Links & Loves (April)

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A few links and loves for this month…

Loving the Clear Regular Strength Kit from Paula’s Choice. Seriously, it’s a game changer (once my skin got used to it). My skin has never looked better, and I’ve tried it all from Accutane (yuck) to Proactiv. They have a trial kit for just $13….trust me, it’s worth it! Better yet, use my link for $10 off your order. (You have to spend $15 to use the coupon, but throw in something small OR get a second trial kit for the gym, travel, etc.) Plus, I get $10 too. Win Win!

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Playing trucks with my little buddy…

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How much Bryce is like his Daddy…like their mutual love of spreadsheets. Totally the son of an engineer.

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Other links & loves?

Baby love:

  • I’d totally sign up for a class like this…Bryce loves when I hold him and dance!
  • This bike/stroller contraption. It’s legit…and crazy expensive.
  • Did you see my post last week on some great baby brands we love?
  • This car booster seat looks too good to be true.  Lightweight, compact and affordable!  I might preorder one…
  • If you love Instagram as much as I do, you’ll want to get one (or several) of these books from Chatbooks. (I’m ordering one of Bryce’s week-by-week shots!) It’s only $8 per book, 60 pages included. Free shipping. Use  code M443KWX4 for your first book free!
  • This. All of this. #mommyhood

Closet/beauty love:

  • This top. Perfect for barre class…or lounging around. And with a sports bra like this to peek through!
  • These striped capris. And in this color. WANT. (Hint– I’d totally dig this for Mother’s Day!)
  • I got a pair of SmartWool socks in a raffle a long while back. They are quality socks for running, let me tell you. And now they make them in cute designs like this!
  • I signed up for Poshmark…and I’m hooked. I listed a few things recently (find me at vpstyl23), and I purchased two great items already, which coming in my April clothing budget at the end of the month! Sign up and download the app with my referral code JOIJL for $10 off your first order.
  • Lessons learned on creating a spring capsule…
  • Did you know? Sephora offers free beauty classes.
  • How perfect is this tunic for spring?
  • Just in time for Mother’s Day, college graduation (or a spring closet refresh), treat yourself or give a gift of Stitch Fix! I may or may not have treated myself for Mother’s Day… And did you know they have shoes now? Schedule your fix!

The big picture:

  • Why we do what we do and how it relates to faith…read the post. And I just started getting into podcasts (wow, I feel old.)  This one is quickly becoming a favorite.  What other podcasts do you listen to?

Affiliate links used where appropriate.

My Baby Boy’s 1st Birthday Party

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Last Saturday (at 8:55pm to be exact), this little guy turned ONE!  We celebrated with our friends and family and Bryce has a fantastic time!  I’ll let the photos do the talking…

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We got these t-shirts from Jessica’s Etsy shop, Beach Town Baby. She makes the most ADORABLE tees for littles and adults!  They were perfect for the occasion. (It was hard to get a shot head on with Bryce, but you can see them over on my Instagram or this shot from Bryce’s 1 year photoshoot.)

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We put together a slideshow to loop on the TV…it was hard selecting just a few shots, as I’m sure other Mamas can imagine…

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Crazy to see how little Bryce was. My how he has grown!

And I had fun with the decor.  I didn’t really go with a theme, but we used blue, red and gray throughout (similar to his nursery). I tried to incorporate a mix of items we already had, along with a few pieces I picked up- like the straws from the Target dollar section (a great place to shop for party items, by the way!)

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Our dessert station! The chalkboard and B letter, banner and cake stand were from Target. Also got the gray gumballs and plates on super clearance there too. The rest of the items I pulled from throughout the house.

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This cake. LOVE IT!  First off, you have to get the cakes at Costco. They serve 48 people. And they are delicious. And it’s only $18.99. They don’t do any custom decorating, but they piped on the lettering and the edging and I added crumbled oreos and plopped Bryce’s trucks on top. Love how it turned out!

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I decided to go all out and ordered a Cookie Monster smash cake from the grocery store.  It was so worth it.

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Besides our counter tops, we used the island in our kitchen for some of the food. I picked up a roll of chalkboard paper from Target for $3 and wrote on it with a chalkboard marker. It helped make clean up a breeze too!

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We made a simple backdrop with crepe paper and I cut out colored felt and hot glued the letters O-N-E on a plain burlap banner for the front of his high chair. The burlap banner? Yep…Target again.

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Instagram heart photo on the wall from Minted (love that thing.) See my review here.

And a shot of me on the verge of tears…that kid gets me every time!

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After lunch and an epic cake smash, Bryce had a quick bath and we opened some presents. (Or Mom & Dad did…he was a little distracted as you can imagine.)

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Among the many thoughtful gifts from guests, his uncle (a talented musician) made him a marimba!  It was so thoughtful and Bryce got the hang of it almost immediately. So cool!

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Happy 1st birthday, Bryce Nolan!  We love you to the moon and back!

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Bryce: 12 Month Update

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Photo by Jessica Lynn Studio

Bryce: 12 Month Update!

Weight:
birth weight: 7 lb 2 oz
6 months: 17 lbs 15 oz
9 months: 21 lbs 6.5 oz
12 months: 24 lbs 1 oz

Height:
at birth: 19 inches
6 months: 26 1/4 inches
9 months: 27 1/2 inches
12 months: 29 1/2 inches

Diaper: Size 4

Clothes: The 12-18 month range, but the 12 month stuff is getting tight!  The length on some of the 18 month stuff is a bit long on him, but fit well otherwise.  He just got some new summer PJs since his fleece footie PJs are getting snug (and a bit warm!) These new ones really look like biy boy PJs (think Cookie Monster pants and t-shirt, Batman, Elmo, etc.) and he looks like such a big boy!  Otherwise, we are going to need to do a little shopping for some more summer clothes in his new size!

