In Bloom: Spring Dresses

Monday, March 26, 2018

Spring seems to be the choice season for events that are dress-worthy: weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, and Easter. It's finally warm enough to not feel like you'll freeze your tush off with legs and/or arms exposed and there's just something about throwing on a dress that announces: nice weather is here. 

In case you're in the market, I've rounded up some dresses I love at various price points. Happy shopping (or browsing)!

Under $50

I love anything off the shoulder and can picture this at a daytime spring wedding.

I really love this color and I am drawn to anything with tiers (my wedding dress had tiers!).

Such pretty pops on this one, and I love a good maxi dress.

Under $100

This would be great for a casual/outdoor shower or event. I like that it has a somewhat sporty vibe.

A good price for a dressier style, this one comes in 8 different colors. The light blue is my personal favorite.

Eyelet is huge right now, but honestly I think it's one of those looks that never really goes out of style.

Under $200

I'm really digging the sheer/floral look that seems to be popping up (see what I did there?) all over the place.

Another pretty floral option. All hail the dress that allows you to wear a real bra!

I love that this dress has the illusion of a (tasteful) two piece in the front, but isn't really. I've also had my eye on this one and this one in the same style.

I'm not one to normally love florals, but this season they seem to be everywhere and there are some really pretty, fun color combos. The two piece trend is also big, and I love that a lot of dresses are mimicking the look without truly being two pieces.

Which is your favorite?

Five on Friday: Happy Spring (Officially!)

Friday, March 23, 2018

TGIF! This week flew by -- I don't even remember most of it, honestly. We got another snow storm on Wednesday (yes, the first day of Spring -- good one, Mother Nature) so school and then gymnastics were cancelled, but the good news is we got a couple of days with Steve home AND we're all healthy! *Knocking on all of the wood*

Any fun plans for this weekend? On Saturday my in-laws are coming for a visit, which will be fun. I know the girls will love playing with them and it'll be nice to catch up -- plus Steve and I may try to sneak away for a bite to eat or something. Sunday will be groceries and the usual relaxing/catching up.

Here are this Friday's five:

1. Dying Easter eggs. On Sunday I whipped out one of those Easter egg dying kits you get for $2.50 at the store and let C go to town while H was napping. In full disclosure, I had Steve hard boil the eggs because I was pretty sure I'd crack them. It's funny because when I poured the vinegar into the bowls to dissolve the little color tablets, the smell instantly reminded me of my childhood. Who knew the smell of vinegar had such a strong association with Easter in my mind? 

2. My latest Netflix binge. Remember I talked about how Steve and I had just finished up Ozark and I needed a new Netflix binge? Well, I randomly started watching Mad Men (which I know is the oldest news ever) and I was positive I wouldn't like it and here I am a few episodes into Season 2 and looking forward to it each night. There's just something fascinating about peering into another era, ya know? Have you watched Mad Men?

3. A yummy new snack. I grabbed these on a whim at Target and they are reallllly good. It satisfies the sweet tooth and is really good with my afternoon coffee. ;) I've been breaking the bar in half and giving half to C, too, for a special treat. She devours them!

4. Surprising the girls. We surprised the girls Thursday morning by telling them Steve had taken the day off work and we were headed to our local children's museum for some fun. We hadn't been there since H was a tiny baby so she had never been able to truly enjoy it -- and everything was 100x more fun with the two girls playing side by side! Sometimes it's nice to just be a little spontaneous, break from routine, and enjoy life (especially after the longest winter ever!).

5. Old Navy finds. I had a couple of returns to do at Old Navy this morning and found a few new things before all was said and done. Give me all of the spring things! Here's my favorite thing I took home:

Striped swing dress: so comfy, versatile, and $15! I usually size down in ON dresses, FYI. 

I also grabbed these flip flops for $2 (because who can have too many flip flops and, hi, two dollars), these linen shorts ($15), a shirt for C and a shirt for H that I can't find online, and these glitter jellies for H -- these are a staple every year! 

