Bathroom Organization + Cleaning Tips

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
#ScottTubeFree #CollectiveBias

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Tackling the mess in your bathroom can often seem like a daunting task.  I know it is for me- especially with a baby in tow.  It’s one of those chores that is time consuming and I just don’t enjoy but is a necessary evil.  So today, I’m sharing a few tips with you on how to keep your bathroom organized and clean!

For some reason, the bathroom trash always seems to be full.  Always.  I’m not sure how, but I’ll blame it on tissue boxes, new makeup packaging, or maybe even toilet paper rolls.  But on one of my weekly trips to Target, I grabbed some Scott Tube-Free toilet paper.  They come in 4, 12 or 16 packs.  And if you get the 4 pack with this Target coupon, you can get it for almost 50% off! (Plus, check out my tips for saving money at Target so you can get an even better deal!)

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Bryce was pretty excited to be shopping in Target…and I share the sentiment. #likemotherlikeson

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You may have seen the commercials, but there is no TP roll in the middle! I’m hoping this means my trash can will be a little less full, which means I’m also helping with the environment.  It’s a win win !

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Did you know?  Over 17 billion tubes are tossed each year. That’s enough to fill the Empire State Building twice! Craziness.

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Here are some additional tips for keeping your bathroom organized and clean:

  • Every once in a while, go through your nail polish inventory and toss out colors you no longer wear, along with any expired medicines or toiletries, etc.
  • Take advantage of containers to help with organizing products. And get creative! I love using a cake stand or condiment serving set or even a lazy susan on the bathroom counter to organize hair ties, rings and other tubes/bottles that you use daily.  Everything else can go under the sink to minimize clutter.  Plus, it’s much easier to clean when you don’t have to pick up a bunch of items off your counter!
  • Have toilet paper in a handy spot so guests know where to find it when they run out.  You can keep it in a basket, along with extra towels and wash cloths.  I also like to leave a little basket out in the guest bathroom with travel-size toiletries that can be used if a visitor forgets something.
  • When cleaning, get a couple bags: one for legit trash, and another bag to see if friends want to go through samples or products you have/haven’t used.  You can even make it into a “beauty swap party” with your friends so you can try out new products without having to pay for them!
  • Keep your shower/bathtub clean by using a mixture of dish soap and vinegar in a dishwand sponge and wipe down the walls and surfaces when you are bathing—talk about multitasking!
  • In each of your bathrooms, have a dedicated space where you keep a stash of paper products like toilet paper, paper towel, cotton balls, cotton swabs and cleaning products so you can clean at a moment’s notice (like B’s nap time!)  Plus, you’ll be glad you don’t have to head to your linen closet or other bathroom to just grab another roll of TP or replenish the cotton ball supply.

So, do you have a mess in your bathroom? I shared my solutions – what is your best tip?

Bathroom Organization Tips

Adult Cherry Coke Sweet Gift Basket and Recipe with Coca-Cola and Reeses

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  Messaging below is intended for ages 21+ and is intended to be enjoyed responsibly, in moderation. #ShareYourSummer #CollectiveBias #ad

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My sister-in-law recently turned the big 2-1, and I wanted to put together a fun treat for her to enjoy for her birthday.  Instead of buying her a straight up bottle of booze to commemorate the occasion, I opted to make a fun gift basket for her to take back to her apartment this summer as she gears up for her last year of college so she can make her own Adult Cherry Coke.  I love the #ShareaCoke campaign with Coca-Cola, so I thought I’d take it literally and incorporate it into her gift! (Luckily, this year’s Coke campaign is bigger than ever with 1000 names printed on bottles available at Walmart, so I knew I would find her name!)

Putting this basket together was super easy. I visited my local Walmart with their new Coca-Cola display up near the front of the store. They also had a wide, organized selection in the coolers near the check-out lanes as well as in the pop aisle (or soda, depending on where you are from).  Then, I grabbed the REESE’s Peanut Butter Cups with the cute names on them at the check-out lanes (which are exclusive to Walmart).  The personalization on both of these items makes for a fun gift for sure!