Eating:
Bottle–right before he turned 1, we started to transition him to organic whole milk mixed with his formula. Started with 1/4 milk, 3/4 formula. About a week later, we upped it to 1/2 milk, 1/2 formula and intend to use up the formula before he goes solely to whole milk. I’m guessing it will be a few more days till we run out! He was drinking three, 8 oz bottles throughout the day, but the pediatrician is recommended 16-20 ounces along with his meals.  And we can officially put the bottle warmer away…and the bottles!  He is pretty good with a sippy cup when he has water during meals, but I wonder how he will react when he doesn’t have the bottles? We will see!

Food–No surprise here, he’s still a GREAT eater. Loves almost everything we give him and loves feeding himself…not so much with utensils, but those fingers are nimble! Still doing 3 meals a day, and we will be adding in a couple snacks now that he will be off formula. But the doc said his appetite will diminish in year 2, and he may become a pickier eater. Did anyone else notice this with their kiddos?!  We also did a “test run” with a cupcake to see what he would think of it prior to his birthday, since we weren’t sure how he’d take it. Needless to say, he was a natural.  Oh, and when he is full and there is still food on this tray or he doesn’t care for something, he enjoys throwing it down to Izzy…something we have to work on ;-) He also has two teeth on the bottom (for quite some time) and six on the top!

Sleeping:
-Naps- He had been taking two naps a day, but literally to the day when he turned one, he decided he wanted to do one nap. At first, it was a morning nap, but we are now transitioning him to an afternoon nap after lunch. It is (usually) a longer nap instead of the two shorter ones, so will be nice to have a longer period of time for Momma to get some stuff done!

-Nighttime- After our nighttime routine, we are rocking and relaxing around 7:30pm, and he is out shortly after. Sleeping through the night, and up around 6:30am.

The Highlights:
-Bryce (and I) had our first time away from each other for more than a night. I was in California for work for almost a week, and he did so great with his grandparents. T was able to be there after work each night, which worked out so well.  He handled it like a champ?  Mommy on the other hand? It was tough, but I survived!
-If feels like to the day he turned one, he was acting more like a toddler- being super independent, random bouts of being upset/pouty for no reason, etc. Can you call a 1 year old a toddler? Or is 2 years when they are a toddler? Semantics, I suppose!
-Super affectionate these days, and I love it!  Still lots of kisses, and he started to take soft things like blankets or stuff animals and hug them and put them to his cheek- adorable!  And cuddly! He walks up to me when I sit on the floor and lays his head on my back or shoulder for a lingering moment. Precious!
-Words: so far, LOTS of Daddy and even Izzy (which is hard to say!) No Mama yet, but lots of kisses whenever I ask him to say it. Equally awesome if you ask me. Doc says he will have 3-5 words under his belt by his next appt by 15 months.
-Looking forward to lots of outside time as the weather warms up!  Had a fun play date with neighbors and he LOVED the water table.  And we start swim lessons for fun at the local YMCA, along with the “next level” of library classes in a couple weeks (with the more mobile kiddos, 12 months +)
-Walking all.the.time!  He started at 11.5 months or so. He usually pulls up on something to stand and just recently, he will walk up to me and reach up with both arms or tug on my shirt to get up. Adorable.
-Loves- answering his toy “phone” up to the back of his head, playing with bowls in the kitchen, holding Izzy’s bones or toys in the air with his arm outstretch for her to take and petting her, pulling the air vents on the ground (?!), having his arms scratched (holds them out straight and smiles), playing trucks, playing with the TV remote, flipping pages in books, giving high gives, playing peek-a-boo, walks (or runs) in the stroller, opening and closing doors and cabinets, including our sliding door (he is strong and knows to use his whole body vs. a regular door!) playing hide and seek and exploring. Lots of exploring for this curious little guy!
-He’s also starting to point to more things, help put things away in the basket, load his dump truck, give kisses when asked, waves and likes to gesture to songs like “no more monkeys jumping on the bed!”
-We had such a wonderful birthday with friends and family this past weekend, along with a photo shoot for this milestone. Will share bday photos in another post coming up!

So there you have it– a full year.  When they say time goes by fast, it’s true. I’m so glad I did this each month so I can look back on what things he was doing.  Incredible to see how he has grown.

One year ago, our lives changed in the most wonderful way. Week by week, we all learned from one another as we figured out this whole parenting thing. We’ve had fun family adventures and made memories I’ll never forget, taken too many photos to count and have created a bond that is truly unbreakable.

One year later, our sweet baby has grown into a curious, fun-loving, smart little boy, always full of smiles. Bryce Nolan, you are an incredible blessing in our lives and we love you to moon and back! (And thanks for putting up with your Mama for these weekly shots…what a trooper!)

To see all the latest photos of Bryce growing by the minute, follow along on Facebook or Instagram!

Check out the other updates: 1 month | 2 months | 3 months | 4 Months | 5 Months | 6 Months | 7 Months | 8 Months | 9 Months | 10 Months | 11 Months

Brands I’m Loving: Baby Edition + A Giveaway

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This little guy is turning one on Saturday. ONE.  I am still in shock at where the time went!  He has grown so fast and is turning into quite the little boy these days. He is such a fun loving, smart, curious little adventurer. Love him to pieces!

That said, today’s post is a fun one that revolves around some brands that I’ve been loving– perfect for babies to toddlers of your own, or gifts for a birthday, shower or just because. And best yet, there is a giveaway at the end!