Also, fun story: H is at a really fun age for shopping and, boy, did we have an eventful morning! In Old Navy she was taking off her boots and socks repeatedly and chucking them across the store, I finally gave her my phone with a baby game on it and she threw it about 3 times before it skidded underneath one of the displays. I had to lay on my stomach in the middle of Old Navy fishing it out with a plastic hanger, folks. Then I ran into the dressing room for two seconds to try on that swing dress and let her out of the stroller thinking she could stretch her legs for a minute -- she went running full force at the dressing room door, body slamming it and flinging it open to the public while I stood there without any clothes on. Thanks, kid! ;)

And with that -- wishing you a wonderful, sunny weekend! XO

Our Easter Baskets

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Easter is a little over one week away and I've (shockingly) had the girls' baskets done for a while now. I got started early this year and picked up things as I saw them, so I thought I'd share what each kiddo will find in her basket on Easter morning! 

Speaking of, what is your Easter morning tradition? Do you do baskets or not? Do you do an Easter egg hunt? Does the "Easter bunny" hide the baskets or do you have them waiting on the table or outside your kids' doors? Being a fierce believer in tradition, I love to hear this kind of stuff. When I was growing up, my mom -- er, the bunny -- hid our baskets and we'd have to search for them when we woke up. Now we're starting the same tradition with our girls! I'd argue being a parent is even more fun than being a kid sometimes. ;)

I apologize for the low quality of the pictures and that I don't have photos of their actual baskets, by the way. I had to sneakily take these pictures as quickly as I could so I wouldn't risk ruining the surprise! Each girl has a white wicker basket with a cute liner from Homegoods.

Carrington's Basket Fillers (almost 4 1/2 years old)

Obviously (and much to her disappointment), she won't be getting the entire bag of jellybeans or bouquet of Tootsie pops -- but I'll put some jellybeans in plastic eggs throughout her basket and include a lollipop or two. My unicorn-obsessed girl will be getting a new plate and ornament paint set from Target, bubbles and bunny socks from the dollar spot at Target, a Princess Jasmine doll (she recently watched Aladdin for the first time and loves Jasmine right now!), a pink playdough, a mini CareBear house from the Barnes & Noble toy section (they have the best stuff!), and a little balloon from Walmart ($1!).

Hadley's Basket Fillers (almost 21 months old)

Hadley will be getting a few YumEarth Organic Lollipops (our favorite brand - found these at Homegoods!), an Annie's fruit snack pouch, a purple playdough, Minnie Mouse bubbles and a bunny ears headband (both from the dollar spot at Target), a Minnie plate from Target, a rainbow ornament painting kit so she can do it alongside her big sis, a little Daisy figurine, a finger paint kit which I think she'll have a lot of fun with, and her own mini balloon from Walmart ($1!). 

Also, check out these adorable matching bunny jams I picked up on crazy clearance (probably from last Easter!) at Babies R Us back in January! I think they came to about $2.50 a pair. 

Tell me about your baskets! Do you have them ready to go? Happy Thursday, friends!

Sister Snapshot: March 2018

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The girls (will I ever call them anything else? I hope not. :)) are growing and changing so quickly I can't seem to catch up. I find myself wanting to record things they say or do a million times a day, and of course that's not realistic. I know I won't remember everything but I really hope I remember a lot of the funny, sweet, sometimes even not-so-sweet things that come out of these days. 

Like right now, at this very minute, I'm typing this outside on our back patio while the girls play in the yard together. Hadley lost sight of Carrington for a minute and started yelling "sissy! sissy!" and Carrie called back, "Haddie, I'm over here!" Hadley spotted her and went running, "Hi Sissy! Hi!" Just so simple, but so demonstrative of their unique, close relationship. {{Edit: I am posting this the day after I wrote it, and it is now snowing. What is happening?}}

Anyway! I thought I'd record a few things they've said or done lately that I especially want to remember. Here's a little snapshot of the girls in March 2018 (aka the longest month e v e r ). 

Carrington Elle (4 years, 4 months)

-Talks all day long and I (mostly) love it. 

-Loves pink (still).