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Aren’t these so cute?!

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And I had to grab a couple bottles for my guys while I was there :-)

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To round up my supplies, I grabbed a couple of cherry flavored vodkas, cherries and a cute cup with a straw, as well as a basket.  (I had the crinkle paper and bow in my stash at home.)  And here is the finished product- ta daaaa!

Adult Cherry Coke Sweet Gift Basket
And what about the Adult Cherry Coke recipe you ask?  Well, here ya go!  (Warning: You can’t taste the alcohol in this adult beverage. Trust me, it’s there.)

Adult Cherry Coke Recipe
Adult Cherry Coke
Yields 1 cocktail

Ingredients:
1 ounce cherry vodka (vanilla or black cherry would work well too!)
4 marachino cherries
splash of marachino cherry juice
8 ounces Coca-Cola (Diet works well too!)

Directions:

  1. Fill a glass with ice. Add vodka, cherries, and maraschino cherry juice to each glass.
  2. Pour cola into glass. Stir to combine.

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That’s it!  Super tasty adult cherry coke at its finest :-)  I’m sure my now 21 year-old sister-in-law will enjoy this fun basket!

Who would you Share a Coke with? I’d love to hear your comments and ideas!

Looking for more Share A Coke Enjoy A REESE’S inspiration? Click here.  Want to find your name?  Click here.

WaterWipes Review & BabiesRUs Gift Card Giveaway!

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I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for WaterWipes. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

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There’s a lot of things you DON’T need for a baby.  But there are certainly a ton of things you DO need: Carseat. Clothes. Crib/Bassinet.  Diapers. Wipes.  Oooh the wipes-you can never have enough!

I was thrilled when I got the opportunity to review WaterWipes, which are new to the US.  WaterWipes are a chemical-free product that have been a premier brand in Europe for quite some time.  I’ve tried a few brands already after getting a bunch from baby showers, ranging from generic to some of the big brands.  And while there are a ton of choices out there, I’m always looking for products that are more natural and use less chemicals, so I was excited to get to try them first!

A bit more info on WaterWipes:

WaterWipes are chemical-free and only contain 2 ingredients: 99.9% Pure Irish Water and .1% Grapefruit Seed Extract.  Pure and simple with no preservatives, meaning no harsh chemicals touching your baby’s bottom.  These wipes will keep up to 15 months unopened and then once opened, WaterWipes suggests that you use the entire package within one month.  And if the top wipes feel dry, all you have to do it flip the package over to let the water saturate the wipes and you are good to go.

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My WaterWipes Review:

Over the past couple weeks I’ve been trying them, I can tell you that WaterWipes are fantastic!  They are thick and durable and clean really well! I’ve tried a few different wipes brands and some left Bryce’s bottom with a little redness, or a thin coating of whatever preservative/chemical was in them.  But WaterWipes truly left his bottom feeling 100% clean.  And no redness!  This means I don’t have to worry about diaper ointment, which not only saves us some moolah, but also time- especially during those midnight feedings/diaper changes!  And although I wish the package had a sturdier opening (i.e.- plastic top), the clear sticker does hold in the moisture and produces one wipe at a time, versus other brands where a whole line of wipes comes out and you have to jam them back into the package…the worst! (The company says it allows for the sterile environment within the package to be maintained, which is why they recommend that you don’t relocate the wipes into a different container.) Plus, I love that I can pronounce the ingredients- bonus points for safe and natural products!

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Bryce loves ‘em!  Clearly, he’s itching for an endorsement deal.  :-)

Where do I get them?

WaterWipes are making their in-store debut at top Babies “R” Us stores across the country from May – July.  At select Babies R Us locations, they are running a 2 for $6 sale on the soft packs (60 wipes, regularly $3.99).

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Want to try out #WaterWipes for  yourself?  Enter the giveaway below for a $100 BabiesRUs gift card—good as gold for Mommas, let me tell you!  Giveaway is open now through August 19th.

