Monthly Archives: July 2016

Jeans on Sale

I mentioned these jeans a few weeks ago but they are my favorite brand and favorite white jean right now AND they’re on super sale with additional discount (code: WKND)…grab it with the black top and you will have heads turning!

UntitledJeans / Jeans / Top

CaptureAnd these babies just arrived from the Nordstrum Anniversary sale. Grab them before the sale is over, they’re SO cute and comfortable


Here we are again, almost another Summer in the books with Fall creeping up faster than you want to believe. The last couple summers have been a little difficult between me being newly pregnant and sick to my stomach followed up with having a new baby in the family. Things were hard and tiring and we stayed put a lot and didn’t enjoy things. This year is quite the opposite. Brandon is now 16 months and MUCH easier to cart around and play with. He can be independent when he wants to be which is getting better. What all this means is that the annual trip to the Jersey Shore was MUCH more fun this year! IMG_8743IMG_8736 We spent our mornings at the beach, playing the sand and riding the waves…

IMG_8719 IMG_8727 IMG_8731…building sand castles and eating snacks.

IMG_8751 IMG_8768But our favorite time of the day was washing up and having family dinner on the patio, watching the sun set and the feeling the wind blow.

DSC_0015 DSC_0020Morning workouts on the Boardwalk were out jam as well.

IMG_8709Cart here or here / Swimsuit similar here / Hat (Target last year), similar here IMG_8735This has been the best purchase so far. It worked fairly well on sand, but we opted for the non-beach one as we would get more use out of it. Brandon LOVED it and never wanted to come out. IMG_8776White Skinny Jeans / Tank / Tom’s (sold out, kids size here / Brandon’s Harems (code ‘setme25’ for discount on full price order) IMG_8795

Storing Clothes, Pillows and Blankets

Going a different route here and sharing how I have been storing things lately to lessen the space all the extra ‘crap’ takes up. Living in a condo means not much room for unnecessary items. Having a baby who grows out of clothes as quickly as he grows into them means we have a lot of unnecessary items…on top of the 82 pillows, 15 comforters and obscene amount of blankets shoved in every corner of the closet and under the bed (but they’re ALL important to have, right?).

When I first hear “that needs to get packed away”, I immediately think plastic storage bins. While these are a great option, they’re sturdy, hold a lot, pretty durable – they also take up a TON of space. Plus, how much can you really shove in them before they’re impossible to lift? I had the idea in my head, went back and forth a few (hundred) times and decided I really wanted to give those Ziploc Vacuum Bags a shot (similar here and here). I read just about every review on Amazon..some good, most mediocre but I figured it was worth a shot. Annnnnnd, I’m hooked!

DSC_0002I’ve read that these bags are good short term but start to let air in over time. I have not found this to be the case. I use the XL bag to store pillows (all 82 of them as mentioned before), but for real there are 7-8 standard pillows as well as a body pillow. That bag shrinks down to maybe 12″ high and about 24″ wide. I could add another 1-2 pillows no problem. The other two bags I have stored King Size Down Comforters (1 in each) into the Large size bags. I would guess the measurements of these about 5-6″ high and about the same width. After I vacuum the bags they are stored in the corner of the closet never to be heard from again. I do keep a couple pillows and blankets out for easy access as we have guests over frequently, but the bulk is stored away.

There is a max fill line (which I kind of pay attention to), and then a small flap where you place the end of your vacuum nozzle. The bag begins to deflate quickly and within seconds is ready to be stowed. Once the seal is broken, the items inflate and are ready to be used. I haven’t noticed any foul smell or strange stains on my items. I do recommend cleaning blankets and pillows before storing them to help keep them fresh.

The other (original) way I have used these bags is to store baby clothes! Raise hands for hundreds and hundreds of empty diaper boxes filled with baby clothes and taped shut with the writing “6-9 month winter clothes”. What a pain in the neck! I started to pack away Brandon’s clothes in these bags with a simple piece of paper that says the size.

IMG_8673The bags get bigger and hold less as he grows but this is SUCH an easy way to pack away baby clothes to keep them clean (free from the smell of the attic or basement) and easy to see through!