Check out some of the brands Bryce and I have been loving lately…

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Pediped (Bryce’s shoes and sandals)

About Pediped:
Exceptional quality, unsurpassed comfort, and distinctive styling have made the award-winning company the fastest growing children’s footwear brand in the United States. The brand has received numerous industry awards and accolades for their quality. pediped® is sold in over 750 stores in the United States and 40 countries worldwide with an offering of more than 120 designs for boys and girls between its three lines, Originals®, Grip ‘n’ Go™ and Flex®. The award-winning footwear is available in sizes for newborn to 6 Youth. The pediped® Spring/Summer 2016 Collection is now available for purchase online at www.pediped.com and in select retail stores.

Our thoughts: I first heard about Pediped via the emails I get from Lucie’s List (fantastic resource, by the way.) The soles are very grippy and seem to be as close to bare feet as you can get, which is perfect now that Bryce is walking everywhere now (check out some of his first steps here).  Overall, they have very nice quality and are super stylish! While they do run true to size, the sandals fit great since they were canvas-like and had a wide opening, but the shoes don’t have a ton of give to them and they don’t go on Bryce’s feet very well at all.  They fit the length of his foot fine, but getting his foot/ankle in is really tricky, so I’d recommend sizing up to avoid the same issue we had!

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Baby Blanket Music (the Beatles album)

About Baby Blanket Music: New York-based Baby Blanket Music offers a collection of albums featuring soothing lullaby arrangements of songs made famous by well-known artists.  The collection includes music from Madonna, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Billy Joel, Garth Brooks, John Mayer, Simon & Garfunkel, The Beatles and Lady Gaga. A Classic Soothing Lullaby Arrangements album is offered as well featuring classic tunes. Baby Blanket Music is designed to aid in the best development of babies while also pleasing the ears of parents, grandparents, family and friends.  A graduate of Duke University with a major in music, Rutt, who is a children’s music teacher, composer and performer, selects popular music and arranges it with care on each Baby Blanket Music album.

Our thoughts: We LOVE this album!  So great to hear the tunes we all know and love, but soothing in a lullaby form.  I first stumbled upon lullaby music based on modern day songs on Youtube, but love that there is a dedicated album out there featuring songs from one artist. (And you can listen to the songs on their website– I even find myself doing that as background while I work!) I’d definitely get another album– but it’s a tough call- do I go with Lady Gaga or some country with Garth Brooks?  Tough call :-)  Perfect for a baby shower too- so unique!

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NurturMe (NurtureMeals, Quinoa Cereals, Snack Packs)

About NurturMe: NurturMe is the first and only family of certified-organic, dried fruit and veggie meals and snacks created to nourish healthy growth and overall wellness in little ones. Bursting with vital nutrients and fresh organic flavor, NurturMe’s Quinoa infant cereals, dried NurturMeals wholesome baby food, Yum-a-Roo’s toddler snacks and Quinoa Squares Organic Puffed Crackers help parents feed their children better from first bites to first steps, and everywhere in between. Made from specially selected super fruits and veggies that are quick-dried in order to preserve freshness, flavor and vital nutrients, NurturMe baby and toddler foods are certified organic, gluten-free, non-GMO and kosher, with no added preservatives, sugars or salts.

Our thoughts: I try to make the best effort in giving Bryce fresh food whenever possible, and when we are on the go or low on produce in our house, I love to have these on hand. Natural, healthy and wholesome- win! Bryce loves the taste of these (we haven’t tried the toddler snacks yet) and I’m a fan too. Plus, they are sold in a ton of stores from Babies R’ Us to Whole Foods to Meijer to Amazon.

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Silikids (sippy cup, straw cup, place mat)

About Silikids: Traverse City-based Silikids was founded in 2006 and is the first mom-founded brand focused on creating products that are safe, modern and made entirely out of silicone, offering an alternative to plastic wares found in the kitchen.  Silikids’ designs are safe, modern and practical products offering superior function, while being easy to use and clean. All Silikids products are made from 100% food grade silicone. The Silikids mission is to be the alternative to plastic, bridge the gap between great design and affordability and improve the way we live.

Our thoughts: Wish we had these things sooner!  Seriously, these things are great. Easy to clean, durable for Bryce as he learns to eat/drink and of course, safe and non toxic. The sippy cup has a glass interior and can be taken off for cleaning, and the silicone around it protects it if it gets thrown around. And we love the straw cup…perfect for the smoothies that Bryce can’t get enough of lately. The straw is flexible so it’s easier for him to get to his mouth in his high chair, and the silicone top be fitted on glasses you already have.  How versatile is that?! And the place mat stays put on the table and collapses down to the size similar to a deck of cards, so it’s great to throw in the diaper bag when we venture out to eat at a restaurant (plus, he can start learning his geography and states early!)

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And now the fun part…you can enter to win a prize pack from these great brands, including a Baby Blanket Music album, Silikids sippy cup and place mat, NurturMe $20 gift package and pair of Pediped Originals shoes (winner picks size and gender.) Whether you have a kiddo or know someone who does, worth a shot…there are tons of ways to get entries!

Enter using the widget below. (US only please. All entries will be verified.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received products from these brands in exchange for a blog post. No other compensation was provided. I collaborated with these brands because I enjoy them and thought my readers would too!

Mom Style, Vol 12: Leggings + Cargo Jacket

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Jacket: Madewell c/o Shopbop {exact}
Tee: Old Navy {own these in all the colors}
Leggings: Zella via eBay {exact}
Scarf: Old Navy {similar}
Sneakers: Kohl’s {similar}

This week, my sweet little baby will turn one. ONE.  Where did the time go?!  Before I get all emotional over here, let’s get to the outfit.