WaterWipes Babies “R” Us

Summer Style: Classic White and Chambray Scalloped Shorts

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Shirt:  J. Crew Factory [exact]
Shorts:  c/o Shopbop [exact]
Shoes: c/o Duo [exact]

I wore this outfit the other week and considered it as “dressing up.”  I mean, wearing something other than flats, a t-shirt and athletic shorts?  Getting crazy over here!  But I love the simplicity of the look…it’s all about the classics with crisp white and blue chambray.  Yes, the shorts have scalloped edges that make it a bit trendy, but I love that detail in them- makes them a bit classier than a standard jean short, ya think?!

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July 2015 Clothing Budget

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 July 2015 clothing budget

July 2015 Clothing Budget

J. Crew Factory scalloped trim dress: $30 (regularly $98, on clearance + additional 50% off)
J. Crew Factory v-neck tee:  $12.50
Kate Spade ‘One in a Million’ initial pendant necklace: $21 via eBay
J. Crew Factory linen cotton drawstring pant: $20

J. Crew Factory (clearly a favorite store of mine) was having a killer sale with 50% off of clearance items, so I treated myself.  The tee and pants are nice casual pieces, although I’d size down on the pants.  Since they are linen, they don’t retain their shape and get quite lose as the day goes on.  The dress is something I’ve been lusting after for a while—love the plain navy (super remixable) and the scalloped edges (including a v-back) but they only had a couple sizes left.  That said, I snagged one in a smaller size and am crossing my fingers that it fits, or will hopefully fit in the near future.  We will see when it arrives in the mail.  I also found a killer deal on eBay for a Kate Spade simple, classic necklace featuring my little guy’s first initial that I can wear…loooove it!

I picked up a few other items that aren’t pictured here, including a couple pairs of Mizuno shorts on super clearance for $5 each.  I also stocked up on my favorite underwear, and found a gorgeous coral tunic and Loft ivory lace top at my local consignment store, where I was able to apply my sold profits towards the purchase.  All in all, this month’s purchases were again covered by blog income, consignment and eBay sales- which is always my goal.  Trying to stick to a budget post baby isn’t easy when you love to shop, but it’s a necessity these days!

And lastly for this month, I received the following from my sponsors:

A sincere thanks to supporting those who support me!

So tell me, what did you treat yourself to this month?  Post it in the comments!

July 2015 sponsored items

Linking up with Franish | Olives n’ Wine | I do DeClaire

Blogs by Valparaiso University Alumni

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VU Blogs by Alumni

I was feeling a bit nostalgic today, reflecting on my time at good ‘ol Valparaiso UniversityThe Honor Code (perfomed by Joey McIntyre).  The Sunday morning waffles at Berg.  Bryce Drew’s shot that gave VU it’s Cinderella Story in the NCAA tournament (and still gives me goosebumps). This list goes on and on.

I thought it’d be fun to share with you a few blogs by Valparaiso University alumni that I enjoy reading:

I’m sure there are others…any VU alums out there I’m missing? 

What’s your favorite memory from college? Oh, and how could I forget one of my favorite memories- representing VU on College Week on Wheel of Fortune!  YEEEAH!

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WOF pic 2
And all the loves…

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Summer Style: Pleated Maxi Skirt, Cargo Vest

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Vest: J. Crew Factory [option, option]
Shirt: Lands End [exact]
Necklace:  Boone Belles [option]
Maxi skirt: Piperlime [option, option]
Bag: c/o Olivia + Joy [exact]

This was a fun outfit to put together for when you want to be just a little more dressed up than usual.  Can’t beat a flowy, pleated maxi skirt for summer, and I paired it with a simple tee (love the Lands’ End tees by the way, thin but not see through!).  I layered the vest over it and then grabbed this necklace to tie it together and compliment my bag.