-Sometimes mispronounces some words and phrases and I have no intention of correcting her, like: "You fell me down!" instead of "You knocked me down" ...that type of thing.

-Tells us she loves us all the time and other various melt-your-heart things like "I want to keep my family forever, we're best friends and we have the best family in the world!" She really has such a caring heart.

-Adores her little sister and hates when she gets hurt or cries. She sings to her, can't wait to see her first thing in the morning, and hugs her all day long. (She also is not pleased when Hadley goes Godzilla baby and knocks over toys, don't get me wrong, but for the most part she's very patient and sweet with her).

-Loves playing pretend, dressing up, and princesses.

-Loves building and is really good at constructing all sorts of contraptions out of legos, magnet tiles, blocks, etc.

-Obsessed with gymnastics (perfect fit for her monkey-self), and just started soccer.

-Says "actually" and "you know" all the time, which makes us laugh.

-Funny (kind of sad) story: A month or so ago we had a couple of ants finding their way into our master bathroom. At first she'd freak out when she saw one, so in order to avoid that we reassured her, "Ants don't hurt us! They're our friends!" (Bad idea). So she started referring to any ant that she saw as "My friend Anty." Well, we discovered way too many ants in the bathtub one day and had to spray -- Steve told the girls to stay away from the bathtub because there was poison. She came in the next day and was like, "Mom, what are all those black dots in the bathtub? Are those ants? Why aren't they moving? Are they... DEAD?! But, mom, they're anty's family! They don't hurt us! WHY IS THE BATHTUB FILLED WITH POISON?!" Yeahhh, that was fun to explain. ;) 

Hadley Kate (1 year, 8 months)

-Her vocabulary is really picking up! She tries to repeat everything we say.

-I love that for any word she can't pronounce, she just says "puppy." Example: Me- "Hadley, say flower." Hadley- "Puppy!"

-Still obsessed with babies and animals. She'll go right up to a baby and say "Hi baby!" as if she's so much bigger.

-Loves Mickey with a passion. Every morning the first thing she does is grabs the remote, gives it to me, and begs  "Mimi! Mimi!" 

-Getting to be a picky little eater -- hopefully just a phase -- but will eat all of the cheese, all day long (like her momma, haha).

-Speaking of cheese, the first thing she does when she sees a phone/camera come out is smile and say "Cheeee!"

-Has zero fear, which in turn gives her parents all of the fear.

-Eyes are a dark green with some hints of brown mixing in.

-She's doing a mommy & me dance class and will not sit still, but loves the music!

-She's a daddy's girl. She lights up when she sees daddy, strokes his face, and gives him hugs and kisses.

Five on Friday: A Sick Week

Friday, March 16, 2018

What's a sick week without some good TV and impulse Target buys? And there you have the preview for today's Five on Friday! Welcome! 

What are you up to this weekend? We have a low key weekend ahead which is always welcomed with open arms. I plan on throwing some green sprinkles on our pancakes Saturday morning and the girls have matching St. Patrick's Day shirts. Hadley is supposed to have dance class but she's fighting a little cold right now so chances are we'll skip it. Probably a few errands, maybe playing outside if we're lucky, and of course finding something yummy to eat along the way. :)

Let's hop right into it, shall we?

1. Ozark. Steve and I just finished watching the first (and only, so far) season of Ozark on Netflix and omg... intense. We both liked it though. Now we're in show withdrawal, naturally, and are open to suggestions! What have you seen and loved lately on Netflix? We're both individually picky when it comes to shows so it's hard to find something to settle in and watch together! Lay it on me!

2. Yes to Grapefruit Paper Mask. Hahahahaha. Haha. That was my first - and strongest - reaction to using my first paper mask (I know, where have I been, right?). I looked terrifying and it was slipping off of me for the entire 10 minutes. The only thing I could think about was that scene in Mrs. Doubtfire where Robin Williams dunks his face in the meringue pie and pretends it's a face mask. BUT I must say, when I took it off, my skin did feel more toned and look a little brighter! For $2.50, I figured why not! (Photo evidence might give you nightmares forever -- sorry!)