IMG_8674The best part? These three bags, including all Newborn/0-3 Months, 3 Months and Swaddles & Hats can ALL be stored in one of those plastic storage bins from earlier.

IMG_8675No more waiting to empty diaper boxes, smushing and rolling everything so they fit then kneeling on the box to close it. I am obsessed with these bags and would definitely recommend them for any soft item needing to be stored away (think stuffed animals too!).

*this post was not sponsored, I was not given anything or told to write this. This is all original content.


Books for Babies and Toddlers

I have been dying to write this post and with summer in full swing and being pulled in 362 different directions I am finally forcing myself to get on it! Brandon has been loving books for the last 6 months or so which has made bedtime more enjoyable for us. Not only does he have to enjoy the stories and pictures but Kevin and I have to also. I can tell you there are a few books I get all the way through and say under my breath “that one sucked” and there are others where I don’t even get beyond the first couple pages. They need a rhythm, a flow, some funny voices and a cute story. Here are our top bedtime stories (and books) from pregnancy through 18 months.

booksI guess starting with pregnancy books would be a smart move. Less is more in my opinion. I want to be knowledgeable but not SO knowledgeable where I’m freaking out because I know too much. There are SO many pregnancy books out there and from my experience most are more harmful than good; geared more towards the negative and worst case scenario instead of the happy part of pregnancy. With THAT being said, knowing I wanted a natural, un-medicated labor and birth, I loved Natural Child Birth the Bradley Way. It was an amazing book of knowledge for Mom’s and Dad’s and touched on everything (even C-Sections). Pain is one thing, but when you can associate pain with what is actually happening to your body during labor it’s so much more meaningful. Great Expectations: Pregnancy and Childbirth was a great week-by-week read for what’s going on with your body, size of baby as well as life after birth. Lastly, Jenny McCarthy shares the real joys of pregnancy, birth and the early days of Mom-life in a hilarious, easy read Belly Laughs.

We started reading books to Brandon early on, they were probably more for us than him anyway. The plush, crinkle books and anything with some sort of touch are best for babies development. The Baby Animals Touch & Feel box set has been a favorite of ours since B was about 2 months old. It includes Baby Animals, Zoo Animals, On the Farm, and Perfect Pets. He still plays with them after all these months. Another favorite is Right At Home which is a personalized book of pockets. Brandon was given this for Christmas and can actually spend QUITE a while playing with it. He just loves the animals (they spent more time in his mouth than in the book) but now really loves to put them in their “homes” throughout the book. A favorite in our house.

Anything after the 8-10 month mark can be used for months and years after I feel. Pout Pout Fish or (Big Big Dark), Little Blue Truck or (Leads the Way), Brown Bear Brown Bear and Where do Diggers Sleep have been read more times than I can count but we all still love them! The Going To Bed Book is usually the last one I read before putting Brandon into his crib and Giraffe’s Can’t Dance is another cute book with lots of animals and colors to talk about.

There are so many more books we love, anything by Sandra Boynton, Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site, There Was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly, Steam Train Dream Train, and Home Sweet Home.

I hope you can share your favorites because we are always looking for new books to add in the rotation.

**I have purchased myself, or been given as gifts all books mentioned above and all content is original and genuine.




DSC_0024In the early years when Kevin and I first started dating, I was at his house in Rhode Island and his Mom made Crepes for breakfast. I thought I was fairly well rounded for a 20/21 year old in the food department but when I saw this in front of me I was completely lost at what to do. Crepes have become one of my favorite breakfast foods and even though they are so simple to make, having them once in a while feels like a treat!

2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
3 T butter, melted
Toppings: Strawberries, Blueberries, Syrup, Molasses, Butter, Confectioner’s Sugar, Sour Cream, Whipped Cream (all optional)
Triple Sec or pinch of sugar to add sweetness
**Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse for 10 seconds. Place batter in refrigerator for 1 hour or overnight.
Heat a nonstick pan and coat with more butter. Use a 1/4c measuring cup to pour batter into heated pan and swirl pan until batter coats completely. Cook until just lightly browned and flip. Place on warm plate and cover in oven (180 degrees) until all crepes are made.
*Crepes will keep in the freezer up to two 2 weeks – separate each one with a piece of wax paper.

DSC_0016DSC_0020There are so many ways to enjoy a Crepe. Kevin likes to drizzle some molasses in the middle, fold in half once, then in half the other direction (like a triangle) and eat with his hands. I get a little more involved but spreading butter onto the crepe first, then a small scoop of warm berries, roll the crepe, top with sour cream, confectioner’s sugar and agave syrup. Whatever way you choose to eat it will be phenomenal.


Cooking with a Houseful

Brandon’s Daycare is closed for these next two weeks which means we have family coming and going..and therefore, meal prep is even more important! Here are some quick meals to feed a crowd!

American Chopped Suey (also known as Cheeseburger Pasta)

DSC_0035Prep – 5 minutes / Cook – 15 minutes


1lb Ground Beef or Turkey
1/2 Onion – chopped
1 cup Elbow Pasta – cooked
1 Tomato – diced
2 Pickles – chopped
1/2 cup Shredded Cheese
**Cook onions until soft and translucent, add beef and cook until no longer pink. Strain pasta and add to beef and onion mixture. Serve with sides of tomatoes, pickles, cheese and ketchup.

Bonus: opt for a different kind of salad. We like to slice veggies and make a homemade thousand island dressing (ketchup & mayonnaise), or serve some sliced tomato and cucumbers on a piece of romaine lettuce.

Chicken and Sweet Potatoes on the Grill

Prep – 10 minutes / Cook – 20 minutes


Chicken Breasts
Sweet Potatoes – peeled
**Slice chicken and sweet potato into bite size cubes. Grease/oil a foil pan and add the chicken and potato. Top with Sriracha or any other hot sauce you prefer. Grill (top down) on medium until heated through.
Stuffed Zucchini

Prep – 10 minutes / Cook – 20-25 minutes


3-4 Zucchini – sliced lengthwise and ‘gutted’ (save guts)
1lb Ground Turkey – cooked
1/2c Onions – copped
1 Clove Garlic – chopped
**Cook turkey, guts, onions and garlic in some olive oil until almost done. Strain any liquid that remains after cooking. Spoon meat mixture into zucchini boats and top with cheese of your choice. Can also add tomato sauce! Place on baking sheet and cook 20-25 minutes at 350 until zucchini is tender or place in foil pan and place on grill for 20-25 minutes on medium. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Prep – 10 minutes


2 Ripe Avocados
2T Red Onion – finely chopped
2T Corn – roasted
2T Tomatoes – chopped
2T Sour Cream
1 Lime – juiced
Chili Powder
**Mash avocados until smooth. Mix remaining ingredients and spices to taste. Serve with tortilla chips.

Homemade Dijon Vinaigrette


Good Seasons Bottle (or any glass bottle with tight fitting lid or mason jar)
1/4c Vegetable Oil
1/8c Water
1/4c Red Wine or Cider Vinegar
1T Shallot
1 clove Garlic
1.5T (heaping) Dijon Mustard
1T Lemon Juice
1tsp Agave Syrup
Basil / Parsley
**(If you have the Good Seasons Bottle, follow the measurements for O, W and V). Add all ingredients into the bottle and shake vigorously until well blended. Store in fridge. When ready to use, let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to allow oil to blend back in easily. (seasonings and measurements are at your own level of taste)

Cooking with Conagra

Cooking can be a chore to many but in our household, it is something that is enjoyable! Going out to eat is expensive and grabbing something on the go means unhealthy choices more often than not. I am always on the search for quick recipes that taste great and include healthy options. ConAgra reached out to me with some of my favorite pantry staples so I wanted to share some recipes that are OUR favorites! ConAgra Foods was sponsoring the #GreatAmericanCookIn which I participated in back in May (find my four weeks of recipes: one, two, three, four). I had SO much fun creating new meals and sharing them with you all.