Speaking of bags, I can’t tell you how much I love this little beauty from Olivia + Joy!  I am SUPER picky when it comes to bags.  I am not the type of person that will switch our their purse for the outfit every day.  Nope.  I stick with a bag for a few months at a time before switching to a new one in my closet.  The bags from Olivia + Joy are so dang cute!  Not only are they super chic, but they are functional and meet my picky requirements like:

-Outer pocket for quick access to my cell phone, keys, etc.—check!  This bag has TWO outer zip pockets, one on both sides!
-Large enough to carry what I need, but not too bulky- check!  My laptop even fit in here, along with some essentials for Bryce
-Multiple carry options- check!  This has standard handles and a longer strap for over the shoulder.  Too bad it didn’t have a cross body strap…
-Zipper closure at the top- check!  I want to make sure my stuff is safe and secure.
-Purse feet…or studs, or whatever you call the things that are on the base of the purse to protect the bottom.  Sadly, this was the only feature this bag was lacking!
-Stylish and timeless- check!  And I am a huge sucker for tassels…love it!

What do you look for in a bag?  Do you wear the same purse for a while, or switch it up frequently?

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Linking up with The Pleated Poppy | Because Shana Said So | Tucker Up

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Weight Watchers Check-In, Tips & Recipes

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Top: J. Crew Factory [exact on clearance!]
Shorts: J. Crew Factory [exact on clearance!]
Shoes: c/o Fibi & Clo [exact]
Earrings: Baublebar [exact]

Last month, I mentioned that I was joining Weight Watchers to help me lose the baby weight.  I wanted to check in and give a little update.  I joined and go to regular weekly meetings, which I’ve found have been great for keeping me accountable.

A couple years ago, I was a WW member and lost nearly 30 pounds, and was determined to do it again this time around since I knew it worked for me before. I’d say that my goal would be to lose 30 pounds yet again…and I’m on my way!

As of now at about a month or 5 weeks in, I’ve lost 8.8 pounds (and surpassed over 5% of my body weight.)  YEE-HAW!

All I can say is thank goodness for pumping!  That gets me an extra 14 points to my daily total, which has been a great help to ensure I’m not hungry and can maintain my supply.  I’ve also been working out regularly…I typically do T25 workouts during the week (with some weight exercises for arms added in) while Bryce is napping or watching/cheering me on, and then run on the weekends when T is around to care for Bryce.  I feel like I’ve found my groove, although the T25 workouts are getting a to be repetitive to me.  I might be looking to do the “Beta” level or try out that P90X3 that has been staring at me for several months…

Any other recommendations for shorter but effective workouts I should try at home?

On the food front, I’ve compiled some great tips, tricks and recipes that I’ve been using along the way:

-This Hungry Girl smoothie is delicious and packed with protein. All the yums…
-These freezer meals are healthy and oh so easy to make for dinners! Best instructions/shopping list, etc. that I’ve seen after browsing tons on good ol Pinterest…
-This old fashioned oatmeal hack is a real time saver.
-This blogger has some good for you snacks that are WW approved!
-Can’t get enough zoodles. This recipe (and every other from Skinnytaste) are on my list. All her recipes have WW points figured out for you!
-I have an affinity for all things Pioneer Woman. Just made this Pasta Primavera loaded with fresh veggies. Divine!

What recipes do you use?  Any WW friendly tricks or tips?

Linking up with I Do DeClaireStyle SessionsWalking in Memphis in High Heels and Fashion Canvas.

Bryce: 3 Month Update

Weeks 9-12

Weeks 9-12
Bryce: 3 Month Update

Weight:
birth weight: 7 lb 2 oz
at 4 weeks: 8 lb 6 oz
at 9 weeks: 10 lbs 8 oz
at 12 weeks: 11 lbs 15 oz

Height:
at birth: 19 inches
at 4 weeks: 21 inches
at 9 weeks: 22 inches
at 12 weeks: 25 inches (I measured myself..not sure how accurate it was.)

Diaper: size 1
Clothes: 3 months or 3-6 months (wish they made clothing the same size from brand to brand! Ugh!)

