going to really suck at Trivial Pursuit.

20.  I used to wear dressy clothes and high heels when I was a full-time nanny after college to prove that I would make a hot mom one day.  Now I wear yoga pants with uggs or skinny jeans and flats.

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Okay now I don't expect you to come up with such a lengthy list with no warning but I would love for you to share one or two things about yourself in the comments section.  Just a bit about who you are or what makes you tick.

I'm also opening it up for you to ask me anything else you're curious about.  We haven't played this game since Tagg was a baby.  Go.

No, this post wasn't sponsored, I'm just starting to add a few things into my fall work wardrobe and I thought you might like to take a look as well.  Shop the look here:



*affiliate links were used in this post.  please see the sidebar for more information.

September 9, 2014

A Fresh Duvet Cover with Crane & Canopy

Did you know that this week is make the bed week?  Very fitting considering I've been making a personal goal to make the bed each morning now that school is back in session.  I feel so much more organized and relaxed when my bed is properly made.  Not to mention, it looks pretty throughout the day and so much more inviting to hop into after a tiring day.

Crane & Canopy invited me to try out some of their bedding along with a few of my favorite bloggers in honor of make the bed week.  I knew right away that I would select a duvet and standard shams and choosing which style proved really fun.  I'm trying to make it really easy on myself with less fluff to put back on the bed each morning.  I am still super into white bedding and didn't want to go too crazy with color.  Not that those more bold choices aren't pretty, they're just not for me.  But I also didn't want to take the predictable route and get all white like I have in the past.  When I saw the Montgomery Beige I knew it was perfect.


When it arrived it was even better than I was predicting.  First of all, it's soft and smooth.  If the quality isn't there it doesn't matter how pretty it looks.  That's a deal breaker for me.  It feels slightly cool to the touch, if that makes sense.  The color is a the perfect beige to mix in with my whites.  I am smitten with it!  I wanted to immediately get it on my bed to check it out.  And then I couldn't wait to get it in the wash and back on so I could use it.

I'm so glad my package arrived so quickly so I could get a few washes in before talking to you about it.  Don't you just hate when something is perfect brand new and then craps out on you after a wash or two.  I would never want to give a positive review on something I didn't have a chance to really use first.  I'm pleased to say, this held up in the washer and dryer with no shrinking and no ironing needed.  My sister and my bestie would still want it ironed for that super crisp look, but I think it's just fine straight from the dryer.

A feature I really love is the zip closure rather than the traditional button up.  We have two duvets on our bed so it's nice eliminate a few minutes off that step.  Yes, two duvets.  I've mentioned before that my husband and I sleep with separate sheets.  That includes duvet covers.  You can eye-roll all you want but for two restless light sleeper cover-hogs this is a genius strategy.  As far as making the bed with two duvets, one gets laid out underneath the top blanket and the other folded at the end of the
bed.

I know you already know how to put on a duvet cover, but I've included two videos that I found on the Crane & Canopy website demonstrating two different techniques just in case you learn something new that makes it easier for you next laundry day.  I'm pretty intrigued by the California roll myself.



Be sure to check out Jennifer at The Pink Pagoda's room makeover reveal yesterday and be on the lookout on Thursday for Courtney's at A Thoughtful Place.

Thank you to Crane & Canopy for providing me with the lovely duvet cover and shams in this post and making my morning just a little bit prettier.