A Belated Weekend Recap + This Week's Menu + An Announcement!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Happy Tuesday, friends!

I'm coming to you with a belated weekend recap and this week's menu because I left my main laptop in Lancaster when we visited on Friday. Oops! So I'm borrowing Steve's to make do, and because I've had a ton of ideas floating around in my head for blog posts that need to get down on "paper" before they float right out of my distracted mind. ;) 

PLUS! I'm making a little blog-related announcement at the end of today's post. Check it out and let me know what you think!

So, how was your weekend? I hope it was a good one. The weather was nice where we are, and we've had a mostly-rainy July, so we took advantage and kept busy with the girls. On Friday Steve took a half day and we headed "home" to Lancaster to visit with one of my dear friends (hi Shannon!) and her family for a few hours. Our kids played while we chatted, and it felt so good to catch up. This is one of those families that just makes you feel comfortable, loved, and accepted from the moment you step in their home, and Shannon has been such a strong support for me in my career and otherwise.

After our visit, we headed to Steve's parents' house where we ate homemade spaghetti and meatballs (thanks Momma T!) and let the kids play on the piano and with a few of Steve's childhood toys, like a giant airplane. A huge storm rolled through and when it seemed like the rain had tapered off a bit, we headed back home to NJ. Along the way we spotted a rainbow, which C was so excited about: "Mom, can we go over there to the mountain so I can check out what's at the end of the rainbow?"

On Saturday we relaxed and played (does anyone else tend to start out their weekend mornings on the slower side?) and then had swim lessons. After nap time for H, we headed to hibachi for dinner (the girls' first time). If you've never done this with kids, it's actually pretty great because the initial soup/salad comes out right away and then, of course, the meal itself is cooked right in front of you so the kids are completely entertained (it's all about distraction -- and snacks -- I've found, haha!). 

On Sunday we surprised the girls with a trip to Storybook Land, which is a super cute kids' amusement park about an hour away from us. The weather was beautiful and the park was mostly shaded, and surprisingly we didn't have to wait in any lines. It was perfect! We got there at opening, ate a packed lunch in the car so our bellies would be full, enjoyed the park for a couple of hours, and left at 2pm so H could nap on the way home. 

All in all, it was a fun weekend with our little family. We don't have too many of these summer ones left, so it felt good to fully enjoy it. Now... on to this week's menu!

This Week's Menu

Monday - Pizza party (I've taken to calling every night we have pizza a "pizza party" -- I'm not sure why, but it works. #momlife)

Tuesday - Copycat Zuppa Toscana soup (potato, kale, and sausage) & garlic bread

Wednesday - Cheeseburger pie

Thursday - Grilled chicken, rice, and broccoli

Friday - Caesar salads with leftover chicken

Saturday - Leftovers

Sunday - Out

Announcement time! Ending on a fun note, I'm excited to announce a new monthly series I'll be bringing to the blog starting in August! It's called "Women Who Inspire" and will feature a profile of/interview with an inspiring woman each month (I mean, really, what woman isn't inspiring?). I'm so excited to share it with you all. AND, if you feel compelled to nominate a woman who inspires YOU, please do! I'd love to keep the series going for as long as possible. I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other.

Cranberry & Feta Salad With a Crunch

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Remember last week how we talked about how delicious fresh foods are in the summertime, and how we just seem to crave those easy, light meals even more when the weather is warm? Well, I'm back today to share one more recipe -- although, I don't think I can keep a straight face calling it that. Basically, this is the easiest thing you'll make all week and you can have it for lunch or as a side with dinner! It was one of those salads that I threw together using the contents of my fridge/pantry and now I can't stop eating it!

Feta & Cranberry Salad with a Crunch

You'll need:

Lettuce blend of choice (I used veggie lovers for extra substance) -- spinach would be tasty too!

Reduced fat, crumbled feta cheese

Craisins (or any brand of dried cranberries)

Unsalted sunflower seeds

Dressing of choice (I recommend a vinaigrette, but if you prefer creamy dressing I think a poppyseed dressing would be delish)

Start with a bed of lettuce and mix in your desired amount of toppings. I tried (triiiied so hard) to keep the feta and cranberries to a minimum to reduce the fat/sugar but man, I love both. Start with a pinch of everything and go from there! You could easily add a protein like chicken, turkey, or tofu to this to make it a little heartier, too.