The Highlights:
-We had a lovely time at the cabin for our 4th of July weekend!  Bryce loved the campfires and was able to meet his Great Grandma.
-Went for Bryce’s first physical therapy appointment and the PT was less than stellar (and that’s putting it nicely).  Got another recommendation for another place and have our first appointment next week.  Until then, lots of tummy time to strengthen that neck and playing with toys and to ensure he is looking from side to side.  He also tracks people quite well as they walk by, so the issue is more of a head tilt versus turning his head.
-Grandma read him a fun book called “The Bear Snores On” and snored at the appropriate places.  Bryce’s eyes got SO big each time.  It was hilarious!  It’s incredible seeing him focus on the pages of books a bit more each day…
-Lots of drool & bubbles these past few weeks!  He’s been rocking some cute burp bib bandannas as a result.  You’ll get a nice pile of drool on your shirt if you hold him…fair warning!  And he loves eating those fists.  He even sucked his thumb once, and hasn’t done it again…it was so stinkin cute.
-Bryce startles himself when he isn’t swaddled for naps. When sleeping, he will abruptly kick out his arms & legs and it wakes him  up.  He cries, but then gets right back to sleep.  It’s kinda funny actually!
-SO many smiles.  Like SO many.  It melts my heart!  We are convinced he knows the word when we ask him to smile or ask “who is cute?!” #babygenius
-Bryce is an excellent travel companion.  He will fall asleep within 2 minutes of being in the car and usually stay asleep, which is nice when I am grocery shopping, at a Weight Watchers meeting, at church service, etc.
-He’s starting to enjoy bathtime a little more each day.  I love seeing him smile when the water pours over him!
-He’s doesn’t like being left alone. He’s more aware of everything going on around him and if I leave him on the floor or in his pack & play for too long (or while I pump), he will let me know it’s time for me to come back and play with him.
-We’ve been enjoying the mild summer with lots of trail walks and walks through the neighborhood– he falls right to sleep and looks so peaceful.  Wish someone would push me around in the stroller while I lounge, come to think of it…

Sleeping:
Bryce has been sleeping like a champ, knock on wood.  He’s been sleeping through the night for the past few weeks in his bassinet in our room. Then, on Monday (July 13th), Bryce slept through the night in his own crib!  YEEEEAH! We moved him in his crib for the first time that Monday after he was a few days past 12 weeks, and it worked!  (I was constantly glued to the video monitor, watching intently.  He’s so cute when he’s swaddled up sleeping!)

Eating:
Going well!  Still exclusively pumping and he takes 4-5 ounces at a time with a large 5 ounce bottle at night.  He eats every 3-ish hours around 6am, 9am, Noon, 3pm, 6pm and 9pm again. Then he is down for the night until the morning feeding, which has been LOVELY! He hates being burped mid-feeding so wait until he was finished eating and get a big, manly burp out of him.  And he takes the bottle great from lots of people, which is so nice that others can enjoy feeding him!

It’s been so incredible to see him grow over the past weeks. He looks like a little boy and his personality is coming out.  I’m glad he is growing, because each weeks gets a little easier and we learn a bit more about each other along the way.   It’s tough but super rewarding work and I SO enjoy seeing this little man when I wake up in the morning and when I kiss him good night.

Check out the other updates: 1 month | 2 months

Summer Style: Comfy Maxi Dress

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Dress:
Loft c/o Brandzaffair [exact]
Jean Jacket: Old Navy [exact]
Necklace: Baublebar [exact]

When I think of summer style, I definitely think of maxi dresses.  Fun, flowy and in this specific case: super comfortable.  I found this maxi dress from Loft on Brandzaffair and had to get it! Brandzaffair tells you all the sales and deals from tons of stores, including some of my favorites like Loft, Nordstrom, Banana Republic, J. Crew, and more– even Target! It’s great for making sure you know all the sales when you are shopping online, which I do all the time, because let’s face it: it’s much easier to shop from your computer versus packing up the baby and all his stuff!  And dressing rooms?!  Forget it!