Said birthday boy is having a party and that means lots of errands. Menu. Cake. Decor. You name it. In the name of comfort, I paired a basic black palette with a cargo jacket and added a scarf for warmth (did I mention it snowed last week here in Chicago…in APRIL?!)  PS- Looking for some more cargo outfit inspiration? I’ve got ya covered.

The end result? Functional, yet fashionable and perfect for anything from the playdates to party prep.  Now…if you need me, I’ll be busy rolling through my photo feed from the last year, getting all sappy.  Time really flies by, people!

I’ll be sure to do some sort of recap of Bryce’s party on the blog…and speaking of that cute little guy, I’ve got another post coming up for anyone with a kiddo in their life (cough *giveaway* cough). Consider yourself warned…

Check out my previous looks: Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3 | Volume 4 | Volume 5 | Volume 6 | Volume 7 |Volume 8 | Volume 9 | Volume 10 | Volume 11

Linking up with  Fizz and FrostingI do DeClaire | Style Elixir | Walking in Memphis in High Heels | The Pleated Poppy | Tucker Up | Mix & Match Fashion | Elegance & Mommyhood | Doused in Pink | Curly Crafty Mom | Lifestyle by Joules | Anne in Residence & What You Make It

Follow along: FacebookTwitter  |  Pinterest  |  Instagram  |  Bloglovin’

And no post is complete without a photobomb by Izzy…she wanted in on the shot too!

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Keeping Wellness in Check + A Giveaway

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This post was sponsored by Nature Made® as a part of a Blog Blast for Influence Central.

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{Photo courtesy of Erin’s husband.}

Last month, I shared my health and fitness pursuits for the year. This month, I thought I’d share a few things I do on the daily to make sure I keep my wellness in check. After all, wellness starts from the inside out, right? Between caring for my little guy and working full-time (among other things), it’s not always easy to put myself first.

Stress and busy schedules are unavoidable occurrences in our everyday lives and might take a toll on our wellness. Whether we turn to a long run to re-center ourselves, take additional vitamins, or cuddle up with a book and a glass of wine, we’re aiming for a mind-body balance that keeps us functioning at our best. And it’s important to invest that time in yourself so you can be the best mother/wife/friend/sister/insert your role that you can be.

For myself, there are a few things that I aim to do during the day to put my wellness first and keep my health front of mind:

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Water.
Besides my morning cup (or two) of coffee, I always aim to try to have water as my drink of choice. I like to add fruits to it for a little extra flavor, plus it’s just so pretty, especially when you have a fun water bottle! When it’s cold out, I often reach for hot water with lemon and it hits the spot.

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Daily Vitamins.
This is a simple one that I do every day. Nature Made are my favorites because they are the nation’s #1 best-selling brand for quality vitamins, minerals and supplements* to help support nutritional gaps. They are also  the #1 Pharmacist recommended supplement brand in 9 categories**. I typically grab my vitamins at Walmart.

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Eat Right.
This one is tough for me when hunger strikes and I don’t have time to whip up a healthy snack with a baby demanding my attention or between conference calls. But I’m trying to make healthy swaps as I go each day. I really want to try the Whole30 but in an effort to not crash and burn, I am focusing on eliminating the sugar in my diet first (and for a gal with a huge sweet tooth, it’s crazy tough.)

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Sweat.
This one is so important to me. I try to get in some sort of exercise during the work week since I am sitting at my desk all day. That’s why I often wear workout clothes so I can just hop on the treadmill next to my desk or pop in a quick DVD during lunch so I can get it in! Sure, I wish I was able to spend an hour or two every day working out, doing group runs or going to (barre) classes, but it’s tough with childcare and work.  But I will sign up for races and take classes here and there for some extra motivation, and to escape the solo workouts :-)

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Quiet Time.

I always need a little quiet time to myself after the busyness of the day. Whether that’s reading a book, watching my guilty pleasure show- The Real Housewives (or another show that T will actually enjoy) or just zoning out with a piece of dark chocolate or decaf coffee at night, it’s helpful to just relax and unwind.

Want to work on your wellness from the inside out? Enter for a chance to win a $50 Walmart Gift Card to check out Nature Made yourself!

Nature Made Wellness 6

Giveaway ends April 26th. I-C will randomly select 20 winners from all program entries and will handle fulfillment of the winning prizes.

***

Be sure to check out Wellness with Nature Made for yourself! Whether taking regular yoga classes or spending time relaxing and reading a book, your total wellness focuses on the body and the mind. The Nature Made Daily Boost program is here to help keep us inspired and stay on track with our goals to achieve total wellness in 2016!

***

*Based in part on data reported by Nielsen through its Scantrack Service for the Vitamins Category for 52-week period ending 1/02/2016, for the xAOC Market. Copyright © 2016 Nielsen.

**Based on US News & World Report – Pharmacy Times Survey, Nature Made is the #1 Pharmacist Recommended Brand in Nine Categories – Letter Vitamins, Omega-3/Fish Oil, Coenzyme Q10, Flaxseed Oil, Herbal Supplements, Cholesterol Management-Natural, Garlic, Diabetic Multivitamins and Mood Health Supplements

 

 

Mom Style, Vol. 11: Blazer + Jeans + Flats (and My Pant Inventory)

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Blazer: Target, old (save, save, splurge)
Top: Loft via consignment store (option, adore this tank version!)
Jeans: Old Navy (exact)
Flats: Target, old (very similar)

Besides a serious stash of leggings (my “work clothes”) and a pair of dress pants in navy and black for dressier occasions, my go-to pants are denim.  I’ve got a few pairs in colors that go with everything: my trusty Madewell jeans (in dark and classic wash), olive from Target, gray from Old Navy, white from Old Navy and black from Gap Factory.  Each of these can be paired with literally any color and can be worn across seasons- rolled up to be more capri-like in summer, and layered with taller boots in fall/winter.

