Favorite Things

Favorite Things, and One Not so Favorite Thing

Hey folks…its time for another round of my favorite things.

  1. If you are in the Baltimore region, this is for you. I was raised going to Fenwick Bakery on Harford Road. It is the sweetest little bakery and I have precious memories of going there with my grandparents, always leaving with a complimentary cookie. Dan and I got our wedding cake there, Dans parents got their wedding cake there…you get the point. We love it. I took the kids there the other day to order Lillian’s Birthday cake and it was actually the first time I’d taken them! It was just as wonderful as Id remembered. We ordered her 8 inch DECORATED cake ($17. I mean come on!) and I couldn’t leave before ordering the most delicious donut I’ve ever eaten. I’m a plain Jane. I like chocolate frosted. I was legitimately shocked that it was SO much better than any chocolate frosted donut I’ve ever had. Guys. Just go! its worth the $1! I’d probably pay $5. And bonus! The kids both left with a free cookie.
  2. As I get older (over the 30 hilll!) I am becoming a whole lot more concerned with my sun exposure. Enter- the swim “shress”. I have to get a few moles removed in a couple weeks that look *troubling* and I am even more committed to covering it alllll up. So here we go. My friend has this one that I’m ordering and I LOVE it. I also just ordered this one which is a bit more understated. I haven’t decided which one will stay yet. They’re both adorable and I can’t wait to not have to worry about my skin! Have you been to the dermatologist lately? GO! Annual mole checks, people!

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I sent these links to my best friends from college and one responded, “man we’ve really come a long way from string bikinis”. Ahem. yes.

3. My birthday is coming up in a few weeks! I asked my mom for a heritage test and she was super excited to get me one. I chose the Familytreedna company. If you order in the next few weeks you can get $20 off in celebration of Mothers day. I’m going to make a few blog videos once the test comes in the mail! I have never known much about my heritage and I can’t wait to find out exactly where my ancestors are from.

4. Guys. I’m real sad about my Quartz countertops. They told us they wouldn’t stain and they wouldn’t chip. They have both stained and chipped! We got them because we love the look of white marble but we have a 2 and 5 year old. Sooooo, that wasn’t going to happen. We thought this was the next best thing! Its white! Its beautiful! Its supposed to be kid-proof. Its not. Its chipped-a rogue spaghetti sauce jar jumped out of our cabinet. That should teach me to try to feed my Italian family sauce from a jar! Its been stained by strawberries and store-bought icing. We suggested them to a friend (pre-chip) and her salesperson told her they wouldn’t stain or chip and they’ve stained for them too. I don’t know what the answer is. I LOVE the look of concrete counter tops but they are SO labor intensive. They’d be perfect for this stage of life. The more they stain and chip the better they look!

5. Our upstairs bathroom needs some love. Both bathrooms do, actually. Its just not the right time to do an overhaul of either. One thing that HAD to go was the blinds. I’m super uncomfortable with blinds that have strings. I have heard horror stories of kids getting caught up in them and dying. So I was on the hunt for something that would let the light in and still ensure privacy. Enter: the frosted glass adhesive.  It was SUPER easy to put on and I think it looks great. I actually did it while my kids were in the bath. It took no more than five minutes! We still have our morning sunlight and privacy without the strings. I took this picture at noon which is why it is so stinking bright. It worked!IMG_9552

Okay, thats all for now. I have a feeling I’ll have another list this summer!

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Favorite Things

I’m loving more things already!

I love so many things right now I felt like I needed to hurry up and make a list before I forgot!

1-QALO rings. So we took a vacation to the Florida gulf in April and I ACCIDENTALLY lost Dans wedding band on the beach. Oops. We ended up buying him a QALO ring for a couple reasons. One: super cheap ~$30 and two: safer. As the Director of a climbing gym he was constantly having to take his ring off in case he injured his finger. Now he can keep it on all the time since this ring can be clipped with scissors if necessary! Double win! Of course I wanted in on the fun so I got a few stacking rings for when I’m being outdoorsy or traveling. His is plain gray. He’s loving it!