If you have any winning salad combos, I'm all ears! Lunch is always the hardest meal for me to eat purposefully and healthily, so new inspiration always helps. Happy Wednesday, friends!

Spontaneity & Kids

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

One day a couple of weeks ago, I came home from the grocery store with the usual suspects: bread, cheese, fruit snacks. ;) But I had also picked up the most random item on a whim: a can of chocolate whipped cream. We never get that, so when the girls looked at it and asked what it was, I said "wanna see?", pulled the cap off and squirted a dollop of chocolatey goodness into their mouths. You should've seen their faces. 

If you're anything like me, you appreciate a little control over life's happenings -- especially when it comes to parenthood. I've realized the reason I crave control as a parent is because being a mom is the most important thing in the world to me, and I want to get it right. In fact, the most challenging part of parenthood for me has been accepting the truth that there is so much we can't control (sickness, random crying spells, tantrums... you get the point). Parenthood teaches people like me, day by day, to loosen the grip a bit on what should be and just embrace what is. 

It's all about balance, right? We need schedules and routine, but we also need fun. Especially when we're faced with a tough day, week, or season, I've found nothing breaks us all out of a funk quite like spontaneity, just going for it. What seems like something simple and not special to adults can be what kids remember most. 

A spur of the moment outing.

Running outside in the pouring rain.

A surprise treat.

Saying "yes" to something you'd usually say "no" to.

Dessert for breakfast.

A random dance party.

A water balloon or super soaker fight.

Racing outside when you hear the ice cream truck.

Summer in particular lends itself to spontaneity. It's easy to do a lot of these last minute things when there's no need to bundle, the weather makes it easy to get around, the days are longer, and the kids are home more. So here's your challenge (and mine): do something spontaneous this week, and let me know what you did and what your kids' reactions were! I'd love to hear. :)

Summer Recipes: Appetizer, Entree, Dessert

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Does anyone else seem to "eat by the season?" There are a few dishes I am always in the mood for, but when summertime rolls around I tend to lean toward easy, fresh meals with summer flavors. I'm linking up with some lovelies today to share my favorite appetizer, entree, and dessert during these hot months.

1. Appetizer: Summer Salad. That's what I call this concoction -- I'm not sure that's the official name for it, though. ;) This is a great and easy dish to throw together to bring to parties, which I've done several times. Trust me, you won't be disappointed!

2 cucumbers- cut up, 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes (about 30), 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, 1 cup fresh mozzarella (I like to use the little balls), 1 avocado, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, Salt and pepper to taste.

2. Entree: Fresh Lemon Pasta. This is a recipe from the NYT you can't go wrong with. It is extremely simple to make, has the freshest (not overpowering) lemon flavor, and is a great summer dish if you're craving pasta but want a lighter taste to it than your typical marinara or cream sauce. Recipe is linked here: 

3. Dessert: Donut Kabobs. Next to only the ice cream truck, this dessert screams summer. Take vanilla (or chocolate, whichever you prefer) glazed donut holes and stack them with fresh berries: strawberries, blackberries, or whatever you like best.

image via (and a recipe too!)

What are your summer favorites?

Minnie Mouse Party + This Week's Menu

Monday, July 16, 2018

Well, hi! How was your weekend? Ours was extra fun, as we threw a little birthday get together for miss H on Saturday. The theme was -- and this is going to shock you -- Minnie Mouse. ;) We had perfect weather and the best group of people to help our littlest celebrate the big TWO. 

We kept it pretty simple this year. Food consisted of a tray of wraps from Wegmans, a tray of nuggets from Chick Fil A, homemade pasta salad and a fruit tray from Steve's mom, chips, goldfish, baby carrots, and a big ol' pink sheet cake from ShopRite. Decor was simple, too, with some touches of Minnie throughout the house and the entertainment was pretty much all of the outdoor kid toys thrown in the yard. The tiny guests seemed to enjoy the inflatable pool the most! Gotta love summer birthdays.

Hadley's sweet little dress is from the Disney Store. I tried to link it but I think they sold out!

We've got ears, say cheers! ;) Mouse ears found here on e-Bay!