3. An alternative to La Croix. I know everyone, myself included, loves them some La Croix. I first got hooked on it when I was pregnant with Carrington since it satisfied that soda/carbonated beverage craving. Now there are so many brands, varieties, and flavors of sparkling water. Just this week I tried Target's brand "Simply Balanced" for the first time in the watermelon flavor and it's really, really good! Not too sweet at all, and the perfect flavor for summertime (which I am dreaming of).

4. A trip in the works. Steve and I are planning an overnight trip for our anniversary in May and we're probably going to go to NYC, which is only about 1 hr 45 minutes from us. We've both been there many times before but it's been a while since we've spent a good amount of time there, especially just the two of us. If you've been, what are your favorite spots for dinner, drinks, and things to do? Now taking recommendations. :)

5. Enjoy your weekend!

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You Might be a Parent to Littles If...

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Thursday! We're almost there. 

It has been kind of rough around here for the past week, first with Carrie being sick and then yesterday Haddie seemed to come down with something cold-like. We made a quick trip to Target this morning, though, and I swear that reset my mind/outlook. Sometimes it just takes getting out in the world, listening to some country music on the radio, and taking in the blue sky (even if it's still way too cold out) to turn things around. My mom visited yesterday (hi Mom!) so that was a treat and major help, and tomorrow C is off to "donuts with dad" at school -- she's so excited and I can't wait to hear all about it. :)

Anyway, today is for the parents who might be reading this. Just a little something that I put together that might make you laugh and nod your head. What would you add to this list? Enjoy your day! XO 

You Might Be a Parent to Littles If…

You discover random pictures on your phone taken from the vantage point of someone who is about three feet tall.

You have a favorite Sophia the First episode.

Your Saturday night dinner reservations are at 4:30pm. Somewhere loud. Where they sell grilled cheese.

To your horror, you find yourself saying things like “holy canoli!” and “yikes bikes!” -- even around other adults.

That Justin Bieber song “What Do You Mean?” takes on a whole new meaning (What do you mean, when you nod your head yes but you want to say no… what do you mean?).

You clean everything (and I do mean everything) with baby wipes.

Coffee is life.

You have a fantasy that involves lying in a quiet room by yourself, reading a magazine, and eating bread.

You find yourself “dating” other parents of littles.

The last movie you saw in the theater was animated.

You have a hiding spot where you eat all your snacks.

You rock back and forth when you’re standing in line, even when you’re kid-free.

You count down the minutes until bedtime and then spend an hour looking at pictures of your kid.

You’ve rediscovered childhood favorites like fruit snacks and Goldfish – and damn, Teddy Grahams are good!

You’ve opened all the windows and sang nursery rhymes at the top of your lungs while driving home so your child wouldn’t fall asleep and skip nap.

You would never tell anyone else this, but… your kid is definitely the cutest. :)

You also might be a parent to littles if you've gotten this look before...

Kitchen Dreaming (and a little scheming)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Hello and happy Tuesday! We are hibernating at home for yet another day because C came down with a yucky cold at the end of last week. So far she's been fever free for 12 hours or so and is in pretty good spirits, so I'm hoping she stays that way and continues to improve. Seeing your kids sick, even when it's just a cold, is never fun.

Today I wanted to talk about kitchen makeovers! When we moved into our new house a year and a half ago, it was everything we were looking for: 4 bedrooms, family-friendly/open layout, unfinished basement for lots of storage and Steve's projects, fenced backyard, close-knit and safe neighborhood with great neighbors, garage, porch, neutral colors throughout... the list goes on! And to this day, we only feel happier and more at home here. C just said to me the other day as we pulled into our garage "Mommy I love our home. It's perfect for us!" If that's not a seal of approval, I don't know what is. :)

However. There's one room that is a bit of an eyesore, and it's the kitchen. It's completely livable and most people don't seem to bat an eye, but let's just say it projects "1998" (when the house was built)... quite loudly. Actually, when we bought the house, the kitchen had gold sponge-paint walls. Yep, you read that right! We had the kitchen, dining room, and family room walls painted before we even moved in (kitchen/family room are both Pale Oak by Benjamin Moore and the dining room wall above the white wainscoting is Shale by Benjamin Moore) -- which helped enormously. But the floors are a yellowed linoleum with a hunter green diamond pattern, and our cabinets are stained cherry and not in very good shape. Our appliances are old, ill-fitted white appliances (again, somewhat yellowed - attractive!). The counters are actually in pretty good shape but are the original vinyl. 