I ended up losing some weight this summer and these rings are falling off. I got this ring off Amazon from Enso Ring. It was a fraction of the price and is holding up great!
2-This Jewelry box! I was on the hunt for a jewelry box because I hate clutter and was SO over my jewelry tree and other random holders. I found this awesome box that you can hang on the wall or over the door. It can also lock! I love it and I love that I can see my jewelry and also get rid of my over-the-door mirror that is so noisy.

3-Outdoor Storage Bench. Are you sensing a theme?? Our porch was becoming cluttered with adirondack chairs and our front closet was packed to the brim with outdoor toys. Enter: the storage bench. It took Dan MAYBE twenty minutes to put together. Now our porch and our closet are both way more organized and manageable. And I don’t have to schlep the never ending bubbles in and out of thehouse. 

4-pretty much the only thing that Lillian plays with every single day is dress-ups. A family member gifted her this dress up rack and it is darling! Bonus is that Judah loves pulling all of the clothes off of the rack and so I can watch a war in front of my very eyes whenever I want!

5- I’m someone who needs to write out a thank you card while I’m thinking about it or it will go on my long “to-do” list and get lost. A few of my besties SPOILED me on my 30th birthday and I wanted to get thank you gifts immediately while I was still on cloud nine from spending the night away from my kids. So I went online to Walgreens and had these made THE SAME DAY. I think they turned out adorable and now we have a memory on our fridges of my birthday celebration! You can also change out the picture if you want at a later time. 

6- I did a fitness challenge this summer and part of it was to consume two protein shakes a day. I finally met a protein shake I love. It took four tries! I wanted it to be chocolatey and delicious, Is that so hard?? Well I am happy! It tastes like I’m drinking chocolate milk. Dymatize iso 100!

7-Warby Parker. My niece scratched my cornea a few months ago and it’s taking forever to heal. I wasn’t quick about going to the doctor for the first time in my life and my vision has been affected. So I was out to find some distance glasses. A few people suggested Warby Parker. They have a program where they send you five pairs of glasses for free. Then you send them back and pick what you want. There’s no catch! If you don’t want any of them, you don’t keep any. I got my first batch and didn’t like any of them. We’re lucky enough to have a Warby Parker in Baltimore so I went downtown and picked out a pair. When I got them in the mail I hated them! So I’m on my second box now. They have free exchanges and returns for 30 days. Here’s an example of one of the pairs I could end up with.

That’s all for now!! Happy last full week of Summer vacation!

Favorite Things

8 Things I’m loving!

Ok friends, I have a new round of some things I’ve been enjoying this winter!

  1. I had a never ending cold this fall and I found this tea while paruzing the aisles of Moms Organic Market ALONE on Christmas Eve. It’s Yogi’s Decaf green tea kambucha. It’s super yummy and refreshing and it’s supposed to help with digestion.
  2. Along those same lines I started taking Elderberry syrup. You can get it all over the internet as well as Moms Organic Market. Kind of tastes like grape jelly but it’s supposed to help with your immune system. I always enjoy taking it after breakfast. It doesn’t show up on their website so here is the exact one I take. 
  3. Trader Joe’s has these yummy   “Moral Fiber” Blueberry Bran muffins a friend suggested. Let me start off by saying I am downright offended by a serving suggestion implying that I can only have half of something. I am equally a rule follower so I only eat half of the muffin. They’re yummy and they have lots of fiber! Lillian and Judah like them too! Notice I left one persons name out who said “they’re branny!”. Insert eye roll.
  4. While I’m on Trader Joe’s, I’m all about this salad I tried a few weeks ago. Our Trader Joe’s has a terrible parking lot and I swear it is always raining there. So when I get the nerve up to visit, I like to get myself a little treat. Enter: the Mexicali Salad! it is SO yummy. It’s less than $5 for a delicious lunch with lots of different and crunchy ingredients. I don’t use anywhere near all of the dressing so I don’t consider the nutrition facts accurate. Check it out next time you’re there!
  5. *Target, my Target. It’s just SO good to me. A friend bought this runner for her kitchen and I immediately wanted it for our upstairs hallway. Our rug up there is seven years old with some pulling and doesn’t stay still. It’s constantly lopsided and the kids trip and faceplant weekly. SO I used a gift card and a coupon code and got this beauty for $75! $50 after the gift card and we just got our tax refund. My children each chose an end last week to EXPLODE from and mama needed to be affirmed for keeping her crap together both literally and figuratively. Enter: the rug! 
  6. Ghostbed. If you know me at all just skip over this. We bought a ghostbed about a month ago and we LOVE IT. It gets delivered to your home in a box, then you just unwrap it and it expands to a normal size. It’s heavenly! Use this link for $50 off!
  7. Along those same lines, I had no idea how affordable bedding is at Costco! When we bought the ghostbed, we thought the bedding would be super expensive since we upgraded to a King size. I bought a bunch of stuff at Target and Homegoods and ended up returning it all! We got sheets for $19.99! And a king size blanket for $14.99! Insane. I don’t know how to explain the prices online because they are SO much cheaper in store. Give it a shot!
  8. My mother in law gave me this awesome tunic extender. I’ve gotten tons of compliments on it and wear it constantly. It makes any tunic a few inches longer which is great for a tall woman like myself but it also makes you feel a little fancy! Leggings are a go-to in my life and this helps me wear them with more tops I already own. Here’s the one I have!
  9. And 10. Ok So the last few months I’ve been on a hunt for a natural face lotion with spf in it. Skin cancer runs in my family and I want my face and neck covered daily. This is a pipe dream. Each natural moisturizer is either smelly, a weird consistency, is not helping my dry skin, or doesn’t have spf. I was at my moms house the other day and washed my face there for some reason. Who knows why, I have kids I probably just needed a moment. My entire childhood i saw her put on Clinique moisturizer. You know, the yellowish one? I put it on and my face felt so nice the rest of the day. The only problem is there is no spf. So I went on their website and saw this, Super City Block. It’s a moisturizer with 40spf. They happened to be having one of their specials, buy $28 worth of products and get a bag of makeup free. So I bought it! And a travel moisturizer for an upcoming trip. It comes out looking tinted but it really just evens your skin. So in the free makeup kit they had this little gem, Clinique Moisture Surge. Ahem. It’s magic. My nose is peely at the end and I don’t know why. I’ve put this on for two days and it’s perfect. Fixed. I probably will not buy it in the future because it’s $52 but now I know the type of thing I need. Extra moisture on the nose and the Super City Block. Now if anyone with peely skin has a face spf that they love it would help me to not lather up in chemicals every morning but for now my skin is so soft and downright glowing!

Thanks for reading! What things are you loving??

* contains affiliate links. If you purchase this item I will get a small cut. This in no way influences my decision to suggest it.

Favorite Things

Favorite Things:Summer 2016

Well it’s been a rough few months so I think it’s time for another compilation of a few favorite things! No better time than while at the beach to think of things that I love. Want to check out other favorite things? I made a list in March and a special gift guide in December.