Maybe the last year we'll be able to use this high chair we refinished (read more about that project here!). Sniff.

The heart tablecloth was the first thing I bought for the party. In February. Valentine's clearance for the win!

I love that practically everywhere sells these fun word/number balloons now. This "yay" was from the Target dollar spot (for $5).

Favors were gourmet Mickey & Minnie lollipops found at Target (sorry, parents). 

All in all it was a wonderful celebration for a wonderful little girl.

Moving on to our menu this week, the simplicity theme continues! What's for dinner in your house this week? I can always use some new ideas!

Monday - Rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans

Tuesday - Kielbasa, pasta salad, corn on the cob

Wednesday - Out (Steve's parents are here and it's a work day for me, so we'll probably just grab something quick and easy!)

Thursday - Our favorite crockpot meat sauce with spaghetti, plus salad

Friday - Leftovers

Saturday - Out (my friend Sarah - hi Sar! - is visiting)

Sunday - Grilled cheeses

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: 5 Tried & True Recommendations

Friday, July 13, 2018

It's that time of year again... the Nordstrom anniversary sale is live! If you're part of the blogging world or just an avid reader of blogs, you've been hearing about this sale for forever, and chances are you're perusing post after post with everyone's favorites. So am I! If you enjoy fashion and shopping (raising my hand), it's so much fun to see what everyone's liking for the upcoming season. 

Although, I'll admit, this year I am just not in the fall frame of mind at all. Most years I can appreciate the fuzzy sweaters and tall boots but this year I feel like summer just started (maybe thanks to the longest winter of all time). With that said, there are some great deals, so I thought I'd share a few of my absolute favorite picks that are tried and true. Meaning, I already own them or have purchased them myself. I hope it helps you narrow things down if you're hoping to invest in a couple of useful pieces! :)

I'm including this shoe because 7 years ago I got an almost identical pair for my birthday and they are still my go-to neutral shoe. I wear them to work, I wear them out, I even can wear them chasing the kids around. They work for everything, and the more traditional ballet flat works for me better than the ever-popular Reva style that pinches at the heel. I've had strangers come up to me and ask about my (very old) pair, and I haven't seen TB do something similar in a while -- so if you're interested, here's your chance to treat yourself at an $80 discount.

Speaking girl to girl here, good bras are really hard to find. For a long time I bought inexpensive Target bras, but they lost their shape so quickly. A couple of years ago I tried on a Natori bra at Nordstrom after hearing a lot of great things about them and I never looked back. Here's the style I own in a couple of colors, and here's a style I'd like to try. Think about it, it's something you wear every single day, it absolutely has to be comfortable (no wires or straps digging in), and it dictates how the rest of your clothes fit. Buy a good one (and better yet, buy a good one at a good price!).

If you're shopping for a child, this is my number one pick. These jackets are warm, yet light and the hood is a must. We have a handful of them (and they're getting double the use thanks to miss H!) and C was able to wear her last one for two years straight. These are no-brainers, quality, and safe in carseats (as opposed to those bulky winter jackets). I actually tried this style out for C this year, which is a little different, but I don't think you can go wrong with either!

4. Nikes.
A couple of years ago I got a pair of Nikes from the Nordstrom sale as a birthday gift (serious perks of my birthday being less than a week before this sale, ha!) and in the fall and winter I still wear them constantly. Sneakers are a must, whether you actually work out in them or not -- I'm mostly the not; working on that. ;) And good sneakers are usually pretty pricy, but these are less than $75. And that grey... I love.

This is my favorite gloss that I've ever owned (I like a lot from this brand!). The colors are always pretty, it goes on smoothly, isn't sticky, and has this slight plumping effect. I love soft nudes like these!

So there ya have it, fellow browsers. My top five tried and true steals from the anniversary sale! I'd love to hear if you try one or a couple out, and what your favorites are. And don't forget -- just because there's a sale happening and everyone seems to be posting what they took home -- no pressure. There are a lot of cute things, but try to imagine what you'll really use and love, and what's truly a great discount. Then treat yourself guilt free!

Hope you have a great weekend! 

Thirty One (It's My Birthday!)

Monday, July 9, 2018

It's my birthday, y'all! 