Case in point: I paired my gray pair with an ivory scalloped top (I have a thing for scalloped edges on clothes, evidently), and added a blazer when I wore this to church to dress up the jeans a bit more.  And since it was Easter time, I added my mint flats because, well, pastels and Easter go hand in hand, right?

What kinds of pants are in your closet?  Any other colors you find to be staples?

Check out my previous looks: Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3 | Volume 4 | Volume 5 | Volume 6 | Volume 7 |Volume 8 | Volume 9 | Volume 10

Linking up with  Fizz and FrostingI do DeClaire | Style Elixir | Walking in Memphis in High Heels | The Pleated Poppy | Tucker Up | Mix & Match Fashion | Elegance & Mommyhood | Doused in Pink | Curly Crafty Mom | Lifestyle by Joules | Work Clothes I Suppose

Follow along: FacebookTwitter  |  Pinterest  |  Instagram  |  Bloglovin’

If I had a gift card at Athleta…

athleta wish list

athleta wish listStripe Sway Short |Seeker Tank DressAspire Ankle Pants
Destination Skort
Hermosa Maxi Dress  | Palm Springs Chevron Kimssa Tunic | Makai Maxi Dress

A few weeks ago, I got an Athleta magazine in the mail.  I couldn’t remember the last time I browsed through a magazine for clothes…I usually browse for clothes online these days, but there was something great about not looking at a screen and clicking my way through the various pages.

I haven’t really shopped at Athleta much in the past, but after seeing their new clothing lineup, I was very tempted.  From flowy maxi dresses to pants that are beyond my standard issue working leggings/capris to skirt meets short combos (who would have thought skorts would come back in style?!), they have some great pieces that caught my eye.

Although I love to see items in person before I buy, I have become much more of an online shopper, and prefer shopping at places that have free returns & exchanges, which Athleta offers. Another perk? They are part of the Old Navy-Banana Republic family of brands, so if you have a credit card with them, your spending counts for rewards. And there is no limit on how long you have to return an item.  How awesome is that?  I may just have to try a few things out…

Do you shop at Athleta? What are your favorites?

Affiliate links used. This post is not sponsored by Athleta, but I just wanted to share some of my favorites with you!

March 2016 Clothing Budget

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March 2016 Clothing Budget

Mossimo Mid-Rise Jegging: $25
Gap Factory Always Skinny Jeans: $21
Nantucket Top via Mindy Mae’s Market: $35
Gap Factory Perforated Booties (sold out): $30 (worn here and here)
Banana Republic Factory Laser-Cut Dress: $30, regularly $100!

Nike tee via Facebook group: $6
Nike Rival Shorts via eBay: $16
Gap Factory Spacedye Capris: $12 on clearance
Gap Factory Blue Mesh Leggings: $18 in clearance

Not pictured: Picked up two of these sports bralettes and this striped top at TJ Maxx with a gift card I had. Also bought a pair of Madewell  jeans on eBay for $40 but plan to resell them because the fit wasn’t right. I lucked out the first time I bought jeans on eBay but wasn’t so lucky this time…

Total: $233
– $161.50 income earned (via eBay clothing sales, survey panel, Ebates referrals)
= $71.50 in March

Annual clothing allotment: $600
– $193.90 spent so far
=$406.10 remaining for the year

My purchases fell into two buckets this month: casual/workwear and athletic wear.  I grabbed the olive and black jeans and wore them on my work trip to California because I realized all I had in my closet pant-wise were dress pants, and I didn’t have to be quite as dressed up, and I know I’ll wear these quite a bit more in the future. The booties were perfect for my two travel days and have been on constant rotation ever since.  Comfy, flat and goes with everything.  The top is from Mindy Mae’s Market (adore all their stuff!) and admittedly, was an impulse purchase, but it’s just gorgeous and I couldn’t resist- plus, I am lacking casual spring/summer tops so there’s my justification. And the dress was an impulse too when we were window shopping at the outlet mall. I had a rule that if I was going to buy a dress, I would sell a dress in my closet (which I am doing) and that it had to be a solid color, because every other dress I own seems to have a pattern.  It was on major markdown and fit so well, and wore it Easter weekend for our godchild’s baptism. LOVE it!

The other bucket of purchases were athletic wear (AKA work clothes). :-)  I am part of a running group for Moms on Facebook and got a Nike tee for $6 coming to me in the mail.  And I’m excited to try these Nike shorts because they have a 4 inch inseam, comfortable wide waistband and zippered key pocket. The capris and leggings were picked up as part of the Gap Factory haul from the clearance rack. I love the colors and they are so incredibly soft…the Gap Fit line is really nice and is quickly becoming a favorite, just like Old Navy’s active wear.

In terms of sponsors this month, I was also fortunate enough to work with Shopbop and grabbed this jacket and these leggings, got some great spring essentials from Orvis, and beautiful druzy earrings from Uncommon Goods.

So all in all, I was glad I earned that income this month to help offset my purchases.  And I would have actually covered everything, but some whackadoo that I sold a purse to on eBay wants to return it because she didn’t understand what color it was (it’s a long story).  I’ll be relisting it, so hopefully I’ll be able to sell it and apply to next month’s budget.

So tell me- how did you do this month?

Follow along: FacebookTwitter  |  Pinterest  |  Instagram  |  Bloglovin’

Linking up with Franish

Mom Style, Vol. 10: Spring Essentials with Orvis {Giveaway and Coupon Code}

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I received complimentary product from Orvis for this review.

Orvis spring looks
Ahh spring time. I can hear the birds chirping, our tulips are about to bloom, and the green grass is finally making its appearance again. Hallelujah! We can finally get outside without a billion layers on!

With spring in full swing, I’m excited to introduce some brighter colors into my wardrobe. I’ve found my casual, work from home wardrobe becoming more neutral, with an occasional pop of color here and there, but do like to spice up my color palette as the season changes. And Orvis has some great pieces that fit the bill.  Their new spring collection has outdoor ready looks in fun color palettes and fresh floral prints, and is really classic.  From cozy, soft sweatshirts to lightweight dresses and tops, their collection is functional and fashionable, perfect for moms (and women in general) for anything from a weekend cabin getaway or playdate at the park.

I put together a few looks from Orvis’ spring line and picked out what I consider to be a few spring essentials to transition my closet from winter to spring.  And let me tell you- it’s not only cute, but oh so comfortable!  Here’s the pieces:

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Sweatshirt: c/o Orvis {exact}
Jeans: Madewell
Scarf: Eddie Bauer Outlet
Booties: Gap Outlet

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1. A pop of color + florals.
Nothing says spring like bright colors, right?  This sweatshirt is cozy and soft and a beautiful coral color.  And the best part?  It has two zippered pockets!  Pair it with a fun floral scarf, jeans and booties and you are good to go- perfect for running errands (and grabbing a latte). Sizing tip: runs true to size, but the torso is a little short, giving it a boxy feel. I layered a cami underneath.

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Sweatshirt: c/o Orvis {exact}
Jeans: Madewell
Boots: Hunter

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2. Layer up with neutrals.
Spring is a little unpredictable when it comes to temps, so having a cozy sweatshirt that you can throw on as you head out the door is a must. I love the pockets and the V-neck cut of this oatmeal sweatshirt–a fun detail instead of a basic sweatshirt.  Add some jeans and Hunter boots for playing in the puddles or exploring the trails on a nature walk (we have plenty of those near us that I can’t wait to explore with Bryce!) Sizing tip: Runs large, but if you like your sweatshirts roomy, go with your regular size. Otherwise, size down.

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Dress: c/o Orvis {exact}
Necklace: Charming Charlie
Boots: Target

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3. Bring on the dresses!
I’ve always been a fan of skirts and dresses, but with a kiddo, I am more particular with the dresses I wear. They can’t be too short, they need a high neckline in case Bryce pulls or tugs on my clothes (or when I bend over constantly) and I prefer a pattern to cover up any drool or flying food :-)  This dress definitely fits the bill.  It has the perfect amount of stretch, has nautical navy and white stripes and just a slight boatneck that doesn’t show bra straps. Fashionable yet functional for special occasions, church, etc. Sizing tip: Runs true to size.

And lucky for you, I have a giveaway for you! You can get your own pieces from Orvis’ spring collection by entering to win one of ten $100 gift codes to Orvis! Contest runs now through May 2nd. Enter using the widget below by choosing a social media sharing option from the tool. I-C will randomly select 10 winners from all program entries and will handle fulfillment of the winning prizes.

Orvis
Refresh Your Wardrobe Giveaway

Can’t wait to see if you’ve won?  Get to shopping with coupon code: ICSPRING for $25 off a purchase of $50 or more (good until September 30th, 2016).

What are your spring essentials? What would you pick from Orvis? I love this striped sweatshirt, jacquard-stripe sweatshirt and for the summer– this gorgeous lace cover up.

Check out my previous looks: Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3 | Volume 4 | Volume 5 | Volume 6 | Volume 7 | Volume 8 | Volume 9

Linking up with  Fizz and Frosting | Fashionably EmployedI do DeClaire | Style Elixir | Walking in Memphis in High Heels | The Pleated Poppy | Tucker Up | Mix & Match Fashion | Doused in Pink | Curly Crafty Mom

Follow along: FacebookTwitter  |  Pinterest  |  Instagram  |  Bloglovin’

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That Postpartum Hair…Switch Up Your Routine!

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This post is sponsored by TRESemmé, a product of Unilever, as a part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.

These days, I have to say that millennials, like myself, are doing things differently than previous generations. Take beauty and hair, for example. I turn to social media and influential bloggers for reviews on products before I buy them. And hairstyles?  I’ve pinned tons of images to my hairstyle board and get inspiration from my Instagram feed.  It’s a different way of doing things, but I think this generation likes to switch things up, am I right?!

And when it comes to hair, I’m definitely interested in trying some new things….especially with this postpartum hair I’m experiencing.  The struggle is real! The hair loss, major lack of volume and the slowww regrowth? Yep. All that amazing, long, thick pregnancy hair starts to fall out, leaving me with some super fine, limp locks. Ten months post baby, it’s luckily making an appearance again- but in whispy, hard-to-tame tufts all around my forehead.  Lovely, I tell ya!

That said, I’m trying to make an effort to boost up my volume and take care of my hair as it regrows, and was excited to partner up with TRESemmé and try their new Beauty-Full Volume Collection.  It revolutionizes the way we care for our hair by reversing the hair-washing process we’ve grown accustomed to by starting with the conditioner, THEN following up with the shampoo.

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Crazy right?

There are four steps in this routine: pre-condition to soften, wash away weight, create and hold.

Here’s a bit more about the process, and a video where Chrissy Tiegen explains it:

Step 1- Pre-condition to soften with the TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume Pre-Wash Conditioner. It protects your hair during washing to leaving it smooth and polished. And it smells LOVELY!  (And don’t worry, if you have color treated hair, this line is a-ok for it.) I used 2-3 pumps and made sure to coat all of my hair from root to tip and let it sit for a solid minute so my hair could take it all in…

Step 2- Wash away the weight with TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume Shampoo. It cleanses and removes excess weight, leaving it with bounciness and volume—two attributes I definitely need in my hair. AND- it helps control static. With the dry winters, I always experience a bit of it, so this was an added bonus!

Step 3- Create your hairstyle with TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume Hair Maximizer. It provides some serious manageability and helps with smoothness and frizz control. Use it before you blow dry while hair is still damp. You can also use their Beauty-Full  Volume Touchable Bounce Mousse to create root lift and light hold. I found that these products worked pretty well to add some height to my hair without it feeling too weighed down with product.

Step 4- Set and hold your style with TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume Flexible Finish Hairspray. It gives you a flexible finish.

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I think there is definitely something to switching it up and starting with conditioner first. I feel like my hair routine has been hard-wired to start with shampoo so changing it up has helped my hair adapt and helps to give it some more oomph! Remember, TRESemmé specially formulated these products to work in reverse, you can’t do this with just any shampoo and conditioner!

In addition to this product, here are a few more things that help with that postpartum hair for anyone else in the same boat as me:

  1. Change up your part. My re-growth has been right where I part my hair. Instead of cutting bangs (I just can’t pull that look off), I decided to switch up my part to disguise the re-growth.
  2. Wash less often.I used to wash my hair a every day, and I realized that this practice was causing my oily hair! Now, I wash it about 3 times a week and blow dry maybe once a week, because it is nice to style my hair now and again. (And when you do wash, give the TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume Collection a try!)
  3. Keep taking your prenatal vitamins. Yep, even after you are done nursing. Your body needs to continue to be replenished long after baby, so keep it up. They help with hair growth, too!
  4. Wear hats, wraps or other accessories! Whether it’s a baseball hat, cute floppy hat or fedora or even a fun turban wrap, it’s an easy way to disguise all the crazy hairs around the crown of your head and get some use out of those pieces in your closet!IMG_7762_thumb.jpg

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What other tips do you have to share? What do you think about the TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume line and concept?

Mom Style, Vol 9: Olive Vest, Pink Sweater, Navy Pants

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Vest: J. Crew Factory (option)
Sweater: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Necklace: Wantable (review here)
Pants: The Limited (very similar)
Flats: Target (option, cute d’orsay option)
Sunglasses: Old Navy, in a bowl at checkout :-)

When I first transitioned from pre-baby life in the corporate world to my new life as mom and full-time work from home gal, I had a little bit of a style identity crisis. Besides my body going through changes and sizes, I certainly didn’t have use for all the corporate dress clothes that I wore before baby. This prompted me to clean out my closet and only keep a few dressier items and fill it in with much more casual items.  I’d still call it a work in progress.

But for the times when I do need to look a bit more dressed up, I reach for items like these: my trusted pants from The Limited (I have in navy and black), a classic sweater (love this bright pink!) and completer pieces like my olive cargo vest and a necklace (with some sunglasses thrown in for good measure that matched all too well…)  Whether it’s for church, a party or baby shower, date night or work event, it’s nice to have some staples on hand that will work.

Speaking of getting more “dressed up,” I am headed to California for a work conference this week- eee!  The dress code is still fairly casual, but I wanted to look fairly professional since we have a booth there as a vendor.  I did pack along this sweater for one of the days.  If I get my act together, I’ll do a post on what I wore while I was there (or at the very least, will share on Instagram, so be sure to follow along!)

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Thanks to the husband for taking photos for me (you can spot him if you look closely!)…he’s got mad photo skillz :-)

Check out my previous looks: Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3 | Volume 4 | Volume 5 | Volume 6 | Volume 7 | Volume 8

Linking up with  Fizz and Frosting | Fashionably EmployedI do DeClaire | Style Elixir | Walking in Memphis in High Heels | The Pleated Poppy | Tucker Up | Mix & Match Fashion | Doused in Pink | Curly Crafty Mom

Follow along: FacebookTwitter  |  Pinterest  |  Instagram  |  Bloglovin’

Bryce: 11 Month Update

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Bryce: 11 Month Update

Height & weight: Will get at his next checkup at 1 year!

Diaper: Size 4

Clothes: 12 months, or 12-18 months

Eating:
Bottle– Still 3 feedings a day (morning, mid-day and right before bed), 8 oz each.

Food–This kid can EAT!  He eats three meals a day and loves practically everything we give him. We’ve been staying away from dairy like cheese and yogurt since he seems to get a rash from it, and also raspberries/blackberries in large amounts and clementines…  Other than that, he loves his meat and fish, fruit and cereal/toast/oatmeal and even eggs and brussel sprouts (he is his father’s son on that one!)  I’ve also started making him smoothies (a favorite is kale, spinach, apple juice and mango) in the mornings.  He is drinking through a straw pretty well so it’s been fun to start giving him things like this!

Sleeping:
-Naps- still at two a day.  They really range in length…one may be short (30 min) and the other long (2 hours), or they both could be 1.5 hours so we just roll with it.

-Nighttime- Yeah, so Daylight Savings happened. That’s fun, said no parent ever.  Now we are feeding him his last bottle around 7:30pm and he is asleep by 8, then up the next day around 7am (if he doesn’t wake up during the middle of the night, doesn’t happen too often luckily!)

The Highlights:
-Bryce sure has an arm on him! He loves to play “catch” with balls.  We will roll the ball to him and he throws it back. Not the best aim right now, but he loves it!
-Another favorite activity? Playing hide and seek.  Either crawling or with his walker, he loves peering around corners of the kitchen island, ottoman, walls, etc.  And he does it with the biggest smile on this face. SO fun!
-Other cute Bryce-isms include: giving high fives (adorable), sticking out his tongue and putting his hands in the air when we sings songs or prompt him to, clapping his hands (started 3/8 and hasn’t stopped since!), dancing to music (which involves standing and bending up and down really quickly…he’s got some rhythm and moves which I’d like to say he gets from me- HA!), sharing his cup or toys and giving them to others, including picking up Izzy’s bones off the floor and handing them to Izzy (and Izzy is becoming so gentle and more welcoming with him!), also loves shutting doors.
-At the very start of March, he started to stand unassisted!  Then literally two weeks later, he started taking steps on his own!  Not a ton, but just a few.  I think in the next few weeks he will be walking like a champ…he is reaching for things further out of reach and standing more and more so he’s close. AHHHH!
-He has a natural curiosity for the mechanics of things and how they work (just like his Daddy). Anything from buckles on this high chair to doors, drawers, technology, etc.  He’s very meticulous about understanding the inner workings.
-LOTS of babbling starting up.  In mid-March, he starting “talking” or doing a bit more beyond babble, and his voice sounds different (lower) than his random sound effects/babble. Believe it or not, T and I swore we heard “Dada” two days in a row.  We’ve been practicing with him saying “Mama” but all we get when we say it is him puckering up and making kissing sounds (funny, he associates me with giving him lots of kisses…which I’m guilty of #sorrynotsorry).

To see all the latest photos of Bryce growing by the minute, follow along on Facebook or Instagram!

Check out the other updates: 1 month | 2 months | 3 months | 4 Months | 5 Months | 6 Months | 7 Months | 8 Months | 9 Months | 10 Months

Mom Style, Vol 8: Basic Style Staples

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Earrings: c/o Uncommon Goods (exact)
Jacket: Loft via consignment store (option, option)
Striped Tee: Old Navy (option)
Jeans: Madewell (exact)
Booties: Gap Outlet (exact sold out, option)

This week’s “Mom Style” edition features some of my basic style staples: striped tee, jeans, cargo jacket and tan booties.  Often times, I find myself incorporating at least one of these items into an outfit but today, I figured I’d do them all at once.  Nothing terribly fancy here, but I still feel put together, so I’d call it a win.

And can we talk about these earrings?  They are from Uncommon Goods. If you not familiar, they’ve been around for nearly twenty years and is all about featuring unique jewelry like this, decor, and handcrafted gifts in harmony with the environment and without harm to animals or people. What’s not to love?  I picked out the Wire Wrapped Druzy Earrings made by Laura from Philadelphia.  Classic, timeless and easy to wear with just about everything.  They also made some really great necklaces like these and a ton of jewelry that can be personalized or tell a great story, like  these gifts for Moms if you want a head start on Mother’s Day…

I picked up the perforated booties this month at Gap Outlet and wasn’t sure about them initially, mainly concerned that they made my feet look big or made me look stumpy.  But they really go with everything, are comfortable (yay flats!) and look decently good, especially when you roll your pant legs a bit versus tucking them in. And it’s great that you can wear regular ankle socks or sock liners (I got these on clearance at Target) if you want to make sure your socks don’t show.  I plan to bring these along for a work trip next week. I’m taking just a carry-on, so needed something versatile and these booties did the trick!

What do you consider your staples to be?  And what do you think about booties- yay or nay?

Check out my previous looks: Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3 | Volume 4 | Volume 5 | Volume 6 Volume 7

Linking up with  Fizz and Frosting | Fashionably EmployedI do DeClaire | Style Elixir | Walking in Memphis in High Heels | The Pleated Poppy | Tucker Up | Mix & Match Fashion | Doused in Pink | Curly Crafty Mom

Follow along: FacebookTwitter  |  Pinterest  |  Instagram  |  Bloglovin’

Links and Loves {March}

tongue out

tongue outIf you’re happy and you know it, stick out your tongue…

A few links and loves for this month that I wanted to share…

I’m definitely watching this next season of Dancing with the Stars.  Between Stephanie Tanner and a fellow VU alum, it will be epic.

Totally in love with this artwork from Minted that I created using the obscene amount of Instagram photos I have of him.  (And don’t forget to check out my post to win a $150 credit!)

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, I’m grabbing the ingredients for this…and freezing the extras in ice cube trays so I can whip one up at a later date. Oh, and this.  It’s clean, green and sure beats the McDonald’s version.

Beauty-wise, I am very curious about this technique. Have you ever tried it?

I think I’ve figured out why I am having trouble getting on board with this method.  I’d hit the 30-piece limit with just leggings/capris I keep in active rotation…

Check out these confessions from fellow blogging Mamas…great read!

Shopping online is the best (Amazon Prime anyone?!) and it’s even better when you get free cash back.  I’ve used Ebates since 2013 and to date, I’ve earned over $425…seriously. SO if you don’t have one, get a free account and start saving. Just start at the Ebates site when you are ready to shop, type in the store, then click through and you get a percentage back- super easy.

How does running help you as a mother? This post sums it up…

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Referral links used where appropriate.