DSC_0007Rotel and Diced Tomatoes are such versatile ingredients they can be used for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner which is one of the reasons I love this option so much.
Veggie Frittata

Prep – 10 minutes / Cook 25-30 minutes


Onions – chopped
Zucchini – shredded
Orzo – cooked
Pam Coconut Spray
Rotel Chunky – drained
Egg Beaters
Cheese**Cook vegetables until soft and translucent. Mix with orzo and let cool slightly. Add vegetables and orzo to Egg Beaters, and Rotel. Spray pie pan or baking dish liberally with coconut oil and pour in egg mixture. Top with cheese of your choice. Bake 25-30 minutes until egg sets and cheese is melted.
Peanut Butter Popcorn

Prep – 5 minutes / Cook – 20 minutes

**Pop two bags of Orville Redenbacher, Jiffy Pop or Act II Popcorn. Microwave 1 stick of Parkay, 3/4 cup of Peter Pan Peanut Butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar and handful of marshmallows – stirring every minute until incorporated and smooth. Spread popcorn on cookie sheet and pour Peanut Butter mixture over the top. Finish with decorative sprinkles if you like. Bake 225 for 20 minutes. Eat right away or enjoy later. Recipe adapted from here.

This is just a sample of the foods ConAgra offers – everything from Chef Boyardee and Hunt’s Ketchup to Egg Beaters and Act II Popcorn.

Capture Capture1

Vacation with a Toddler

We can all agree that traveling with children is not the most relaxing event in the world. I don’t care if we’re driving down the road to the grocery store, they’re bound to have a fit at some point and as Mom’s and Dad’s we have to be prepared for that by planning ahead so we can divert breakdowns for them and for ourselves! We are going on vacation in a couple of weeks (for a week) so here are some tricks I use to make the whole trip a little easier on all of us.


  • probably one of the hardest things to do when kids are involved because you never know WHAT you’re going to need. When Brandon was a baby, Kevin and I had a few arguments about packing because I always got stuck doing it for everyone and that’s stressful. We downloaded the Checklist app on our phones and that has been SO helpful. You can make lists for different destinations, each member of the family or things to do to your house before leaving. This way, Kevin can pack if I’m busy. Tip – make the list, and make it thorough! Or make a winter list and a summer list so it’s not so general.
  • pack kids outfits in gallon size ziploc bags for easy dressing while on vacation. The guesswork is done, you don’t have to figure out what goes with what or think “where did I put those socks”. I throw a shirt, pants, socks and long sleeve all in a bag and into the suitcase it goes. When the outfit is dirty or wet, throw it back into the same bag to keep messes under control. These packing cubes (similar here) are also great optionsDSC_0011DSC_0014
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  • i pack the number of days in outfits plus two more, two pairs of shoes, two bibs, two or more sets of PJs, a hat, sweatshirt and sweatpants (even if it’s summer) and bathing suit. I keep a mesh bag in Brandon’s suitcase of bath items (two toys, two wash cloths, travel baby wash and a toothbrush – also a nightlight) – keeping the little things always packed has been helpful.DSC_0010diaper bag – when traveling, we always use a backpack as a diaper bag because now that Brandon is walking we need both hands free at all times. Make sure the diaper bag is stocked with diapers, wipes, powder, sunblock, snacks, toys and a change of clothes in a bag. Are you bringing a stroller? Which one are you bringing – we have a 2-in-1 stroller as well as the small umbrella stroller. What high chair? We have the travel Ciao Baby high chair and a booster seat – both great options for travel (by car).
  • pack enough diapers to get you through a couple days. Diapers are heavy and take up space, if you’re going to a populated area, leave the diapers at home and buy them once you arrive.
  • bedding. We travel with the pack-n-play since Brandon is still too small for a bed. We bring one stuffed animal that is always in the crib with him along with two blankets (one thin and one heavy), pacifier and monitor.
  • extras. I have learned to pack the tylenol/motrin on every trip. You NEVER know when that tooth is going to want to come through or a stomach bug will hit. Being prepared makes the middle of the night a little smoother when the little one spikes a fever. You think you packed enough snacks? Pack more. Think there’s enough toys? Buy a couple new, inexpensive goodies. The change might snap him out of the fit he’s having and make everyone happy. Brandon is still a little too small to really care about new toys and special treats, but I do have a couple little things to give him while enjoying the shore.

Traveling / Arriving

  • travel around nap or bedtime. Sometimes that can be difficult because of traffic. Leave mid-morning, stop for lunch around normal lunch time and plan for a nap on the second leg of the trip.
  • try to get situated as SOON as you arrive. Set up the crib, changing station and lay out toys and clothes. Make the littles get as settled and situated as possible so when it’s time for a nap or bed you aren’t running around, it’s smooth sailing into your routine.
  • routine. Try to stay on track. I know it’s difficult on vacation – meals are scattered, late nights, more excitement…but try to stick with what you normally do, even if it’s an hour later.
  • fun. Vacationing with kids can be completely stressful (I’ll be the first one to admit that). After being a handful of trips with Brandon I have learned to just go with the flow and enjoy life. While routine and keeping life the same is important, you can’t let it rule you.



Jumpsuits and Rompers

I’ve been on the fence with rompers and jumpsuits for a long, long time. Mostly because being almost 5’9″ makes it a little difficult to wear a romper that fits properly and keeps my butt cheeks hidden from the world – not the mention it being short in the torso…if you catch my drift. I’ve stumbled on some super cute pieces (which I’m still nervous to try) but really, really wanting to! Personally, I want to go for the strapless jumpsuit as I feel that would be more flattering and comfortable on my body.

romperArmy Green / Strapless / Black / Racerback / Teal Romper / Blue Romper / Black /

I’m really digging the army green jumpsuit with the shorter/tighter legs. It’s so flattering and the skinnier legs make you look longer and leaner. The wide leg option is cute and more on the casual/comfy side. The best part of this outfit is that there’s no thinking involved! Does this shirt match this short or vice versa. It’s one-piece on and done. What’s even better than that is they are all well under $100! You don’t have to spend a lot to look great.

Do you have a jumpsuit or romper you love? Share which ones you’ve had your eye on.

Styles for Less

I am all about finding a good deal and that means from the grocery store to the clothes on my back. I shop the sales and I also shop the second-hand stores for gently worn, broken in clothing that is comfortable and affordable! I’ve gathered together a couple clothing sites I love to check out on the daily!

thredupFirst stop is thredUP, they are an online Consignment store for men, woman, children and accessories which lets you shop pages and pages of gently used to new items all at a fraction of the original price. You will see their price as well as what the retail price was of the item along with the size, material and their condition. Go one step further and send them items from your own closet and make money once it sells to use towards new items! Use the link above and code SUMMER for 40% off your entire purchase as a new customer.

I’ve mentioned Stitch Fix before as a way to have a personal stylist dress you in the most up to date clothing at a fairly reasonable cost. I do find the prices on the items to be a little out of my budget but once in a while you’ll find that staple item and won’t be bothered by the price tag. You fill out a fashion profile with likes, dislikes, sizing and any other style information you can give them. Aside from that, you can make style Pinterest boards to add to your profile and your stylist will use that as a guide. Give them tips or a specific item you’ve been looking for and let them work their magic. Pay the $25 styling fee and that will be credited towards any item you choose to keep!

renttherunwayWith four weddings coming up this year (plus the showers and bachelorette parties) I need outfits for each one that won’t break the bank. I’m not one to invest in expensive, fancy dresses and typically wear the same one for years before I get sick of seeing myself in the same outfit in every picture! I haven’t tried Rent the Runway yet but I do plan to make my first purchase soon! You can order an item (choose two sizes just in case), wear it to your event and send it back within 4 or 8 days! The prices are amazing and the reviews really help you determine if it’s the right item for you. I’m really looking forward to trying a romper – and the best part is if I don’t like it, it doesn’t matter!! Use the link above and code FIRSTRTR20P for 20% off and $30 off your first order. I am not sure if both discounts can be used together.