Anyways, this maxi dress is from Lou & Grey at Loft and is SO comfy.  I can wear a regular bra with it, and the gray is perfect to style with a fun statement necklace or layer with a blazer, cardigan or cargo jacket.  And right now, it’s on super sale!  FYI on the sizing though…I ordered a medium and it’s form fitting, but true to size.  The length is quite long though.  I’m 5’5” and it was a couple inches too long (you can see in the first and last photos—for the others, I was standing on my tip toes!) I wore flats with the dress, and it was sweeping across the floor.  Sounds like I need to enlist my Momma to do some hemming for me like she did before ;-)

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Disclosure: Products were provided via Brandzaffair.com. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not indicative of the opinions or positions of Brandzaffair.

Win it Wednesday: Hero Half Marathon and 10k

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I had such a blast when I ran the Hero Half Marathon and 10k race at the gorgeous Indiana Dunes a couple years back.  And now that I’m back into running post baby, I am SUPER excited to add this event to my race schedule this year, especially now that the race has been moved up to September instead of October!

And for those of you in the Chicagoland area, I’ve got a sweet treat for you: I’m giving away one entry for the half marathon and one entry for the 10k!

Hero Half Marathon and 10k Giveaway via

But first, the details:

Hero Half Marathon and 10k
When:
Sunday, September 27 at 8 am CST
Where: Indiana Dunes State Park (40 miles east of Chicago on Lake Michigan)
Cost: $40 for 10k, $75 for half marathon
Includes: Cost includes a finisher medal, race shirt, bib & timing device, water & fruit and overall/age group awards
Register: Herohalf.com and use code HERO5 for $5 off either race!

If you check out the website, you’ll see a video of the course, as well as a course map.  This beautiful course is run along paved trails, roadways and a small portion of both races on a dirt trail. The views of the beach, dunes, and wetlands are awesome.  I grew up a few minutes away from the Dunes, and I have to say that going for a run with this as the backdrop is picturesque!  I remember many a runs and even soccer conditioning practices out there…good times!

Sound like an race you want to try?!  Then enter to win a free entry!  Please enter only if you can attend.  There are two Rafflecopter widgets to enter: one for the 10k and one for the half marathon.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free race entry and two additional entries to giveaway in exchange for promotion on my blog.  I ran the race and loved the course, so I wanted to share with you!

Linking up with Erica Finds | Chicago Running Bloggers

Send Smiles: You’re One in a Minion

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SendSmiles #CollectiveBias
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Is it just me, or does it seem like EVERYONE under the sun has a birthday during the summer?  There are a ton of birthdays in the summer months from family to friends—the list goes on and on!
I am still in denial that it is July already…and sometimes I have trouble remembering all those summer birthdays when I’m soaking everything in with Bryce!  I do have the birthdays listed in my planner, but often times, I realize it at the last minute and am making a quick trip to grab a greeting card.  (Sidenote: I’m a huge fan of “old school” birthday cards.  In today’s digital world, it’s so nice to get a physical card in the mail, and I love sending them for every occasion—not just birthdays!)
Anyways, it isn’t always possible to just run out for a birthday card with a newborn, so I like to keep a little stash in our office to be prepared when those summer birthdays roll around.  I have a small box with inserts that organize the cards by occasion (birthday, anniversary, congrats, thank you, sympathy, etc.) so I can just grab one and mail it out.
With all these summer birthdays, I wanted to restock my card collection, so Bryce and I headed to Walmart and found the cutest new Minion Cards from Hallmark! They are darling.  I mean honestly, who can resist a cute little Minion?!

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I found these Minion Cards at my local Walmart, they had them on an end cap as well as with the kids birthday cards. It was tough deciding which ones that I wanted, but I ended up adding a few good ones to my stash. I was cracking up in the aisles reading each of the cards…I must have looked ridiculous!

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We also picked up some fresh flowers to accompany one of the birthday cards for a friend, although if you are looking for a super cute Minions-inspired DIY gift, check out this post for Minion lip balm and a movie gift card (hopefully to see the new Minion movie!).  Love her idea!

Side note: not gonna lie, I love Minions so much that T and I saw the new Minion movie this past weekend to celebrate our 6-year wedding anniversary.  We’re adults like that.  But it was so great…hilarious!

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Even Bryce gives the Minions cards a thumbs up!

These cards are so darling—they are great for kids and adults…because who can resist a cute little Minion?!  (And I love that little language the Minions use.  I wonder if there is any rhyme or reason to it?  I hear a little English and Spanish in there…)

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So stock up on your stash and grab some adorable Minions cards!  Who wouldn’t want to get a greeting card and feel like “one in a minion” on their special day?!    Speaking of, here’s a video of my little Minion…

Bryce, you’re one in a minion. #SendSmiles #ad #hallmark #minions

A video posted by Valerie (@stylefilesvalerie) on

Lazy Saturday Reading: Links & Loves

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Happy weekend!  Looking for some lazy Saturday reading?  Here are some of my favorites from around the web…

On the baby front:
-I am a huge organization/planner freak.  So clearly, I am in love with Emily Ley’s planners.  But did you know she just created a baby book?  Adding this to my wish list!
-Fellow Chicago blogger Jen knows what’s up.  She has 12 parenting secrets that shouldn’t be secret.  So true!

Style-wise:
-Although the 4th has passed, I love this 9 pieces/9 outfits roundup featuring classic and casual summer pieces in red and navy.
-What’s your style, exactly?  Merrick nailed it with her 8 steps to finding your personal style.

For all the feels:
-Whatever advertising genius came up with this video for a storage company is great.  Moms- betcha you can’t make it all the way through without crying…maybe even ugly crying.
-Did you hear about this class valedictorian that posted on Instagram for all 657 of his classmates? So touching and nice to see versus all the negative issues that come up with social media.

Eats:
-I’ve been making this Peanut Butter Smoothie Recipe from Hungry Girl on repeat.  Only a few ingredients (including PB2) and only 4 Weight Watchers points!
-Check out this fellow momma’s good for you snacks that are Weight Watchers friendly, which I’m totally on board with.

Randoms:
-Men have “man caves,” so women should have their equivalent.  How about a “she shed“?!

 

 

 

 

The Game Plan…

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Dress: Old Navy [exact]
Necklace: Baublebar [exact]

Tomorrow, Bryce will turn 12 weeks old.  Wow, that went fast.

And that means that my maternity leave is officially over.  But after a lot of thought, I have a new game plan…

I am staying home with Bryce.

That’s right.  I’m leaving my communications job in “Corporate America” in favor of staying home to raise my little love.  Being a stay-at-home mommy is no easy task, I’ve come to find out.  It is  challenging and rewarding all at once.  And I wouldn’t change it for the world.

For our family, it was a relatively easy decision.  T and I always agreed that if we have the financial means to do it, I would stay at home with our child.

But truth be told, I wasn’t in love with my job either, so that certainly helped in my decision.  But on top of that, I am a busy body by nature, and although I have this blog as a nice outlet to engage myself, I often find myself thinking (and praying) about “what’s next” for me.

I want to maintain my skill set in marketing/communications/social media and continue to build my career for when I go back to the workforce (likely when Bryce is in school.)  And I crave that adult interaction, too.  Ideally, I think finding a part-time gig or freelance/consulting work would be ideal so I would have a healthy mix of career/family.

I’m always thinking about my game plan and want to be really picky about how I spend my time now that I have a son to think about, but I feel that something is “missing” so to speak.  Sometimes I feel selfish thinking that way when I have a beautiful baby boy to take care of, but it’s all about finding balance for myself, right?

So…what does that mean for the blog?  Well, I’m definitely sticking around these parts.  I enjoy blogging, but always want to be mindful of the time I am devoting to it and make sure that Bryce is my priority.  So some weeks, you’ll see several posts, and other weeks, I may not get to writing any…but that’s just real life.

The Style Files has also evolved to be so much more than a “fashion” blog when I started it three years ago.  I feel like it has become more of a “lifestyle” blog, albeit my personal style in food, decor, fitness and of course, fashion, among other things, like parenting.

You may also notice a few more sponsored posts here and there.  I’ll be honest with you…now that we are on a single income, I look to the blog to bring in some extra moolah.  Everything helps when you are on a budget!  However, I will do my very best to be authentic and transparent and ensure that I only do sponsored posts that are a good fit for this blog, my lifestyle and my reader’s interests.

So there is my flow of consciousness for you.  In the end, I am so incredibly blessed to be able to stay at home with Bryce.  I love that little nugget more than I ever thought I could.  And I’m sure I’ll find that happy medium where I balance my passions with being a mother as time goes on.  All I can say is that I appreciate you following my little ‘ol blog.  It’s a labor of love and has been a blast to develop over the past few years, with great friendships and opportunities along the way!  So thank you.  I really enjoy blogging and hope you enjoy it too.

And hey, as Maya mentioned in her blog post, you never know- blogging may launch my next career move.  So if you know of any opportunities, let me know!  It’s all about networking and putting yourself out there.  I’m a firm believer in it.

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Yep, I’m pretty lucky to stay at home with this little studmuffin!  I mean come on….who can resist that face?!IMG_20150628_104553
Linking up with The Pleated Poppy | Tucker Up

Wantable Style Edit Review: July 2015

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Wantable Style Edit- July 2015

Wantable Style Edit Review: July 2015

After a lovely Independence Day weekend, I was excited to find my second Wantable Style Edit in the mail!  For this month, I asked my stylist for casual clothes (tops and dresses only) in solid colors and basic patterns that I could wear with a regular bra.   Here’s what I got!

Wantable Style Edit- July 2015- Jack Avalon Blue Top
Jack Avalon Top, $50

Love the cobalt blue color, but not a fan of hi-low tops, and the inverted pleats at the back make me look like Cinderella’s fairy godmother (Google it, you’ll see what I mean.)
Verdict: Return

Wantable Style Edit- July 2015- French Connection Classic Polly Plains Stripe Top
French Connection Classic Polly Plains Stripe Top, $68

The color blocking didn’t do me any favors, and the top is pretty sheer, so I’d have to wear a cami underneath as I did here.  Not worth it to me- I want to be able to wear a top on it’s own!
Verdict: Return

Wantable Style Edit- July 2015- French Connection Polly Plains Sleeveless Top Caloosa Blue
French Connection Classic Polly Plains Sleeveless Top in Caloosa Blue, $48

The back is a knit (the front is poly I believe), so it drapes oddly, and again, is see through so I’d have to wear a cami with it.  Not worth the price tag for a plain tank.
Verdict: Return

Wantable Style Edit- July 2015- Dex Heather Top with Lace
Dex Heather Top with Lace, $39

This top is slightly sheer (I’m not wearing a cami with it), but I do like the simplicity of it.  Wish the lace was lined so my straps wouldn’t show, but oh well.  The price was decent too, especially after the $20 styling fee is applied.
Verdict: Keep!

Wantable Style Edit- July 2015- KUT from the Kloth Mason Shirt Dress
Kut from the Kloth Mason Shirt Dress, $110

This dress was pretty shapeless on me and resembled pajamas in my opinion.  Not a fan of the lattice print, either.  The convertible sleeves and pockets were nice, though.
Verdict: Return

Overall, I’d say this month’s edit wasn’t as good as my previous one.  But I plan to give more specific feedback and start a Pinterest board that I can share with my stylist so I can get specific Wantable pieces…we will see how it goes next time around!  There really is a novelty to getting a box of items on your doorstep each month…it’s a fun way to shop without leaving your house!

And did you know?  Wantable will price match if you can find the same item from the retailer’s website!  I was able to do it with the top I kept last month and got it for nearly half off…very easy to do and their customer service folks were great, FYI.

Interested in trying Wantable out?  Get started here!

Check out my other Style Edits: May

And check out my reviews of their fitness, accessories, makeup and intimates boxes here.

Linking up with Mix it Mondays, Style Sessions, Walking in Memphis in High Heels and Fashion Canvas, Celebrate Southern, I do DeClaire, Olives n’ Wine

*Please note: this post contains my affiliate link.  I will receive $10 if you sign up and make an order.