November 2015 Clothing Budget


Nov 2015 clothing budget
November 2015 Clothing Budget

Merona Textured Tunic via Target: an exchange from the striped tunic I got last month
Sperry Saltwater Quilted Duck Booties via Shopbop: $27 after credit (and awesome cash back deals)
Two Pack Low Profile Socks via Madewell: $10
Mossimo Pullover Sweater via Target: $12 (part of 40% off sale)
Striped Yoga Leggings via Old Navy: $10
Frost Free Fleece Lined Vest via Old Navy: $15 (also got in cream as an exchange from the one I bought last month)
Madewell Skinny Jeans via eBay (two pairs): $31 and $22

Not pictured:
-Any Black Friday shopping I may have done over the weekend. (I wrote this post just beforehand.)
-An online Target order of a couple sweaters. They had a great 40% off sale, so I got a few in basic colors to replace some older ones in my closet…ordered in a couple different sizes, so we’ll see what fits.

This month consisted of some great deals. Two items (Target tunic and Old Navy cream vest) were exchanges from last month.  I felt the color/quality of the item was better, so I swapped them out and am glad I did!  The black tunic matches a lot more of the color palette in my closet.  In fact, I wore this over Thanksgiving with leggings and it was a very good decision :-) The vest from Old Navy is fleece lined and offers the perfect amount of warmth without bulking you up.  And the best part?  I grabbed it on sale for $15 (and threw in a black one while I was at it.)  And to get free shipping at ON, I threw in the striped leggings which ended up being a good call.  Great for pajamas, barre class, working from home…basically all.the.time.

And after posting about my curiosity for Madewell jeans, I took the plunge and did what you should never do.  Bought denim without trying it on.  GASP!  The jeans are normally $125+ and although I’m willing to pay more for jeans that fit right, hold their shape throughout the day and are well made, I wanted to find a deal.  So, I went to eBay and found a pair for $31.  When they arrived, they (luckily) fit like a glove.  And let me tell you- the jeans hold up to their hype.  They don’t sag like other jeans do by the end of the day.  They have just enough stretch to move with you and be comfortable. The slightly higher rise is perfect for bending up and down with a baby.  I could go on and on.  In fact, I loved them so much that I saw another pair on eBay for even cheaper $22 and grabbed those too.  Needless to say, they will be in constant rotation.

Lastly, in terms of c/o or sponsored items (or items with credits), I received the following from my generous partners:

November sponsored items
BB Dakota Edie Chevron Sweater via Wantable credits
Halogen Girlfriend Jeans via Brandzaffair (worn here)- got these before I found my deal on Madewell denim.  Since these are a looser fit (plus I could have ordered down another size), they really sag by the end of the day which bugs me.  Madewell for the win!

And high five to me!  All purchases this month were covered by blog income and eBay clothing/accessory sales from when I {majorly} cleaned out my closet.

What did you get this month?  And great deals—around Black Friday or otherwise?

Linking up with Franish

Follow me!
FacebookTwitter  |  Pinterest  |  Instagram  |  Bloglovin’

Girlfriend Jeans & Green Grass


Vest: J. Crew Factory [option, option, option]
Top: Loft, old [option]
Jeans: Halogen via Nordstrom c/o Brandzaffair, the “ultimate online shopping experience” (read more here) [exact]
Sandals: Target [exact on clearance]

The first snow of the season hit this past weekend.  And when I say hit, I mean over a foot of snow was dumped over the northern Chicago suburbs.  Well, hellllo winter!  The deck where I once stood for these photos is now buried under snow, and I miss that green grass already.  And wearing sandals.  And running outside without layers.  Wa waaaa.  But I do have to say, seeing the sun shine on fresh snow covered trees is gorgeous. And it means the holidays are coming, which I am so excited for.

Anyways, back to the outfit.  Yes, these photos were taken a little while ago, but I’m just getting around to blogging it since life got a little busy.  That said, I was long overdue to get some new jeans that actually fit decently post baby, and these Halogen Distressed Girlfriend Jeans from Nordstrom did the trick.  They are a looser fit (much like boyfriend jeans) but sit below the waist and are just a little fitted.  They are super comfy, offer a very relaxed fit and still flatter the shape without being skin tight.  But definitely size down one (possibly two) sizes!  They run big and luckily, Nordstrom offers free returns & exchanges- phew.  I wore this outfit to the zoo with T and Bryce just last month…when the temps were up in the 70s.  The vest makes for a zookeeper-esque look, no?  Gotta dress the part :-)

Have you tried girlfriend jeans?  What’s your verdict?

Linking up with: Fizz and FrostingI do DeClaire | Style Elixir | Walking in Memphis in High Heels | The Pleated Poppy | Tucker Up | Mix & Match Fashion

Follow me!
FacebookTwitter  |  Pinterest  |  Instagram  |  Bloglovin’

Shopbop Sale + BONUS Cash Back | Gift Ideas


I love a good sale…and this is one I particularly love because you can shop ONLINE and avoid the Black Friday crowds!  (Plus, their shipping is crazy fast, no joke.)

shobop sale november 2015
It’s the Shopbop Buy More, Save More Sale!  It starts NOW through November 29th at 11:59pm PT. You get 15% off orders of $250+, 20% off orders $500+ and 25% off orders $1000+ with code GOBIG15.

BUT—make the deal even sweeter by starting at one of these awesome cash back shopping sites:

1- Start at Ebates and get 3% cash back on your purchase.
If you are new to Ebates, sign up and you also get a $10 bonus after your first purchase!
(Check out my review on Ebates here.)

2- Even better, go to Splender and get 6% cash back on your purchase (they are offering double cash back through the 30th. That will seriously add up!)
If you are new to Splender, sign up and get a $5 bonus when make a purchase of $50 or more…it’s free money!  (Check out my review on Splender here.)

Here are some of my gift ideas as your browse the site…
shopbop sale for the techie
Tory Burch Fitbit leather bracelet | Tory Burch Fitbit pendant necklace | Rebecca Minkoff iPhone USB Cable Bracelet

shopbop sale for the home
Mirror tray | Assorted greeting card set | Winter flannel wrapping paper | Picture frame

shopbop sale happy feet
Hunter boot socks | Sorel Tofino boots | Buffalo check socks | Sperry quilted duck booties

shopbop sale warm and cozy sweaters
Sweaters and cardigans:
| two | three | four | five

What would you pick?

Treat yourself with this awesome sale…and get some holiday shopping done while you’re at it—all BEFORE Black Friday starts!

Note: Brand exclusions apply.  Details here.
This post is in partnership with Shopbop and also contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting those that support me!

Linking up with Olives n’ Wine, Style Sessions, Walking in Memphis in High Heels and Fashion Canvas, Turning Heads Tuesday, Tuesday Fashion Party, What I wore, Oh Hey Girl, and Whatcha Wearing Wednesday, The Wednesday Pants, Color and Grace, I do DeClaire

Bryce: 7 Month Update

bryce 27-28-29-30 weeks

bryce 27-28-29-30 weeks
Bryce: 7 Month Update

birth weight: 7 lb 2 oz
1 month: 8 lb 6 oz
2 months: 10 lbs 8 oz
3 months: 11 lbs 15 oz
4 months: 12 lbs 11 oz
6 months: 17 lbs 15 oz

at birth: 19 inches
1 month: 21 inches
2 months: 22 inches
4 months: 24 inches
6 months: 26 1/4 inches

Diaper: Size 2, transitioning into size 3

Clothes: 6 months, transitioning into 9 months

Making his baby food in Cuisinart baby warmer/food maker machine- so fun!  So far, has tried the following for 3-5 consecutive days (usually at lunchtime) before moving on to another one:
-carrots (meh, not so much- will tolerate when mixed with other veggies)
-sweet potatoes (pretty good! much better compared to carrots!)
-green beans (not bad!)
-zucchini (pretty good!)
-butternut squash (gobbles it up!)
-cauliflower (awful!  really upset his stomach and made for some sleepless nights!)
-peas (again, awful! same as above…boo)
-jarred baby apples (yum!)

Still doing 4 bottles a day (7-8 ounces each)- half breast milk, half formula (although my supply is slowly decreasing..) Starting to hold his own bottle here and there too…so adorable.

-has his last bottle around 7 and usually goes right to sleep afterwards and wakes up in the morning, although we’ve had a few nights here and there where he has a gas bubble that wakes him up, or specific foods upset his tummy…

-will be awake around 6:30am usually, but I am finishing up pumping, washing items, etc. and am often not up there to get him till 7. He will just look around or play in his crib quietly before I get there, which I am SO thankful for.  When he sees my face, nothin but HUGE smiles.  What a way to start the day!

-He really thrives on routine.  His cues are crazy on time when it comes to eating, getting sleepy, etc.  Incredible!

-We are, however, having nap time issues where he wants to be held while he sleeps or will cry when he is laid horizontally in his crib. Working on moving him to the for naps instead, and hoping they last longer..many times it’s just two 45 minute naps (morning & afternoon), but at least he’s getting some solid sleep at night so I’m not terribly worried.

The Highlights:

-1st cold…noticed congestion on 10/22 when he was drinking his morning bottle (and as it turns out, I got the cold too- not sure who had it first though…it was a few days after his 6 month checkup). Poor guy had runny nose and congestion for several days- pediatrician recommended humidifier, taking him in shower for steam, Vick’s baby rub.
-10/24: 1st bath in the bathtub without his bath insert!  We were at my parents house and used a laundry basket- worked wonderfully!  We gave him his first bath at our house the following day- he LOVED splashing in the water with his toys- bath time is so much more fun for all of us now!
-pinches my left arm…the sensitive part between my shoulder and elbow…something about the angle at which I hold him must be attractive to those tiny lobster claws..I mean hands.  Ouch!  And it only happens to me- T just thinks I have the perfect arm diameter for him to grab…tight.
-Had an awesome 1st Halloween as Charlie Brown!
-We are all getting used to nanny + grandparents as I started work– he’s been so great with everyone and is keeping with his usual routine!
-When sitting, he is starting to scooch on his butt…majorly.  This kid will be on the move in no time, I’m sure.  That means we will have some serious baby proofing to do!
-Since he’s so comfortable with sitting on his own, he rocked his first time not in the bucket at the grocery store…and then at Costco.  He loves sitting in the cart, so much more to look at!
-11/10/15- his first tooth has broken through the gums!  That explains all the drool, putting everything into his mouth to gnaw, and a couple tough sleeping nights with toothaches, poor baby!  It was SO neat to see and it really hit me that he is growing up…and fast.  Time needs to slow down!
-Practicing standing…he will support his own weight and hold himself up on the ottoman for a few seconds here and there.
-11/12/15- knows how to shake his head “no no no”!
-11/17/15- pulled himself up to a standing position!  He was in the laundry basket in the tub for bathtime and took a few deliberate attempts before pulling his body up and standing to see what was outside the laundry basket…adventure awaits!  Watch out!
-Met a new friend!  Bryce’s godparents have an 8 week old, and Bryce got to meet him for the first time.  He was so gentle and reached for his hand several times and his head and was so sweet about it.  SOOOO stinkin cute!
-Although he doesn’t have a favorite toy, I think he really loves his burp cloths.  He is always attracted to them and likes chewing on them, holding them, waving them, etc.

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

My Favorite Items to Buy At Costco


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

I am a huge fan of stocking up on products that we use in our house on the daily.  This is especially true for me these days as a new mom, knowing how quickly we go through certain items! And with the upcoming holidays coming that include out-of-town guests or impromptu well wishers (or even with our nanny/grandparent child care arrangement for Bryce), I definitely don’t want to get caught without essentials like toilet paper, soap, etc!.  I’m a planner…and I want to have everything on hand to keep things moving smoothly–for myself, and for our guests!

That’s where good ‘ol Costco comes in.

I love that I can head there and stock up on all my household, food and baby essentials in one trip and have enough of everything that I don’t run out for a while.  It’s also nice to get out of the house (especially now that I’m working from home!)  We make it a family outing…Bryce loves looking at the products that go floor to ceiling, and T and I love grabbing dinner from their food court (talk about a cheap meal!)  Oh, and did I mention their samples?  The best!

Costco definitely saves us time- which we can appreciate with all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  Plus the products last longer, and save us the embarrassment of running out!

So to keep our home stocked up throughout the year, we keep several staples on hand. Here’s our favorites:

  • Dawn Platinum Advanced Power. I’ve tried several other brands of dish soap, and Dawn is hands down the best.  We use it constantly to wash dishes and Bryce’s bottles, my pumping equipment, toys- you name it!
  • Bounty. You can never have enough paper towels on hand to clean up messes like those peas that Bryce feels are more suitable for the floor than his mouth…
  • Cascade Complete. Love these mess-free pods to throw in the dishwasher to clean dishes, bowls, silverware and even sterilize baby items.


  • Charmin.  Let’s be honest- you never realize you are out of toilet paper until you are in dire need of it :-)  I never want to run into that problem with guests (or with our nanny or parents when they are taking care of Bryce) so I make a point to keep the guest bathroom stocked!IMG_6465
  • Tide Original.  It’s the tried-and-tested detergent that cleans our clothes well (except Bryce’s- his are washed with Dreft), and also Izzy’s bedding/toys, rug mats, towels, bedding and even pillows!

Beyond household products, we also stock up on food and other items like:

  • Prenatal vitamins.  You take ‘em before, during and after pregnancy so might as well get a ton!
  • Baby formula.  Even though I am still exclusively pumping, I don’t produce enough these days, so formula helps us fill the gap!
  • Rotisserie chicken. These are delish, cheap and perfect for a quick week night dinner!
  • Kale salad mix. Every time we go to Costco, we grab a bag of this from the walk-in refrigerated section.  Comes with dressing and all the fixins…and it’s GOOD.  Around $5 for a huge bag.  Awesome option for lunches or side with dinner (or even as a dish to bring to a party!)
  • Printer paper. Cheaper than other stores, and saves me a trip since I’m already there!
  • Handmade greeting cards.  Every year or so, I grab a box of their handmade cards.  They come in a variety (get well, congrats, new baby, birthday, etc.) and they are so cute and MUCH cheaper than buying cards at a drug store or card store.
  • Coffee.  Because raising a tiny human is exhausting :-)
  • Items for freezer meals like chicken, ground beef, broth, veggies, cheese, etc.  There are several great roundups of freezer meals specific to Costco items that you can buy all over Pinterest.  It looks like a lot when you are buying everything, but I prep everything in an afternoon and I’m done and have several meals…and nothing goes to waste!
  • Chocolate chips.  Yes, I buy the five pound bag of chocolate chips because I’m a chocoholic and will eat them plain if I need a fix…oh, and because I bake with them too :-)
  • Pre-packaged guacamole.  There are several kinds, but we like the single serve containers.  They keep well in the freezer too!
  • Kirkland Peanut Butter. Comes as two large jars and contain literally only peanuts and salt.
  • The occasional impulse purchase.  I’ll grab a cute book or baby clothes for Bryce, or their amazing workout capris for myself. Those middle aisles in Costco get me every time.

What items do you like to pick up at Costco? What kinds of products do you don’t get caught without?


On Being a Working Mother…


It’s been about 3 months since I talked about my decision to stay home with Bryce.  At that time, I was also trying to figure out how to find my sense of identity and determine if that meant pursuing my career in some sort of capacity or not.

Well, there’s been an update on that front. I hadn’t really been aggressively looking for a job by any means, but an opportunity came on my radar that I knew I had to pursue.  It was a company I had worked on a project with a while back and they really stuck out in my mind ever since. The job description was a great fit for my skill set and was a brand new role within the company, which was also enticing.

It’s also completely remote.  All 17 of us work from virtual offices across the nation.  I told myself that if I were to go back to work, I would want it to be part-time, but this position is full-time.  However, the fact that I can work from home was a major factor, which has allowed us to have a pretty unique arrangement when it comes to Bryce.

In the end, T and I crunched a lot of numbers, considered all the angles, prayed and decided that I should take the job and at least give it an honest to goodness shot.

We ended up finding a nanny to watch Bryce three days a week while I work from my home office, and the other two days are covered by the grandparents. They have graciously agreed to travel to our house and stay with us to help out two days of the week (mine and T’s switch off every week for the most part.)

So far, it’s been a week and a half in this new role and let me tell you:  this whole working mother thing is super challenging.  Here’s a list of reactions/random thoughts on my (exhausted) mind.

  • Some days are better than others.  Work-wise and baby-wise.  But I enjoy the great ones and try to get through the tough ones as best I can.
  • I can feel like I’m stretched pretty thin on weekdays- between work (where others in addition to Bryce rely on me, and I have expectations and deadlines), spending quality time with Bryce, pumping/washings bottles, making dinner, household chores/necessities, and making time for T and Izzy—it’s hard to carve out “me” time.  T is a fantastic partner and great support/teammate, but we are both exhausted by the end of our days and try to tag team as much as we can.
  • I am desperately trying to figure out when to squeeze in that “me” time…and for me, it’s working out.  Relieves my stress and lifts a figurative weight off my shoulders.  But it’s hard to get it in and I hope to find a way to carve that into my schedule without feeling guilty that I should be with Bryce or T or doing something else.
  • I’m a Type A control freak and I’ve learned I have to let go of that.  Gotta remind myself to focus on grace, not perfection.  The dirty dishes and laundry can all wait (although these things still have to get done- which takes up the limited time I do have…where is that cleaning fairy when you need her?!)
  • There is never enough time. And as a result…I have quickly learned to prioritize and create a new routine for myself.  I’m considering a “day in the life” type post at some point, but I’m still trying to find my groove in all this.
  • Going from being with Bryce all day to only having a couple hours in the morning and a couple at night (with random breaks/lunch here and there), is tough for me to deal with, but I’m sure it will get a little easier as time goes on (I hope!)
  • Family time is SO important to me so we try to capitalize on that in the evenings when T is home, meaning blogging, checking emails on my phone and social media can (and should) wait, among many other things.
  • Working from home has its advantages and disadvantages. For one thing, I don’t have to spend time commuting, putting on makeup or wearing nice outfits, which means more time with Bryce.  On the other hand, you don’t get that coworker camaraderie from a traditional office setting…and although the commute & traffic is awful, it was also a time for me to decompress and transition and do things like listen to the radio/book/podcasts, call friends/family, etc.  Now, it’s a 30 second “commute” and flipping the switch from work to mother and visa versa isn’t so easy some days.
  • I’m also being a lot more mindful of not over scheduling myself for other things.  While I can get stir crazy working from home, I do try to get out every now and again for drinks with girlfriends, head to the library every week for Bryce’s Little Listener class or something else- even a “date” where all of us (Izzy included) head for a car ride and grab ice cream or hot chocolate.
  • Weekends are going to transform quite a bit versus how they’ve been the past 6 months, but I’m striving to have a healthy mix of fun family time & activities, making an effort to connect with friends & family, attend church services and catch up on housework, errands, grocery shopping, etc.

Phew! If you are with me still, thanks for reading my free flow of consciousness!  High five.

All in all, I am really, truly happy to have this opportunity and feel challenged, build my career and have that “adult time” to flex my brain in a different way.  And I’m VERY glad to be able see Bryce more than I would in a non-virtual work arrangement.  But wow, it is tough. In the end I am just remembering that I am trying to do what is best for me and my family.  Just have to realize that not everything is going to fall into place at once and to give it time (perhaps I should have titled this post “My Type A Self is Getting the Best of Me!” or something to that effect- ha!

But all things aside, my hat is off to all you Mamas out there that make it work—it’s a tough gig, but we are all better for it!

Working Mothers- any tips to share?  How long did it take you to find your groove?  How do you fit in your “me” time?  What is your routine like?

Follow me!
FacebookTwitter  |  Pinterest  |  Instagram  |  Bloglovin’


Photo courtesy of Blaszkiewicz Photography

Ways to Treat Yourself After a Half Marathon + Giveaway!


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

I knew after having Bryce that I wanted to complete a half marathon within the year.  He was born in April, and I knew I wouldn’t want to do a winter half marathon, so I found one in October and signed up.  No time like the present, huh?

It was my 3rd half marathon, so I knew what training would be like.  I wanted to do it because running was my stress relief, my quiet time, my “me” time…and it just made me feel like myself, which was especially important after having a baby. I wanted to prove to myself that I could accomplish what I set my mind to.  (It also happened that my 30th birthday was the same weekend of the race, which made it extra sweet.)

So I set out on training.

For the majority of training, I just ran one day a week- my long run days on Saturdays.  It was tough any other way with T working, leaving early in the mornings…and I wouldn’t have enough energy (or daylight) to run at night.  It was a careful orchestration week after week between Bryce’s feedings and other commitments (like family events, and a gum surgery that took me out for a week at the end of my training).

I ended up adding a second 3-4 mile treadmill run into the mix the last 4 weeks or so which helped when the long runs got into the double digits.  And I did every run by myself.  Although I enjoy company when I run, I just enjoyed that time to let my feet hit the pavement and listen to music.  Therapeutic, really!  And T was so supportive and sweet to wake up early on Saturday mornings to be with Bryce while I went out to get those miles in.

In the end, all the training was worth it (if you followed along on Instagram, you would have seen my “check ins” as the weeks went by). Despite a nasty cold the weekend of the race, I finished my third ever half marathon in 1:45:57, a PR by over 8 minutes. I never, never imagined that would happen.  While I am super happy with my time, it is so much more than that.  The satisfaction of achieving my goal feels so great!



Now that the training is over, I wanted to celebrate with more than my medal. It was a major fitness milestone for me, and I figured I should treat myself!  I love to reward myself after achieving a fitness goal like this (or others) in a few ways:

  • New workout gear.  Whether it’s a new outfit, headband or even a pair of shoes if they have enough miles/wear on them.  New gear motivates me to keep going!
  • A pedicure. My feet could use it after that!  (And I could literally have a day long foot massage and never complain.)
  • Another race! Sounds weird, but signing up for another one gets me excited and gives me something to look forward to fitness-wise!  For me, that will be a new-to-me, fun race: the sNOw Fun Run in January.
  • A nap. This is a necessity after waking up early not only for feedings but also for all those training runs!
  • Treats!  Let’s face it- you are ravenous after a long run (or race day).  I like to have yummy treats in our snack bowl that I can grab after a run that satisfy my sweet tooth but don’t negate all the running I just did.  While fruit and chocolate milk are trusty favorites, I was at Walmart and came upon goodnessknows® snack squares (with a coupon, I might add!) They are available in three flavors:
    • goodnessknows® Cranberry, Almond, Dark Chocolate
    • goodnessknows® Apple, Almond & Peanut, Dark Chocolate
    • goodnessknows® Peach & Cherry, Almond, Dark Chocolate

They are surprisingly delicious with just enough chocolate to curb the sweet tooth and feel decadent and candy bar- esque, but pack a lot more nutritional value than a candy bar.  Win win in my book- I love treats like that!

That said, goodnessknows® snack squares reminds us that doing a little good for yourself can go a long way. So to celebrate the notion of “goodness to greatness,” you can share your goodnessknows® photo or quote for a chance to win a variety of fitness prizes!  Enter using the Rafflecopter widget link below.


How do you treat yourself after a you’ve accomplished your fitness goal?
Which goodnessknows® snack square flavor sounds best to you?

GoodnessKnows in store

Links & Loves: November Edition


This DIY growth ruler has been on our to-do list for a while (it’s a bit tougher with a baby to do projects!) but SO happy that we finally got it done! Will be a family keepsake for sure… [check out the rest of Bryce’s nursery here] I actually moved it in this corner of his nursery—looks so great!

It took several weeks and careful orchestration with Bryce’s feedings and long runs, a gum surgery, and a cold at the very end, but I did it! Finished my third ever half marathon in 1:45:57, a PR by over 8 minutes. I never, never imagined that would happen…and the weekend of my 30th birthday to boot. Huge thanks to my hubs for his support and our 6 month old little love and motivator, Bryce! Woo hoo!

I’m a huge fan of CVS as it is, but this haul of products from the Gold Emblem line has me loving them even more! (The gummies came along with me for the half marathon as race fuel…) Oh, and if you share your CVS pics on Insta with #CVSFallFun, you have a chance to win a $25 gift card!

Do you know the muffin man?  You know, the one who lives on Drooly Lane?

And for Bryce’s 1st Halloween, he went as Charlie Brown.  Perfectly fitting, considering he is so blond he almost looks bald.  Adorable!

And some links to share…

Do you love Chip & Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper as much as I do?  Then you are going to drool over her home collection

Was thinking about trying Madewell denim after hearing reading reviews from Madison and Kate.  Has anyone else tried it?  Worth the price tag?  While I’m at it, I’ll throw this adorable top in my cart too.

This blog post on giving yourself grace and this one on how marriage matters really hit home for me…

Are you a planner freak like me?  You’ll love this ultimate planner review.  And when I say ultimate, I mean it!

That’s all for now- have a great weekend!

PS- Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a $20 gift card to Etsy shop HinkleysHooks.  Enter here!

Follow me!
FacebookTwitter  |  Pinterest  |  Instagram  |  Bloglovin’

What’s in my Diaper Bag?


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

The diaper bag that I carry feels like Mary Poppins’ carpet bag some days.  I kid myself that I’ll able to pull out just about anything I need from that thing!  But that’s the thing I’ve discovered as a Mom—I always want to be prepared for anything that comes our way—from a blowout to entertainment/toys to fighting germs and staying healthy!

So I thought I’d share a little peek at what’s in my diaper bag.  I’ve streamlined it quite a bit since Bryce was born, and I think I’ve got the essentials covered!

Let’s get down to the specifics…


  • Diaper changing pad (this houses sample sizes of ointment, set of nail clippers, diapers and wipes).  Easy to grab if I just need to do a diaper change instead of taking the whole bag!
  • My wallet with cash, driver’s license, credit cards, insurance cards, etc.  (My cell phone can fit in here too, it actually is more of a wristlet in case I want to use it on its own!)
  • Multi-use cover from Covered Goods that can be used 4 ways: as a nursing/pumping cover, as an infinity scarf (especially if you get spit up on your clothes and don’t have a spare shirt!), carseat cover, or cart cover.  This thing is GENIUS!
  • Protein bar in case I get hungry (which is all the time, by the way.)
  • Paper and pen for jotting down notes, grocery list, to-do’s, etc.
  • Toys for Bryce to keep him entertained (some for teething, and some that don’t make a lot of noise for when we are in church and he needs a distraction!)
  • Change of clothes for Bryce (you know, for that inevitable blowout that will happen when you are out in public…)
  • Drool bibdana (a MUST for my little guy!)
  • Coupon portfolio (has all my rewards cards, gift cards and coupons all in once place so I can get those bargains and save some moolah!)
  • And lastly- my on-the-go healthy essentials for those just-in-case moments! I highly recommend everyone (not even Moms) have something like this.  I got a lot of these items at Walmart. It includes things like…
    • Hair tie/bobby pins
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Chapstick Total Hydration (100% natural and instantly smooths and moisturizes for clinically proven healthier looking lips!)
    • Facial tissues
    • Comb
    • Band-aids
    • Travel size perfume vials- perfect to throw in here in case I need a spritz!
    • Cough drops
    • Floss
    • Advil Tablet Vial (I use Advil tablets for headaches, minor arthritis and other joint pain, muscle aches and pains of the common cold. I also recycle the vial when empty to hold change or bobby pins!)
    • Infant’s Advil (It provides up to 8 hours of fever/pain relief with just 1 dose and quickly soothes teething pain and fever!)

So there you have it!  A lot of stuff, but all very necessary if you ask me!

Mommas- what do you carry in your diaper bag? What kinds of essentials do you keep on hand to stay healthy?

walmart shop pfizer

Mommy and Me Set from HinkleysHooks…and a Giveaway!


I’m a huge sucker for cutesey baby items for Bryce.  And I love Etsy and the whole idea of supporting small business owners/entrepreneurs.  So when I came across Etsy shop HinkleysHooks a while ago, you’d better believe I was oogling all over this shop that combined both.

HinkleysHooks has all sorts of adorable handmade items in fun fabrics and designs- from adult and baby head wraps to bibdanas and beanies.

Nikki, the gal behind HinkleysHooks, makes some pretty stellar mommy and me sets that caught me eye.  (For some reason, there just seems to be a general lack of mommy and me sets for mothers and sons.  There are tons of mother-daughter sets out there, but not so much for Bryce and I.)  Anyways, I really loved the mommy and me sets, which include both mother-son and mother-daughter combos!

I worked with Nikki to do a custom combo featuring a headwrap for me, and a matching bibdana for Bryce.  And boy did we have fun taking some photos!

The bibdana is fleece lined and is perfect for containing the never-ending drool.  It has a velcro closure and is nice and thick.  And the headwrap is so comfortable and perfect for holding back those wispy strands of hair (and for covering up those roots if you don’t have time to get to the salon or if you’ve gone a couple days without washing your hair!)

And now the best part….you can enter to win a $20 gift card to HinkleysHooks!  Get something for you and/or as a gift!  Use the Rafflecopter widget to enter below.

Want to shop now?  Use code THANKU15 to get 15% off your order!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a discount for my mommy and me set, and all opinions are my own.  Thank you for supporting those that support me!

October 2015 Clothing Budget


Oct 2015 budget

October 2015 Clothing Budget

Banana Republic Wrap Sweater via Instagram sale from Madison: $15 including shipping
Gap Stripe Gwen Top: $13.80
Gap Solid Gwen Top: $11.39 (worn here)
Old Navy Lightweight Infinity Scarf: $9
Minnetonka Jr. Trapper Moccasin Slippers via DSW: $20 (worn here)
Merona Structured Top (in orange/navy stripe): $20
Merona Tunic Sweater (in gray and black): $42 total (B1G150%  off)
Old Navy Quilted Zip Front Vest: $20
Brixon Ivy Cable Knit Open Front Cardigan via Stitch Fix: $38 after credits (review here)
Old Navy Printed Shift Dress (Note: size down!): $20
Workout Capris via Costco (currently out of stock online): $16.99
Zella Live in Leggings (in black and navy) via eBay: $59 including shipping
Mossimo Slim Jogger Pants: $15 (worn here)

I really feel like I’m building a cohesive wardrobe with my purchases these last few months, and this one is no exception- lots of neutrals with a couple pops of color, and in this case- it’s maroon!  I’m more aware of what I need based on my current lifestyle, and although I’m still a big bargain hunter (hello Old Navy sales!), I am willing to pay a bit more for quality pieces that will last me in the long run.

After going through my closet and doing a major purge, I decided to list tons of items for sale on Instagram. It felt really good to take my closet down by a significant number of pieces—therapeutic really!  I truly had so many items that I never got to wear them all…it was a bit excessive and still left me feeling like I had nothing to wear some days as ridiculous as it sounds. Alas, after many years of buying random pieces without any true “strategy,” I am now left with what I would refer to as my closet staples.

Still, I bought a few things this month to fill some voids in my wardrobe (and things that fit me well after losing the baby weight.)  Case in point- I picked up a few cozy sweaters and cardigans after realizing that I didn’t have all that many that weren’t worn out.  I got a new pair of slippers using some DSW rewards points and 2 pairs of Zella leggings (at a major savings on eBay), both of which I wear on the daily. Also picked up a pair of capris at Costco, which I wore at the half marathon last weekend and they were GREAT.  (The material is nice and thick, the legs are fitted at the calf and there is a built in zipper pouch too, FYI. ) Old Navy was also having a 40% off sale so I grabbed a few fall/winter items that I knew I could remix and fit my body shape, like the dress and vest.  So cute!

Lastly, in terms of c/o or sponsored items (or items with credits), I received the following from my generous partners:

Oct 2015 sponsor items

All in all, this month’s purchases were 100% covered by blog income and eBay/Insta sales. Luckily, I sold several items on Instagram, which really helped. (And there are still plenty of things up for grabs, including lots of accessories and jewelry too!  Check it out!)

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

Linking up with Franish | Mix & Match Fashion

Follow me!
FacebookTwitter  |  Pinterest  |  Instagram  |  Bloglovin’

Stay Well This Winter with Kleenex Brand


Tracking Pixel

Thank you to the Kleenex brand for sponsoring this post.  Many thanks to supporting the brands that support me!


Around Chicagoland, you can definitely feel the crispness in the air and fall is in full effect!  Unfortunately, that means winter will be here before we know it- booo!  And with wintertime comes flu season.  Luckily, I don’t have to worry about germs and sickness with sending Bryce to school or daycare, but that certainly doesn’t mean that he won’t be exposed to germs with visitors, trips to public places and the like.  So this winter, I’m setting out to help prevent illnesses before they even start by following a few tips to help yourself (and others) stay well during the winter months!

#1 Eat healthy foods.

Stock up on fruits and veggies this winter! These foods pack a ton of vitamins and minerals that keeps your immune system at its best. My favorites to stock up on in the winter time include tomatoes, onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, apples,  lemons, and more.  Veggies are really easy to get in with soups and stews and crock pot meals! I’ve been making a ton of crock pot freezer meals lately- so easy to do for those busy nights!  Just pop it in and you have a warm, nutritious meal ready to go!  So far, I’ve made this set (delish and great instructions!) as well as these from the Pioneer Woman as well as several Costco freezer meals sets!

freezer meals
#2 Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

This one is a no brainers. Drink plenty of water each day to stay hydrated and to make up for lost moisture that can occur during the winter. I love adding some citrus or even berries to my water for extra flavor.  You can try a water bottle infuser or get a cute monogrammed water bottle or mason jar with straw to have at your desk or at a hand’s reach so it’s top of mind!  I’ve heard to drink half you body weight in fluid ounces, so having it nearby definitely helps!

#3 Create a wellness kit for your home (and others!)

There have been times when my husband or I were sick and we didn’t have the items we needed on hand. It’s the worst to make a trip to the local drugstore when all you want to do is curl up in bed. Because of this, we now keep a well stocked wellness kit so we can be prepared! We keep items like medicine, thermometers, ointments, band-aids, cough drops and Kleenex facial tissue.

You can also show someone you care by creating a mini wellness kit for your friends, family, teachers, etc!  I’ve seen SO many adorable ideas on Pinterest!  You can make a wellness kit with Kleenex facial tissues (aren’t their designs just adorable?!), chicken soup, menthol vapor rub, lap balm, hand sanitizer and cough drops, then package it together in a cute tote or box with a card or printable that says “Being Sick Blows!”  The Kleenex brand even has a website where you can share a message with tissues- so sweet!

Along those lines…you could make similar kits with Kleenex facial tissues like:

  • “Boo Boo Box” theme as a starter medicine cabinet for a college student
  • “Sunshine Box” with yellow items to brighten someone’s day and show you care
  • Wedding day care package for the bride or bridesmaids
  • Homewarming tower of essentials like I recently did here!
  • Teacher bundle with Kleenex facial tissue and hand soap or sanitizer

Every day we’re presented with opportunities to show we care, but despite our best intentions, these moments often get overlooked. According to a survey commissioned by the Kleenex brand, nearly 50 percent of people in the U.S. say they’ve missed an opportunity to show someone they care, especially when it comes to everyday moments.  Such a shame!

So regardless of what kit you go with for your own home or for someone else, visit the Walmart pharmacy section and stock up on Kleenex facial tissue so you’re prepared to share one with someone who may need it. You can take advantage of an exclusive Walmart offer while stocking up: receive a $5 VUDU credit* (a streaming movie service) when you purchase either a 4-pack of 75-ct Kleenex Ultra Soft Tissues or Kleenex Tissues with Lotion (some will have stickers that denote coupon and some will not, but all of the Lotion/Ultra Soft 4-packs are eligible).  This credit would make for a great addition to a get well package so they can relax and recoop and watch a movie!

*Redeem by purchasing qualifying item and star/check the item(s) and the date of your receipt. Snap a clear photo of the entire receipt with your phone. Text CAREPACKAGE to 811811 for submission instructions. Please allow 48 hours for processing.

#4 Wash your hands.

Again, a no brainer but often overlooked when you are in a rush but oh so important! You can really cut down exposure to certain germs by washing hands regularly. I love keeping foaming hand soaps with great scents (right now, I’m loving the fall scents like pumpkin, toasted marshmallow and cinnamon.)  And you can even make your own foaming hand soap with just a couple ingredients- great way to reuse those empty soap containers!

#5 Get some zzz’s.

It’s so important to get adequate rest to keep your immune system healthy. Try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep at night to keep your body functioning well and to help fight off illnesses.  Personally, as a new mom, that can be tough but make sure you put down your cell phone at least an hour before bed and get yourself relaxed (I need to work on this!)  Even lighting a candle or putting some lavender spray on your pillow works wonders- very calming!

get sleep
DIY Headboard tutorial here.

What tips do you have for staying well this winter?  Any other ideas on showing someone you care with a themed kit or box?  Tell me in the comments!


kleenex Logo

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Kleenex Brand.

October 2015 Stitch Fix Review


With my 30th birthday this past weekend, I scheduled myself a fix from Stitch Fix to treat myself! It’s so hard to go shopping with a baby, let alone with clothes- so this is the best way to do it!  I really enjoy pinning specific Stitch Fix items on my Pinterest board, but also appreciate a fun surprise every now and then.

I asked for casual, classic pieces in plain colors and not too many patterns. No boxy tunics or sheer tops. Check out what I got!

October 2015 Stitch Fix horizontal Let’s get down to each piece with the October 2015 Stitch Fix Review!

Stitch Fix Market and Spruce Corinna Striped Dolman Top
Market & Sprice Corinna Striped Dolman Top ($48)
I had pinned this top in a couple different colors so glad that it came in my fix! I loved how neutral is was while the stripes gave it something a bit more than a standard shirt.  The sleeves were just a little too tight for my liking though.  Back it went!

Loveappella Orchird Henley Knit Top, Stitch Fix
Loveappella Orchird Henley Knit Top ($58)
This was one my stylist picked out.  Really love the color, but hate the cut.  Very clingy fabric, and definitely not worth the price tag in my opinion.  When I saw I had a Loveappella item in my fix when it shipped, I was super excited because I love my Evie Drawstring Funnel Neck Sweatshirt (worn here), but this one?  Not so much.

Stitch Fix Market and Spruce Margerie Stripe and Dot Open Cardigan
Market & Spruce Margerie Stripe & Dot Open Cardigan ($68)
I pinned this cardigan and we so pleased to get it and try it out!  I love this because it has a gathered back, which makes it more structured than a regular cardigan, and it’s REVERSIBLE!

Stitch Fix Market and Spruce Margerie Stripe and Dot Open Cardigan 2
I really went back and forth on keeping this one, and in the end, I decided to send it back.  Hope I won’t regret it!  I just couldn’t figure out what other tops to pair it with besides white.  The style card had it paired with a fuschia dress, but I don’t have that color in my closet.  And the blue in the cardigan isn’t a true navy…it’s more of a purpleish-blue.  Wish it was navy because it would have more remixing potential!

Stitch Fix Brixon Ivy Lawley Cable Knit Open Cardigan
Brixon Ivy Lawley Cable Knit Open Cardigan ($68)
I had this cardigan pinned FOREVER and finally got it- success!  Love the neutral gray (it comes in other colors  like a caramel color- swoon!)  Most open cardigans have the extra fabric that has the potential to lay weird across the chest, but this is knit into the sweater to double as pockets- so fun!  This one was a keeper (and I’m wearing it now as I type this!)  Very cute, cozy and warm!

Stitch Fix Andrew Marc Kayseri Faux Leather Knit Moto Jacket
Andrew Marc Kayseri Faux Leather Knit Moto Jacket ($88)
My stylist included this jacket after seeing a similar one on my Pinterest board.  This jacket looks like a million bucks, but the price point is pretty reasonable!  It has some give on the sides since it has knit material there, and the asymmetrical zipper and large lapels are perfection.  It’s super flattering when zipped up and fits great, but I felt that it didn’t lay all that well on me when unzipped.  Plus, since I am at home the majority of my days with a baby, this jacket wasn’t super practical for my current lifestyle.

So in the end, I feel like my stylist did a great job picking out some specific pieces I wanted, along with a few surprises that fit my style profile.  Almost kept a few pieces this time, but decided to limit myself to one Stitch Fix piece…especially after this month’s clothing budget purchases…which you will see later this week.

What would you have kept?

October 2015 Stitch Fix
Check out my other Stitch Fix reviews here: August 2015 | Maternity edition | #4 | #3 | #2 | #1

Note: I am using affiliate links in this post.  If you sign up, I’ll get a credit.  Thanks for your support!

Linking up with I do DeClaire, Olives n’ Wine

Follow me!
FacebookTwitter  |  Pinterest  |  Instagram  |  Bloglovin’

Happy Birthday, Izzy!


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

Next week, our little Izzy will turn 5 years old!  I can’t believe it was five years ago when we found our little Irish Troodle at the shelter and knew we had to have her.  (Her name was actually Minnie when we first met her—I’m thinking it’s because of those big, black ears!)

Anyways, she has been such a joy to have in our family and we really couldn’t imagine life without her!  She is spunky, full of energy and has quite the personality.  She’s the perfect mix of playful, protective and princess.  Izzy has certainly taught T and I lot through the years, and I think prepared us for having a baby, too!  (She even helped us announce the news!)  Since Bryce has been born, she has been such a great big sister, too.  They are really warming up to each other and she is so patient with him…seriously warms my heart!

So in honor of Izzy’s 5th birthday, I wanted to put together a little birthday basket for our little fur baby.  These last six months have been quite the adjustment for her since she wasn’t the center of attention like she used to be, and we want to make sure she is extra spoiled on her special day!

So, I headed out to Target (where else?!) for one of my weekly runs and headed to the pet aisle.  I grabbed Purina Beyond Dog Snacks in two varieties.  Of course, I checked the Cartwheel app (one of my tips & tricks to save money at Target) and they also had 10% off Purina Beyond Dog Snacks at Target, available from 10/4-10/31. Woo hoo!

target purina
There are definitely a lot of options out there, but I liked the Purina Beyond Dog Snacks because they are healthy and natural snack for Izzy. We want the best for her, so these seemed like a great choice!  Evidently, Purina crafts these grain free snacks in small batches right in Arkansas.  Yay for buying right here in good ‘ol USA!

And when I say natural, it really is!  Chicken is the #1 ingredient.  There is no poultry by-product meal or artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.  No corn, wheat or soy either.

Then I got to assembling!  I grabbed a basket that we already had and put a few things together for Izzy: a polka dot coat as a base for the rest of her color-coordinated presents, along with a couple toys, collar or “necklace” as we call it, and of course- her snacks!

And because I’m a huge pushover, I had to let Izzy sample a few Purina Beyond snacks a little early.  Don’t worry, she’ll get plenty more where that came from!  I mean look at that face…

Happy birthday, Izzy!  You are the best pup we could ever ask for.  Here’s to many more years of great health and happiness to our 1st {fur} baby!

How would Purina Beyond Snacks found at Target fit into your dog’s snacking routine? Do you make birthday gifts for your pets, or am I the only one?!

Follow me!
FacebookTwitter  |  Pinterest  |  Instagram  |  Bloglovin’


#RemixYourCoffee with New Folgers Flavors & a Giveaway!


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


These days, waking up ready to tackle the day doesn’t happen easily.  Growing up, a bowl of my beloved Golden Grahams or the smell of pancakes and syrup helped me take on the day, but as an adult (and mama), I definitely need something stronger.  For me- that’s coffee.

I wake up around 6 am and head downstairs where a freshly brewed pot of coffee is waiting for me (my husband is just leaving the house with his travel mug of coffee around then, too.)  And of course, I like our coffee just so—usually with flavored creamer like french vanilla and a packet of Truvia.  I grab my cup of coffee and sit down to pump and check emails and read a few of my favorite blogs.  It’s my few minutes in the morning when I can relax before I tackle the day…I love that time!

Luckily, Folgers knows each of us likes our coffee our own way—and they’re helping us brew exactly what we want. Folgers Flavors lets us customize our coffee any way we like it, which I’m all about because I could never drink a plain cup of coffee- I “accessorize” it if you will!

Folgers Flavors are concentrated flavor enhancers available in a convenient, portable squeeze containers that allow you to #RemixYourCoffee and customize it to your taste.  They can be used at home or on-the-go because they don’t require refrigeration.  This is perfect for when I am traveling and don’t have access to my favorite creamer, like when I visiting family for a long weekend.  I just throw it in the diaper bag so I can enjoy that tasty cup of coffee with the flavors that I prefer!

Folgers Flavors are available in four delicious flavors: Hazelnut, Vanilla, Mocha and Caramel.  My favorite is a couple squirts of Vanilla with a Truvia packet- SO flavorful!  You can use a little or a lot and make it hot or iced for whatever kind of flavored coffee you prefer.

YouTube sensation Mike Tompkins has put his unique spin on the iconic Folgers jingle and created an original a capella Folgers remix mash-up.

Let’s be honest, I love a good a capella- whether it’s Pentatonix or Pitch Perfect, and Mike Tompkins has some other great songs on his YouTube page too.

Want to try some for yourself?  You can enter to win two samples of Folgers Flavors!  Enter to win using the Rafflecopter widget below.   Good luck!  For more information, visit

Contest entrants are only eligible to win once per sweepstake, per household as part of a campaign sponsored by Influence Central. US residents only, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Shop the look:

Target [exact]
Slippers: Minnetonka via DSW [exact]