  1. This first one is super silly. It’s a travel potty. It became clear very quickly that Elle does not give me gobs of warning when it’s time to go. This potty has SAVED US! She has used it at a park, at a more rural ice cream shop that only has a porta pot, at a festival, on walks, and just today she used it in the line at the emissions test place. You just connect any brand of gallon zip lock bags to the seat and there is no cleanup! You just throw out the bag! No public restrooms! If you are potty training I highly recommend it. Or if you are so grossed out by public restrooms, meaning you have a pulse.
  2. New season, new favorite La Croix flavor. I’m all about the lime this summer! I tried the mango and I’m not a huge fan. For now, I’m sticking with coconut and lime. Sometimes when I’m feeling fancy or I have a really big cup I mix them together. Mind blown, I know.
  3. So I turned 29 several weeks ago and I was feeling really great about it. Then I scheduled an eye appointment. My MIL was telling me of a local place that takes pictures of your eyes versus giving you the drops. As a migraine sufferer I will do anything to avoid weird things changing my vision. So like a good little hypochondriac I set up my eye appointment. Then the nice Doctor casually mentioned that I needed nighttime driving glasses. Like a grandmother. I went to the sitting area where they show you the glasses and I quickly realized that I wouldn’t leave before giving them $500. For glasses I’d wear a few times a month. I rounded up my glasses wearing people and quickly heard of Zenni Optical. They have this thing on their website that you can take a picture of yourself and “try on” any of the glasses. Sign me up! So here’s my picture: Darling, I know. D thinks this is the most ridiculous picture ever. You have to open your eyes really wide so you can accurately center the pic around your pupils. It also elongated my face. Anyway, you get the drift. They cost $30. Yes that’s only one zero. It was awesome. Here I am preparing to “night drive”.
  4. Next up: This yummy candle. They say scent is the biggest sense tied to memory. My sisters favorite scent is an anthropologie candle and Target now sells a candle that smells exactly like it! One of my besties sent it to me when Kate became ill and it’s been a fixture in my kitchen! Snag it while it’s on sale!
  5. Soapbox! I was perusing the shampoo aisle at Target the other day because my hair is sick of Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle (my go-to for the last few years). I try to buy products with less bad stuff but I have a hard time spending a ton of our money on toiletries when other people in the world don’t even have clean water! Enter:soapbox! Every bottle you buy donates soap to people throughout the world who would benefit from better hygiene, leading to spreading less disease! This shampoo and conditioner (I bought the coconut) smells good, makes my hair feel super soft, and has no parabens and sulfates. Did I mention it costs $5.99! Quadruple win!
  6. Jamie Ivey podcast:The Happy Hour. I love, love, love this podcast. Jamie is a mom and pastor’s wife in Austin. She has one biological child and three more adopted from Haiti. Every week she interviews one woman who is doing awesome things or has a cool story and makes these hour long podcasts. They suck you in, man! Authors, and bloggers, and CEO’s, and Jen Hatmaker, and women who have gone through craziness whether it be illness or deployments or their husbands infidelity. They talk about parenting and loss and adoption and hope. They are so good. Take a listen the next time you’ve got a moment. I always finish with lots to think about.
  7. I’ve become a dorky mom. A few friends of mine got these 31 bags and in a moment of back pain and schlepping my 25 lb one-year-old to the playground with an enormous diaper bag swinging and almost knocking him out of my arms I cried, “MERCY”! So I looked on a swap page, because who wants to pay $50 for a glorified backpack! It’s super light, hands free, and big enough for my LaCroix and a sippy cup for the kiddos. I can fit a lot in the bag section too.
  8. We had a housewarming party a few weeks back and one of our sweet neighbors brought us the most adorable gift! She ordered it from a company called Later Aligator Boutique. I am a sucker for personalized anything so I see myself buying gifts there in the future. 😍😍😍.
  9. Ripple milk. I wouldn’t say my body is necessarily lactose  intolerant but it doesn’t feel it’s best on milk. So I love trying new kinds of milk, usually I end up laughing because they’re not great but I really do like Ripple. I started with the chocolate version first. Clearly. And expanded from there. It’s a bit pricey but I don’t drink gobs of bilk so I can handle the almost $4 to last me for a week (quart). Did I mention it has 8g protein?
  10. Hope Heals. I mentioned Katherine Wolf in my last post here but she sent me the sweetest package of Hope Heals stuff and I’ve loved passing it out. I’m taking Kate the shirt this weekend, using the bag for an overnight trip, and my mom is ordering the necklace. It’s such a reminder of Gods faithfulness as Kate slowly heals and reminds us of our place in the story God is weaving. Check out the book if you get a second, too! So great.
  11. Last but not least I just got the most recent dress from Lularoe😁. The Carly. (I won $25 lulacash the other day!)I try my very hardest to purchase clothing for my family that treats the makers fairly. So that means about 90 percent of my clothing (and the kiddos!) is either second hand from places like poshmark or it is from lularoe which empowers women through helping them make an income on the side, and their conditions are fair to all people touching their products from start to finish. I buy from a friend who recently started selling Lularoe!(**interested in poshmark? Sign up with code PJLSI to get $5 off your first order.)
Favorite Things

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things…(Round Two)

So I had a Christmas gift idea/favorite things post and people loved it. So now with some changing seasons and my own personal excitement for spring, I thought I’d do another!

These are in no specific order

  • We had the stomach bug in our home while we were snowed in and Thieves Cleaner was my saving grace! It comes in a concentrated form and lasts forever. Not to mention I feel better about Jay doing the inch worm on thieves vs. a harsh chemical.
  • Dining room chairs. I’ve been seeing this style of chairs EVERYWHERE. I really like the rustic/farmhouse style so when Elle peed on one of our upholstered chairs during that same blizzard I decided enough was enough. I got a set for $90, plus a $5 off coupon, and used my red card for 5% off and free shipping. Do the math (I can’t) they were an awesome deal. We hope to have a farmhouse table once our children can act like civilized humans.  
  • Next. This ones weird. I started using Piper Wei deodorant. It’s a putty like deodorant that you put on your pits and it doesn’t cause breast cancer. Full disclosure today is day one. When you put it on it smells very earthy. I’m a sweater. I schlep two kids around with me and there is lots of picking up and wrangling and sometimes by the end of the day I’m not fresh. (Code for D saying “ew you stink”). So far so good. I still smell earthy but not bad earthy. Truly, if I’m going to be real, bring on the B.O., no more chemicals on this mama I’ve got babies to raise and a man to love. (Update: I’m several days in and LOVING IT!)
  • Ok time for my soap box. I’m pretty liberal in most of my thinking but when it comes to modesty just call me Grandma Thor. I say cover it up! I don’t want Joe Schmo seeing about six square inches more of me than my dear hubs. I also don’t love when my people are essentially running around naked in front of my man! (A friend of mine texted me this summer when she was at the beach with her husband and two kids. They were minding their own business when a group of ladies stretched out on blankets in front of them wearing thongs. COME ON!) Anyway, I’m full-on obsessed with this bathing suit line. Adorable. Modest. Figure-flattering. What more could you want!? Rey Swimwear
  • These curtain/shade things from IKEA. My sister found them a few months ago and put them in her sunroom, then my mom got one for her kitchen. Now we’ve ordered them for our living room/dining room. At $17.99 a pop they are A STEAL! What do you think? Here’s the before:     And after! (Excuse the mess 😁)       I really like that you can put the shades to all different levels.  D likes windows all the way covered and I like bright light so we can try to compromise with this!
  • Im trying to lose weight (cue sob story of a baby who weighed 10.2 at birth just eight months ago!) I love Starbucks with gobs of cream and sugar. Grande decaf coffee in a venti cup extra coconut milk. Done. No sweetener. So yummy and creamy. Try it.
  • I could’ve read Wonder by R.J. Palacio in One sitting. You know, if I didn’t have kids. Either way it was such a delightful, sob-worthy, enlightning story. I told my husband that I want my kids to read this the minute their little brains can understand it. Such a great book for teaching kids and adults alike to be kind to people who are different.
  • A friend of mine has been using Hungry Harvest and couldn’t stop talking about it. I just ordered my first weekly delivery. We’re super excited about getting fresh fruit and veggies delivered and even more excited that someone hungry will get free food because of our purchhase. Check this out!  Put my name in the referral box and we’ll both get half off of our food for the week. 
  • I’m experimenting with going gluten free to hopefully control some migraine issues I’m dealing with. My parents had us over for dinner and my mom made me these brownies by Krusteaz. I couldn’t tell the difference! So yummy. (Very unlike an unfortunate attempt at carob brownies. So bad).
  • This isn’t really a thing but an experiment. I pretty much gave up Facebook and about a month in I’m so pleased that I did. I’ve gained a thousand hours of time and lost absolutely nothing of value.

That’s a wrap! I hope you enjoy these things as much as I do! are you loving something right now?? please share!

Favorite Things

These are a Few of My Favorite Things…

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Well, it’s that time of year, folks. It’s Christmas chaos. I’m one of those people who every year gets upset about the excessive spending and unending materialization of Christmas, reading and searching for ways to be wise and meaningful with our money and with what we ask for. Then Christmas comes and I get/buy some very meaningful stuff and I also ask for stuff that is neither wise nor meaningful. So here we are. I have a list of some favorite things I’m either loving and enjoying, gifting, or just think is neat.

  1. I have a current OBSESSION with Lularoe. It’s one of those multi-level marketing things except its with super cute, affordable, modest clothing. (Parties are either online or in person. The catch is, the seller only has a certain number of each size and they are only in a few patterns per size so it’s a bit of a race). Let me start with the leggings. They feel like BUTTER! seriously. They come in two sizes: adult, and tall and curvey. My friend is 5.1 and I am 5.9 and the adult fits both of us perfectly. It’s magical. They also come in super cool patterns. I also have one of their dresses, the Julia. Super cute, comfy, and flattering. Here is a link to my consultant’s facebook page. Check it out. So fun.
  2. Michael Symons 5 in 5 cookbook. Here it is on Amazon. Every recipe takes 5 minutes and only contains five ingredients (not including things like pasta, rice, olive oil…true normal things in your pantry). I am a mom of two kids 2 and under. Why would I ever buy another cookbook for the next 20 years?! I also like that I know my family isn’t eating fake stuff like “cream of mushroom soup”. It’s all real ingredients. Enjoy.
  3. Help One Now Legacy Project Necklace. “Handmade in Haiti by local artisans, these hand cut leather disks give leftover scraps a second chance at beauty and purpose. This will easily become a go to you (and all your friends) will reach for all year round.100% of the profits of this necklace go directly to Help One Now to sustain classrooms in Haiti and Uganda and THAT is something this Haitian Creole, red clay, triple kiss lovin’ girl can get behind”. Straight from the website, folks! Cute necklace, proceeds go to help build classrooms. It’s awesome and the necklace is super cute. And it’s like $30. Buy it here. I just bought one for a fancy family member!
  4. For the Love by Jen Hatmaker. This book made me laugh out loud and sob like a baby. It’s a collection of essays by my favorite, the one and only, Jen Hatmaker. It’s the perfect gift for any woman in your life. It is just freedom from the pressure handed to you in a book. So, so good. Here’s the link.
  5. While I’m talking about books, two of my favorites this year are from author, Daisy Goodwin. The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter. They are like reading Downton Abby. SO good, both of them. Run out and buy them for snow days. Or, uhhh, gifts.
  6. Dark Chocolate Almond Milk. You probably think I’m crazy. Maybe I am. If you are hosting a party, or holiday-related anything, I just need you to trust me and have this.
  7. Young Living Essential Oils. I bought the premium starter kit last year and have been totally hooked on these oils. The kit came with a diffuser and 11 oils and I’ve bought tons since then. So far they have helped my family with: colds, congestion, migraines, bruising/cuts, healing from a 10-lb baby (I’m not kidding), stress, energy, anxiety, the list goes on. My favorite so far is when I am getting a sore throat I put a drop of thieves  and a drop of purification on my neck and I’m not exaggerating it goes away! I don’t get the full cold! It’s crazy. We had quartz installed yesterday and the glue smell was overpowering to the point that I had to grab the kids and leave the house. I diffused purification while I was gone, and it was 100x better when I came home. Just trust me. If you need someone to buy it from, let me know!
  8. This one is for kiddos: Personalized train and book. Let me just start off by saying I’m a sucker for personalization of any kind. Give me a pillow with my monogram and I’m your friend for life. When I was dating D, I was thrilled that if we got married, the first letter of my last name didn’t change so I could keep my monogrammed jewelry and other items from growing up. Back to the story. My mom bought this for my daughter and nephew and they both LOVE them. The train has her name on the bottom, and has a matching book. It’s so cute. Buy it here.
  9. Jenny & Tyler…anything. When I worked for HopeSprings, a small non-profit doing HUGE things in Baltimore for the HIV pandemic, we had a benefit concert that Jenny & Tyler were a part of. They were SO kind and lovely as people, and I loved their music, too! I have about 700 favorite songs of theirs but they do a killer U2 cover. Check them out here and then buy every album they have for everyone you know. They are just so good.
  10. Last but certainly not least, I’m all about that zoo membership. For the past few years, we have asked for a zoo membership for Elle as a gift. It is the gift that keeps on giving. We go at least ten times a year and it pays for itself after like three. It’s the best. Just do it.

Okay. That’s all for now! I hope you enjoy some of my favorite things!

Did you know I’m in the middle of a kitchen renovation? Check it!