I'm not sure about your family, but mine spends a ton of time in the kitchen. It's open to our family room, and we are in and out of both rooms all day. We eat all of our meals in our kitchen, the girls color on the floor, we cook and entertain and talk about our days there. And so, I'd love it to feel more like "us." Here's the challenge: I'd love it to feel more like us without spending our entire savings. ;) So I've been sort of obsessed with searching out high-quality, yet budget-conscious materials that will really make a beautiful impact in our kitchen. I think I have a pretty good idea of what we want, but if you've used anything in your kitchen that you're really happy with, I'd love to hear!

So here's the initial plan, subject to change:

-New floor: I'm leaning toward a light, neutral tile floor (we have wood and wood laminate throughout most of the downstairs so I feel another wood would be too hard to match).

-New countertops: Our kitchen gets a blinding amount of natural light, so I'm thinking of going darker with the counters -- I love this rich, walnut butcher block counter top option. 

-New cabinets: So far, I've heard nothing but positive reviews about Ikea cabinets so that's the way we're leaning right now. Most likely this white Bodbyn style, which will offset the more deeply colored counter tops.

-New sink: Love this affordable farmhouse, apron front sink.

-New fixtures and cabinet hardware: Yet to be decided. Would you do stainless or bronze accents with the white cabinets and maple counters?

-New stainless steel appliances: Hoping to buy as a bundle during a big sale so they will all match and we'll get the best deal. 

-Other touches: I'd love a little open shelving and under cabinet lighting.

Here's a total "before" picture of our kitchen from the listing of the house in 2016:

And here's some inspiration (check out my Home Sweet Home pinterest board for lots of home prettiness): 

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If you've undergone a kitchen makeover, I'd love to hear about your experience and if there are any great tips you have!  

Five on Friday: Snow?!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Friday again! What's on the agenda for your weekend? One of my very best friends is coming to visit tomorrow, so that's exciting! Hadley also has her second mommy & me dance class, and hopefully Sunday will be a mix of relaxing and productive. 

Here are a few random thoughts/happenings for this (snowy?!?!) Friday:

1. The white stuff. We are all decorated for Easter and yet this was the view of our backyard on Wednesday. It was actually "thunder snowing" which I didn't even realize was a thing, and was slightly end-of-the-worldish. I see more snowflakes in the forecast for next week, which makes me want to cry! Spring... where are you?

2. Recently spotted at Target. I've always admired these Serena & Lily chairs from afar (that price point, though) and recently spotted these in Target (I can't find them online). Whaaaat? I am trying so hard to come up with a reason to bring a couple of these home. Target also has these, and a set of two is less expensive than one of the Serena & Lily chairs if you're looking for a dupe.

3. A pretty swimsuit. Another Target find! I'm all about the one piece swimsuit these days and am glad they're officially in style so there are a lot of cute options to choose from. I recently came across this one online and love it. Sadly, all of the sizes were available when I first spotted it and now there are only two sizes in stock, but if you like it keep checking back. I'm sure they'll continue to restock as we get into the season. There's also this color combo of the same suit with all sizes in stock!

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4. More winning recipes! An update on last week's chicken enchilada soup: delicious and the easiest thing ever to make! Just dump the ingredients into the crockpot, shred the chicken at the end, and you've got a yummy meal. I also tried this one pot lasagna and this slowcooker beef chili this week and both were incredibly easy and winners with my whole family. Recipes like that are gold, so feel free to try and let me know if they're winners at your house, too. 

5. Enjoy your weekend. Enjoy it to the fullest.

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