I'm 31 today. Officially in my thirties. ;) And you know what? It feels great. I feel incredibly grateful for another year, for the people (and puppy) in my life who make me feel like the richest woman on the planet, for my cozy and happy home, for my work, for all of the experiences I've had thus far and the memories I get to keep from them, and for everything there is to look forward to. 

Last year, my main goal was to launch The Lucky Lifestyle. I had been thinking about it for so long, and I decided a milestone birthday was the time to just do it. So I did! And I stuck with it, and I'm so glad I did. I have met wonderful people, learned a lot, and just genuinely enjoyed coming to this space to write, share, and connect.

This year, when I think about "goals," I think about just doing more of what makes me happy. Spending more time with those I love (I am so beyond grateful for each of you), trying something new just because, being outdoors... just sort of following that inner compass that intuitively leads us all. 


I spent the weekend visiting with family and today Steve took off work so we plan to spend some time outside with the girls -- hiking or tennis, probably -- followed by a yummy lunch out. Later this evening we have our family photos (rescheduled from the other day, when it started down-pouring on us!), so that should be fun! 

So I leave you with this, which seems appropriate for a birthday: 45 life lessons from a 90 year old woman. :) Hope you had a wonderful weekend, and a great week ahead! 


Friday Favorites: 5 Summer Looks Under $50

Friday, July 6, 2018

Morning, friends (or afternoon, or evening, depending on when you're reading this)! 

How was the rest of your holiday week? I can't believe 4th of July has come and gone. We had a festive week full of red, white, and blue, bbq's, and some crazy weather. On Tuesday we were supposed to have our yearly family photo shoot and as we were heading to the location (after getting the kids ready, eating an early dinner, getting ourselves ready, even getting Layla ready - ha!) the skies opened up and a huge storm rolled in. There were lightning strikes everywhere and the rain was so bad we could barely see to drive right back home. So we're going to reschedule and hope the second time is the charm!

For today's Five on Friday, I thought I'd share five full-fledged summer looks I'm loving. All are under $50 and you have plenty of summer left to wear them. :)

How cute is the back on this top from J.Crew Factory? Love it so much!

Another adorable summer top and you'll never guess... it's from Target!

Pom pom bags are everywhere, but this one is a steal compared to most prices I've seen (plus free shipping and great reviews!).


Just a little obsessed with the back of this breezy summer dress. Not sure I could pull it off (if anyone has recommendations for the best bra to wear with something like this, I'm all ears!) but I just love it.

Less than $25 for these comfy looking, go-with-everything sandals? Yes, please!

Do you like spring/summer or fall/winter fashion better? I'm thinking you can guess my favorite. I hope this season takes its time. Enjoy your weekend! 

Hadley Kate | Two Years Old

Thursday, July 5, 2018

My baby love is two. The cliche is true: it feels like she's been here forever and no time at all, all at once. What was life like before our Hadley Kate came into the world? I can't remember (partly thanks to how seamlessly she fits in, and partly thanks to the fact that my brain cells have been reduced to about 4 -- while my grey hairs have increased ten fold ;)), and I wouldn't want to.

 Hadley at 2 weeks old

From the moment she was born and I held her soft little body against mine for the first time, I knew she was so special. In the hospital she'd lay asleep against me for hours and hours, all cuddled up. It's kind of crazy how you can look at the face of a sleeping newborn and just sense the kind of bond you'll have. Hadley is snuggly and a total firecracker at the same time. She can be such an imp, but she'll look at us knowingly with those sparkly olive eyes framed by those long dark lashes and we can't help but smile. She is such a love, and gives us lots of hugs and kisses. She'll also take off running at the drop of a hat (something her big sister never did), or hide somewhere silently and give us a heart attack, or climb up onto a table. She keeps us on our toes!

Hadley at 1 year exactly

Haddie wants to do everything Carrie does, understandably. For that reason, she's progressed so much faster physically than C did or than I was really prepared for. She's a full-on monkey, running, jumping, climbing, and galloping (her favorite way to get around). She kicks a soccer ball around like a little pro, dances like nobody is watching, and does somersaults. She wants to be just like her big sister, who she calls "sissy" (I'm not even sure she knows her real name!), and follows C's lead. But she's also not afraid to stand her ground if C does something she doesn't like: "No sissy! Go!" ;)

Hadley at 15 months

Speaking of their sisterhood: it is like nothing I've ever seen. It has surely been my favorite part of having two kids. Seeing their bond -- one only they share -- and how they love and protect one another brings all of the joy to my heart. Don't get me wrong, they still bicker and take toys from each other, and make each other cry every now and then. But for the most part, they are each other's best friend, and I hope (and don't really doubt) that it always stays that way.


