Thursday, March 26, 2015

Working Mom Bag | Lily Jade

Its no secret that I have been on the search for the perfect 'mom bag' transition from the traditional diaper bag.  Of course I have come across some amazing (and beautiful) bags - but I couldn't quiet pin point what it was that I just didn't like about using it.  
Most often it was the lack of space - or pockets.. or the simple complaint due to those two factors I usually ended up with spilled water or toddler snacks all over the bottom of the bag.
Truth: I am not a 'handbag' person, to say the least.  I'm the one that usually carries a good quality handbag until the handles fall off - so when I want to invest in a great bag, I can usually justify its purchase because it will get incredible use!
Truth: I am a working mom.  A working mom with a load of s t u f f.  A working mom that hates to worry if she has all the 'stuff' she needs in her work bag vs. her 'diaper bag'.  I have been looking for the ease of using ONE bag for everything and had just about given up on it, until my Lily Jade landed on my porch.  
I've been meaning to write this post for awhile now, and glad I waited too long, simply because I can now do justice to what a true 'mom bag' (in my opinion) actually is.
We first saw Lily (HERE) when I talked about the general details of this amazing diaper bag.. and how I used it when running errands and toting toddlers around.
What is also amazing is that I carry it around with me all day everyday for work requirements, too! 
Th 'baby bag' insert is easily removable (along with all the baby bag contents), and I have the perfect work bag- that holds a TON.
I carry a lot.  Truth: I use every single bit of what is in my bag.  My work files binder goes EVERYwhere with me.. simply because I do about 40% of my work from home.  It also helps to have copies of my client information when I am working from my cell phone (email) or need to reference something in a meeting.  It is my 3-ring work life
Notebooks.  My notebook collection has turned into something that resembles my lipgloss collection- I have to stay away from the 'school supply' section of the grocery store, or I'll end up coming home with one.  I had two different girlfriends give me notebooks for my birthday.. and the larger one in this picture with a quote on the front (one of my favorite notebooks) is my 'blogger' notebook.  I got that as a gift from one of my closest friends at Christmas.  My people know me.  
The essentials.. baby wipes and blow pops.  
I almost prefer the baby wipe over the Shout wipes any day.  It took me becoming a mom to figure out the amazing ability of the baby wipe.
Love these travel Honest brand wipes - 99 cents at Target for the pack.
 For the love of lipgloss.  They deserved their own spotlight.  Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush is my all time favorite- I've been wearing it for 10+ years and have just about every flavor.  It shocked me to only pull out four different options when I dumped my bag for these photos.  I keep a lot on hand all the time.. if ever stranded on a desert island.. 
I've also fallen in love with 'refresh oil' by Zoe Organics.  This month has kept me in the car traveling on short trips.. and on planes for longer distances, and this oil is the perfect blend of peppermint + ginger (and a few others) to help relieve anxiety, stress, and especially motion sickness.  I've never had to deal with nausea until being in the car as often as I have recently. 
My portable phone charger.  A necessity with how often I am checking emails, answering voicemails, and of course, checking instagram.  The hubby surprised me and got me this for carrying around in my bag after too many times of my phone dying while I was out during the day. 

 The most versatile bag I have every used - and I'll say it again- it is so gorgeous!  I have successfully completed my search for the perfect 'mom bag' - a bag I can wait to continue to use when baby girl number three arrives.  
My work days ('baby bag' removed)
My mom days

What is the must have in your bag??


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

23 Weeks + giveaway

banner / little dovie 
sleeveless sweater cardigan / a pea in the pod (old)
How far along? 23 weeks 
Total weight gain: 9 pounds
Maternity clothes? Wearing mostly maternity clothes and non-maternity sweats around the house.  I am so excited for the warmer weather.  It think I keep saying this, but really..  
Sleep: THEEE best ever.
Best moment this week: It was just us girls- me, Parker, Jolie, and the bump:) We were having a potty party and while Jolie was doing her biz, Parker started talking about the baby.. "mama's baby belly".  I said her name, and they both called her by name followed by the word 'baby'.  I about died.  These sweet girls are going to be the best big sisters ever.  Sweet baby girl is loved. 
Worst Moment this week: can't pinpoint a time this week that was the absolute worst.. I spent a good part of Friday last week in tears.  I was so sad - but it was solid pregnancy sad.  Nothing anyone could have made better.  After a cry like that, Saturday was spent in and out of naps.  Anyone else get exhausted from crying the way I do?  Thankfully, the girls are going through a growth spurt and napped like champs and let me sleep the day away.. which turned into an amazing evening with my sweet family. Always the sunshine after the rain.
Miss Anything? Ease of moving around will be my complaint from now until she arrives.  Playing around on the floor with the girls is much more uncomfortable that ever before.. climbing stairs, putting away groceries, carrying a toddler on my hip while cooking dinner.  Its all getting much harder.
Cravings: Sour/tart anything, especially green apple Blow Pops.  Fruit. Fruit. Fruit. This summer and the wealth of fruit is going to be amazing.  I also can't get the idea of a frozen icee pop out of my head.
Symptoms: Congestion is my only complaint.  A humidifier, Breathe Again, & RC (essential oils) has changed my world and made sleeping and waking in the morning much more comfortable.
Looking forward to: We have been finding furniture and piecing together her nursery pretty quickly- and so affordably!  We purchased her changing table last week and the hubby gave the go-ahead on my dream rocker which we will be purchasing soon.  I can't wait for it to all come together (I'll be sharing details, soon!)  This continues to be my favorite thing to look forward to - but the entire idea of preparing for her arrival gives me excited butterflies in my stomach.  The Easter holiday is quickly approaching, and I am overwhelmed with mama love to share these memories with Parker and Jolie as a family of four for one last year.  

Special thank you for the most fun summer dress from Heritwine Maternity!  I love this dress for the upcoming warmer months - wearing flip flops or dressed up with a pair of wedge heels it is pretty versatile, and way comfy.  I could totally lounge on the lawn for a Fourth of July Parade in this midi length dress.  Okay.. maybe lounge is the wrong word.. roll around the grass looking like an obese walrus?  Better?  I think so, too.  I'll be 9 months pregnant.  Walrus is much more accurate.  My point is that you can move pretty freely in this dress- with just enough stretch to hide any of those unwanted bumps - not the baby bump, just to be clear.

Heritwine Maternity is super generous and offering a $25 gift certificate to one special mama-to-be just for reading my blog!
Entries in the rafflecopter below will be accepted through Friday, March 27th, 2015 at midnight!  Winner will be notified on Saturday, March 28th, 2015.
In the meantime- feel free to browse through the HM site.
I'm swooning over this dress and this top.. 
Good Luck!
open to US residents only.  


Monday, March 23, 2015

Easter Mini Style | Little Ladies

 I love Easter and of course LOVE the reasons behind this holiday - but not only does it bring my faith to full circle, it also marks the start to s p r i n g time and all those colors that come along with it.  We are no stranger to color, so when the Easter inspired outfits and dresses are put on display the the stores or catch my eye while browsing my favorite shops online, I can't help but to want every single thing in all those bright colors.
Holidays have gotten more and more exciting for me as the girls have gotten a bit older and understand more about the activities that go along with these holidays.  I love that Parker and Jolie will be able to participate in egg hunts - and actually understand why mama is handing them a basket for filling during said egg hunt.  It has been hard not to want to fill their baskets with everything with a teeny yellow duckling or baby bunny on the label.. 
We have plenty of activities - including the always amazing Easter Sunday - planned for the next couple of weeks that benefit from some spring mini style inspiration.  Not to mention the 11 egg hunts in the 4 mile radius of our home.  
But, I am so serious about these precious outfits.  When I do my research for the latest trends of the season (see also - trolling my favorite baby sites) I am always wishing SO badly for every bit of this to be in my size.
Easter Sunday is always been one of my favorite holidays (I'm sure I probably have been quoted to mention my love like this of all the holidays) and this year dressing the bump could have been much more difficult- but thanks to White Plum, I am set for the season.  You better believe me and the girls will be coordinating:)  Thats what makes it more fun having girls, right? 
Over the weekend I randomly went browsing through Gymboree after seeing their 50% off dresses sign in the store windows and came across some of THE most adorable dresses!  I haven't shopped there for the girls in over a year (their clothing tends to have lots of cartoon-ish animals on them..) but was so impresses with their dress selections for this season.  For the sleeveless dresses I am in love with this mesh stitch cardigan (on sale!), and this one (less than $10), too - giving more color to the dresses if their happens to be a lingering chill in the air.  
And the shoes.. there are fewer things that make me swoon than baby and toddler shoes.  Of course you can go with the traditional white Mary Jane (these are absolutely precious), but last year I bought Parker and Jolie a pair of 'Easter shoes' and they only wore them one time - Easter Sunday.  This year, I am investing in shoes that will carry us into the summer.  Buying two (and soon t h r e e) pairs of shoes can get pricey, so I have to pick and choose where and how to spend + stretch my dollars.
I was thinking more along the lines of a fun sandal- like these super simple, but always classic t-strap sandals (holy precious) OR even more amazing - toddler gladiator sandals.  
If Parker's rather chubb-o feet would fit into a pair of ballet flats, I would go for those, too. 
But, I wouldn't trade her little chubbies for anything. 

We are in the countdown for just two more weeks before Easter - this time of year just makes my heart so happy.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Favorites | Riley Clay Designs

It's Friday- and time to share another one of my favorite shops: riley clay.  My love for this small business is no secret - their vision and message to their customers (and the world, if you will) is simple: we love Jesus.
Their products never cease to disappoint - the quality is on point, and we have several items to stand by this statement.
We were so excited to hear and learn of their new design drop and website transition.  Up until about a week ago they did have a brick and mortar location, but they have since closed shop and decided to put their efforts in focusing the growth of their online store.
We are so excited for what is to come for riley clay!   
We were fortunate (and honored!) to have first glimpse of their redesign of their classic and original 'Jesus Saves, Bro' prints. This design was what drew me to this company in the first place- and honestly, their isn't a compliment that goes without being said when we wear these tees.  
People love them.
Including us.  
..and, can I mention.. this is the softest tee we own.
I am all about the comfort these days.  
For reference to my fellow expecting mamas- this tee is unisex and I'm wearing a size small (my normal size) over my then 19 week bump.  Now, at 23 weeks, it still fits like a glove:)

As if their design and site launch isn't enough excitement for one day - RCD is offering a HUGE discount of 30% off on everything.  These crews and necks will check out at just $18!  
USE CODE: hello at check out!  

 my favorite girls.
all three of them.
They have leeetle bebe sizes, and I've got to get my hands on one for the littlest sister. 
AH- I stil havent gotten used to the fact that we will have three baby girls soon. 

Can I also mention this skirt?  I've never felt prettier, you guys.  It is fitted with a zipper up the back - I am wearing 2 sizes up from my normal to assist in the growing bump:)
Nothing says gorgeous than a floor length ball skirt. 
HOT PINK floor length ball skirt.
You can easily jazz up any day with a wardrobe piece like this in your closet. 

 "..its my new dance move, but I don't know what to call it.."
So proud of riley clay!  
be sure to check them out:)
photography: b faith photography
jesus saves, bro tee c/o riley clay
the steinway pink ball skirt c/o shabby apple
the riley hat: sweet eloise designs
tassel necklaces: bub + bug studio
vintage floral organic print leggings: dandy lion co.
swimmin' with the sharks moccs c/o freshly picked

linking up for Fab Favorites over at Style Elixir

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

WE EAT | Toddler Snacks Part II

We have approached an age of toddlerdom that is no-longer really one that I can actually 'control' what my girls will eat, rather it is mainly about the choices they make on their own. And to two year olds- its all about the choice making ability.

..and if you don't let them make the choice, heaven forbid, you'll be shunned for choosing applesauce over goldfish crackers at snack time.

Up until the twins were 13 months old, I prepared fruit and veggie purees, along with oatmeal for their 'mealtimes', and if they hated my puree that day, or randomly rejected the oats I had made (which always broke my heart because of the ounces of breast milk mixed into it..) they nursed just fine every 4 hours - no hungry bellies.  After their one year milestone, I introduced them to a ton of new, interesting, and albeit scary foods, and while some they 'liked', others it took several attempts t get them to try, eat, and eventually accept that they liked it.
For reference- it can take up to ten attempts of introducing a new food, so don't give up after the first 2 or 3 rejections:)
We still battle it out at meal times because my kiddos have never been outrageously ravenous eaters- even when they were teeny- never more than 7 ounces in a bottle on their very last day to drink from a nipple.  I had to be mindful of the amount of purees and oats I offered because if they ate too much, they wouldn't nurse well.  During that first year we ate yogurt & fruit puree in the mornings for a 'snack', and veggies and oatmeal in the evenings as 'dinner'.  I had a hard time not comparing my gils to other babies around me that were drinking 8+ ounces of formula/breast milk and eating three meals a day.  
That just wasn't happening in our house, and that's okay!
All that being said- snacks are a big deal in this house.  I know and find satisfaction that if they don't eat well at a mealtime, they'll be asking for a snack in an hour or so.  It is for all these reasons that I keep a TON of healthy snack options in the house.  
I've mentioned some of our favorite healthy snacks HERE, but I thought this list was in need of an update seeing that the girls were just about 18 months when that post was published.  We have gotten pretty creative around these parts in attempts to introduce new foods (snacks) - it always seems to go better when they are in the form of a snack over the pressure of sitting at the dinner table.

When it comes to feeding myself - and now my family, I have a responsibility to keep things relatively healthy.  Sure we have things like Oreos (mini golden Oreos are amazingly addictive..) and Fruity Pebbles in the house - because, well, we ARE human.  Being a dietitian seems to tag me on the back and 100% healthy, 100% all the time.  I'd say about 80/20, folks. 80% of the time I make solid healthy choices, and the other 20% is for cookies, Sour Patch Kids, and too much Mexican Food for dinner.  
So - as a mom, regardless of my educational background, I have this responsibility to provide great nutrition to my kiddos and husband.  There is a TON of junk on the market - even that labeled as 'alll natural' or 'organic' can still be highly processed and filled with sugar.  Even organic sugar. What. 
Sugar is sugar. 
See more on organic HERE.
There are a ton of ways to eat, purchase, and choose foods- but really, the basics of healthy, clean eating (and I mean real clean eating - not some cleanse.. because those do not happen in this house.)

Whole food ingredients | Fresh produce | Lean meats | Minimal sugar + pre-packaged foods

  Preparing meals and snacks for babies, toddlers, adults can be exhausting- but as I have always said, a little preparation goes a really long way.  Being prepared with not every single item on the list below is necessary, but taking steps to making these options a regular habit can make your life much easier when it comes to figuring out what in the world to feed your family (or yourself!)  
I small confession- a conglomerate of these snacks have actually become 'on-the-go' meals in the car. The best of both worlds, right?

So, here we have it:)
All natural peanut or almond butter + apple slices
Fruit Leather (a totally NONscary way of making it)
applesauce + graham crackers
mango cubes + lowfat yogurt
banana slices + almond butter (justin's nut butter is our favorite)
kale chips (chopped kale tossed in olive oil & kosher salt; baked at 275 degrees for 20 min)
hummus + sugar snap peas
guacamole + tortilla chips
cucumbers + cherry tomatoes + 0% plain Greek yogurt
edamame + baby carrots + light ranch dressing
popcorn + cashews
cottage cheese + sliced peaches + pineapple chunks
string cheese + apple slices
celery + peanut butter + raisins
trail mix + frozen greek yogurt
 frozen banana
frozen grapes
avocado + whole grain bread
sweet peppers + black beans
homemade muffins (love these berry muffins)
fruit pouch (we like ella's kitchen)
dried cherries + multi grain cereal
zucchini sticks + red pepper hummus
orzo + cherry tomatoes + all natural deli turkey (boar's head) + vinaigrette dressing
fruit yogurt smoothies (stonyfield farms)
goldfish crackers + string cheese
pretzel sticks + nutella
cucumber + watermelon cubes + feta cheese + balsamic 
berries + dry roasted (unsalted) almonds + cheese cubes
 apple slices + grapes + cubed melon
tortilla chips + fat free (organic) refried beans + tomato salsa 
graham crackers + low fat cream cheese + strawberry preserves
tortilla + peanut butter + banana
popcorn + dried apricots
broccoli + carrots + cherry tomatoes + light ranch dressing
plain yogurt + blueberries + honey
clementines + banana slices 
cheese cubes + wheat crackers


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

22 Weeks | Motherhood Maternity Style + Lily Jade

photography : b faith photography
leather earrings c/o nickel + suede
wendy bellissimo hi-lo tank c/o  motherhood maternity 
pants c/o motherhood maternity  
boots / blowfish (similar)

How far along? 22 weeks - this pregnancy is seriously f l y i n g. 
Total weight gain: 9 pounds- I've noticed the weight gain around my middle section (hellooo belly) and my butt!  During the style shoot with Brittany - she took to admiring my 'pregnancy butt'.  I have always had junk in the trunk, but it is really making itself known these days. 
Maternity clothes? Yep!  Motherhood Maternity has had some great finds this go round in pregnancy- I am so obsessed with my entire outfit pictured above - and I'm living in these jeans, and these pants, too! I am excited for warmer weather- because with that brings lots of summer dresses and tank tops. 
Sleep: Amazing.  I do believe it was around this time carrying the girls that I started to have some insomnia.  If this baby girl doesn't wake me because she's hungry at 2am - I sleep like a rock.
Best moment this week: I've been traveling a TON for work this month. It is actually rare that my job takes me away from my family but maybe once every couple months or so - but this time of year is notoriously hectic for me and my work life.  Driving solo to Houston on Sunday afternoon this week for several meetings scheduled for Monday, there was zero radio stations worth listening, so I flipped over to my CD player and Mercy Me's most recent album - Welcome to the New started to play.  As I listed through the tracks of my favorite songs (all of them), I realize that it was almost one year ago to the date when we found out our little baby wasn't growing anymore.. and I remember driving home from meetings with my clients in Houston - all by myself with very weird intuition the entire way home. I clung to this album for months following the miscarriage, listening to the words of God's Grace hundreds of times a day and nearly always finding peace in the music.  Baby girl had slept nearly the entire way to Houston, and just as the tears started to well in my eyes, she let me know she was there- awake, kicking, somersaults and hiccups - and what a rainbow of relief to be reminded of God's amazing plan for our life.  {read more about our story of loss, here}
Worst Moment this week: I think my girls are at an age that comes with challenges - tantrums, defiance, and literally looking me straight in the face and telling me NO.  While their little personalities and voices coming through can be humorous, some days with those two I just feel like the walls are closing in on me.  Having a couple of 2-year olds going through their own emotional changes, and dealing with my own - it has been tough some days.  While I don't usually say 'that was the worst day ever!' I do feel like collapsing into my bed to just sleep after getting the girls down.   
Miss Anything? I've really started to notice that I slow down pretty easily these days.  Moving around with the girls while running errands, grocery shopping, playing at the park - and even just bath time, has gotten more difficult to move around with ease.  I am trying SO hard to not take for granted the 8,000 requests for more sugars before the girls will quietly fall to sleep, but leaning over the do it is really uncomfortable. I definitely do miss being able to get around without becoming worn out - how easily I forget that getting off the couch without a huff and a puff is a privilege.
Cravings:  Blackberry Limeades from Sonic, the ice remaining after my Blackberry Limeade, sub sandwiches of the Italian kind, Mexican food, mangos + strawberries ( I am so excited for summer fruit!), and sour candy.   
Symptoms: Congestion continues to rear its ugly head.  My energy has pretty much returned, but I am ready for bed pretty quickly after the girls' 8pm bedtime.
Looking forward to: We start the nursery wall this weekend! I am pumped!  Once the wall goes up, paint colors will  be finalized and purchases of furniture will being to happen.  I plan to make a trip to Canton the first week of April to hopefully grab some neat nursery finds- and I'm just so excited about it. It may be the thoughts of funnel cake and foot long corn dogs with mustard that I am really excited about.. or the chocolate pie.  The chocolate pie in Canton is to die for. Either way, we will eat AND find nursery things.  All good, good.  
...I'm pretty sure this top will remain in my wardrobe post-pregnancy, too.

my Lily Jade bag is still as amazing as ever.  I carry this bag everywhere I go.  The backpack feature is one of the best parts about the Madeline - especially when I have two tiny hands that are in need of holding. extra boost of sweetness - if the growing belly didn't do the trick for you.

leggings / dandylion co.
botas / toms  
I can't believe we are already over half way cooked!  While we don't want to rush it - we are so excited to meet this little miss.



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