Hadley is a bit of a picky eater at this age, but the girl loves her some cheese (that's my girl!). She'll scarf down a quesadilla any day and loves hummus, most fruit, and does pretty well with chicken, hot dogs, sausage. She tries everything, which is all I ask! 

Hadley at 18 months

She's also been going on the potty for at least the last two months, much to all of our surprise. She's sort of been self-led in potty training and I'm not sure I'm ready! These days she's going on the potty most of the day and I'm thinking I might want to get serious about the training. She hates when she does go in her diaper. It's crazy how much quicker things go the second time around!

Hadley at 21 months

Hadley loves Minnie and cuddling up with her sissy to watch a show or movie. She also loves her baby dolls and pretending to feed and take care of them. She enjoys playing kinetic sand and dollhouse with her sister, loves being read to, playing outside, and "swimming" (wading around in the baby pool). She's taken a mommy & me ballet class, which she enjoyed, and is starting swimming lessons this summer. 

With her best friend on Memorial Day 2018

My curly Q, baby love, bugger, Haddie Cakes, lovebug... you are adored by your entire family. You bring so much light, amusement, and adventure to our lives. I am so grateful for your sweet and sensitive self, for your head full of dark curls and your adorable dimples, for your fearlessness. If you have filled two years with such joy, I can't imagine -- and can't wait for -- what the years ahead have in store. Happy 2nd Birthday!

Love you always,

Almost two! (Fourth of July 2018)

The Momiform

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

I love clothes -- always have. But these days, you'll mostly find me in some variation of the same outfit, which is: shorts, t-shirt, comfy flats. When I came across this "Keeper of Snacks" Calson t-shirt recently, I knew it would be the perfect addition to my ever-rotating mom uniform (momiform, if you will). Because it's true. I am many things to my sweet children, chief among them the keeper of snacks.

What I really like about this top is that it's super soft and fairly long, so you can knot it, tuck it, or just wear it as is. I was so sad to see it's already sold out but here are some other favorites I'm loving (they're all linked!): 

Are you into graphic tees? And do you have a "uniform?" Would love to hear what it is!

Welcome, July! + This Week's Menu

Monday, July 2, 2018

Happy Monday & Happy July! 

We are officially full-swing summer now and I'm trying to soak it all in (100 degree temps and all). I love everything about this season, but this month is especially fun: H's birthday, my birthday, friends' birthdays, 4th of July, and lots of other exciting things to look forward to. It's funny how such a key piece of happiness is having something to look forward to, isn't it?

I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite memories/photos from June as a little look back on the past month as I look forward to this one:

We started off the month at the shore on our weeklong vacation...

Did lots of swimming and "gardening" (aka watering the mulch)

We spent time in my hometown enjoying the annual Parade of Homes (and some horses!)

We baked cookies, made pizzas, and C got a haircut.

Of course, we set up our first lemonade stand!

Celebrated the incredible dads in our lives (and speaking of incredible and dads, C had her 2nd theater experience with Steve watching Incredibles 2!)

Spent lots of time at the playground (and C mastered the monkey bars!)

And we welcomed our friends' new babies into the world - two new sets of precious twins (not my pics to share, but trust me, they are cuties)!

Finally, we ended June with a night out for momma.

Now onto our weekly menu! 

This Week's Menu:

Sunday - Homemade pizza & cucumber slices with ranch

Monday - "Chicken" nuggets (we like Morningstar), fries (these!), & corn

Tuesday - Eggroll stirfry (trying this recipe for the 1st time, will report back!)

Wednesday - 4th of July! Grilling chicken kebobs, with rice & corn on the side

Thursday - Lemon pasta with peas (we use this recipe from NYT, so good)

Friday - Fish sticks, mac & cheese, peas

Saturday - Out!

Sunday - Out! 

Hope your July is off to a wonderful start! 
CopyRight © | Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan