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12.16.2015

Holiday Giveaway Time!


While I've been busy finding you all deals on the Daily Deals page, this blog has taken a backseat.  Since the holiday season is winding down and this space will be picking back up, what better time to link up and do a MASSIVE giveaway than now?!?

If you have spent any time on my blog, you know that Stitch Fix is one of my favorite things at the moment!  There is nothing more fun than having a stylist pick out 5 things for me each month and getting my box in the mail.  I am partnering up with other Stitch Fix bloggers to do a giveaway of a $300 Stitch Fix gift card.  Um, OMG!  Yes, $300 worth of FREE clothes to the lucky winner.

If you haven't yet tried Stitch Fix, here is my referral link.  Here's how it works...

You receive 5 items picked by a personal stylist based on a style profile you complete and Pinterest style board. You keep what you want and return the pieces you don't.  It is $20 to try it, but if you buy something they apply the $20 to your order. It is not a subscription service- you can schedule boxes whenever you want or you can sign up to get them automatically delivered monthly.  Beware: you may become obsessed like me!

Enter here!  Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Take a minute and visit these awesome Stitch Fix blogs that have brought you this giveaway!  

12.11.2015

Monthly Subscription Review: Kiwi Crate

I will be honest-I am generally skeptical of product reviews on blogs.  I feel like I am reading one big advertisement and bloggers just rave about how great the item is. I then try the product and it is just "meh."  I feel duped.  Although, I received this box from Kiwi Crate free of charge, I promise I will only give opinions that are my own and will tell it to you like it is!

Anyway....

Ryan received a Koala Crate, which is geared toward younger children.  It is a monthly box that "is chock-full of play-and-learn activities that engage the natural curiosity and creativity of preschoolers, plus imagine! magazine." I mean, it has to be better than TV, right?  Our box's theme was reptiles and came with a few activities: decorate a snake, decorate a turtle box, a game and a Highlights magazine all about reptiles.  


The crafts were cute and extremely easy to complete with ZERO mess!  Although I was needed for some parts (like stuffing the snake...how fun), Ryan was able to do a lot on his own.  The parent gets a super simple step by step guide detailing how to do each craft.  I found everything extremely user friendly and it definitely made me look like I knew what I was doing each step of the way.


Ryan's favorite part of the box was the game.  I have received various boxes in the past and out of them all (to my surprise) this one held his attention the longest.  There were 4 different activities for us to do and although I had intended to just do the crafts and be done with it, the day quickly turned into reptile day! My husband came home all impressed that I had this whole educational day planned out.  
Stay at home mom win!
 

Kiwi Crate is $19.95 per month with free shipping and the price drops as you subscribe to more time.  So, a year works out to be $16.95 per box.  Do I think it is worth almost $20 a box?  For me, probably not.  I like figuring out crafts and I have tons of supplies on hand.  However, for a busy parent who wants to do crafts or someone who doesn't want to be bothered coming up with ideas, buying the materials, etc. then definitely!  I would, however, absolutely buy these boxes with a promo code or discount.  It was really fun and I would love to try it again. 


 In case you were wondering,  Ryan is still obsessed with his snake days later!

Click below to check it out for yourself!
Koala Crate >>

12.07.2015

Where I am Meant to be

6 months.  Half a year.  182.5 days.  I cannot believe my baby girl is at this point already! Life at home with 2 kids can drag on at times but on the other hand, it has absolutely flown by.  I blinked and Ava is more than halfway to a year!

 I feel like it was just yesterday that we were taking Ava home from the hospital.  She was this squishy newborn that intimidated the heck out of me. After 2 years, I felt like I had this parenting thing down.  Then, this 6 pound 12ounce little girl made me feel like a nervous first time mom all over again.  It was a learning curve for both of us, but I think we figured it out.

Life has been a montage of firsts with her- first bath, first trip down the shore, first time sitting up, the first laugh, the first tooth- and with every first I feel a sense of pride yet sadness because I know that it means she is getting that much older.

My husband and I are at odds over whether Ava will be our last.  I pray she isn't but in the back of my mind, I know that there is a distinct possibility that these are my "last firsts" so I am trying to soak them all in.
For some reason, this 6 month milestone has hit me hard in the nostalgia department.  I can't believe how fast her life has gone by.  I can't believe how fast my life as a mom has gone by!  I feel like it was just yesterday that I was excited yet scared out of my mind to find out I was pregnant with Ryan.
 My whole life, I have admittedly looked forward to that next step- graduating high school, graduating college, buying a home, getting married, even waiting for the next season to come- but for the first time in my life, I am completely content with where I am.  My kids have taught me that right here and right now, is exactly where I am meant to be.

11.22.2015

Stitch Fix Unboxing #5 & Giveaway

Walking up to my Stitch Fix box sitting there waiting for me on the porch is possibly my favorite thing in the world! I don't think I can get my kids in the house fast enough so that I can tear it open and see what I got!

In Fix #5, I asked for a warm cardigan because I am always freezing, a couple casual tops and something I can wear on Thanksgiving.  My stylist, Lisa, took my wishes into account and sent me a really fun box that I am taking all the time I have before I have to send it back to decide what I am keeping!
Let's get to the fun!

Staccato Endino Dolman Knit Top- This top is super casual and long in the back, which I love for wearing with leggings.  The material is really soft and I am a huge fan of the dolman style.  Still, I only keep pieces I love and don't feel like I love it enough to spend money on it.
Staccato Endino Dolman Knit Top
Verdict:Returned

RD Style Colton Marled Knit Cardigan- Winters where I live can be freezing and my husband and I have the eternal debate of me turning the thermostat up and him turning it back down.  This cardigan is incredibly cozy and warm.  I love that it has really long sleeves and pockets.  I paired it with leggings and my new Bear Paw boots from Amazon and envision myself reading a book and sipping hot chocolate while wearing it (with 2 small kids who am I kidding?). However, I don't think it is the most fashionable or flattering item so I am torn.  I will update this review once I return things but as of now, I am completely undecided and am split 50-50 keep or return. 

RD Style Colton Marled Knit Cardigan
Verdict: Undecided

Le Lis Borjon Pocket Knit Top-  My absolute favorite in the fix!  I am so in love that I wore it on a date with my husband the night I got it!  It is SO soft and comfortable.  It is structured yet flowy, which I love.  The back of the shirt is solid black, which I think adds a fun element with the stripes on the front.  I paired it with my Just Black skinny jeans that I am obsessed with from fix #3 and grey boots.  I love that it can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.

Le Lis Borjon Pocket Knit Top
Verdict: Kept

Skies are Blue Tiffany Shoulder Detail Knit Top- I debated back and forth about this one.  It is funny because at first it was a complete no but then I wore it for 5 minutes while I ran downstairs and it really grew on me.   It grew on me even more when I paired it with my Just Black skinnies and a pointed toe shoe! I love the knit pattern and the gold detail is so simple but adds interest.  It is a thicker material but is shaped at the waist so it is really flattering.  Still, I have a million solid black shirts and it wouldn't get much use in the cold winter.

Skies are Blue Tiffany Shoulder Detail Knit Top
Verdict: Returned

Market & Spruce Roll Tab Top-  Lisa sent me this top as a possibility to wear on Thanksgiving.  While all the elements that make it a great shirt are there- perfect colors, love the tab sleeves, soft material- it is just not me.  I wouldn't get much use out of it since I am not working but I paired it with work pants and a small heel making it perfect for the office.

Market & Spruce Roll Tab Top
Verdict: Returned

So, there it is!  Stitch Fix #5 is in the books.  While I am only keeping 1 or 2 out of 5 due to budget, I am so happy with this fix.  I love getting my boxes in the mail and with 2 small children, it is SO nice to get fashionable clothes delivered to my door with little effort on my part!


Not familiar with Stitch Fix?  Here's how it works... 
You receive 5 items picked by a personal stylist based on a style profile you complete and Pinterest style board. You keep what you want and return the pieces you don't.  It is $20 to try it, but if you buy something they apply the $20 to your order. It is not a subscription service- you can schedule boxes whenever you want or you can sign up to get them automatically delivered monthly. If you want to try it (warning: you may become obsessed like me!), use my referral link and we will be best friends!

Check out my previous fixes!
GIVEAWAY!!
Since this is my 5th Stitch Fix and I am feeling fun, I am giving away a $20 Stitch Fix gift card!

11.17.2015

World Prematurity Day & Ryan's Birth Story

November 17 marks world Prematurity Day so I thought it was only fitting to share my late term preemie's birth story today.  This blog is a place to keep my thoughts and memories so I want to document the most important days of my life here.
February 26 was the first day of my maternity leave.  I was so excited to have a whole month off of work before my March 26 due date.  Nesting had not yet set in so I had big plans of cleaning, organizing, finding a newborn photographer and making last minute preparations for our little guy we would soon name Ryan Alexander.

I woke up that morning and decided to lay in bed since I had a month of relaxation ahead of me.  Ryan was a very active little boy in there so it was strange to me that he wasn't his active self.  Probably just sleeping, I told myself.  I laid on my side while watching the Today show and started to get a little nervous because Ryan ALWAYS bunched up on the other side when I did that.  I felt nothing.  I decided to go make myself a pregnant lady breakfast of pancakes with lots of sugary syrup and juice to get him moving.

After my feast, I returned to my bed to harass Ryan into moving around.  Still no movement.  I got out my home doppler that I hadn't used since the first tri and immediately found his heartbeat.  This made me feel better but I couldn't shake the feeling that something wasn't right.  I tried not to freak out but I am a worry wart and it consumed my thoughts.  I decided the only way to calm my nerves was to call my OB. I was put through to the midwife immediately and she told me to come right over to get monitored.

I got dressed and went to my appointment.  The midwife found the heartbeat right away and gave me a reassuring look.  It helped but not much. She hooked me up to some monitors and left the room.  I played around on my phone a bit then eavesdropped on the people in the room next to me.  I could hear the doppler then laughter. Maybe it's their first appointment, I thought.  It seemed like yesterday that I had my first appointment.  The midwife returned, interrupting my daydream and told me that they wanted to send me to the hospital for a Non-Stress Test to check on the baby.  As I was walking out of the office, I heard my favorite OB yell out of her office to the midwife "tell them to call me if they need me because I am on call today."  I debated turning around and asking if I should call my husband who was 2 hours away for work but I  didn't.  He was busy and I was being paranoid.  I should have turned around.

A non stress test is an ultrasound and monitoring test to measure how the baby is doing.  A nurse set me up and gave me a button to push every time I felt Ryan move. She left and told me to get comfy.  I sat and closed my eyes thinking about what I would get to eat after this appointment.   I gripped the button that I still had yet to press.  My thoughts of a Chipotle burrito were abruptly interrupted as the door burst open and my nurse ran past me to an oxygen tank in the far corner of the room.  I don't think I was prepared or expected my life to change in about 5 seconds.

A doctor approached me and said the words I will never forget "The baby is in extreme distress.  We are taking you up for a c-section right now."  I don't even think I responded because I was so in shock and as I am writing this almost 3 years later, my hands are trembling at the keyboard and I have tears in my eyes.  The nurse was in the corner fumbling with an oxygen tank mask for me as the doctor barked at her "Not now.  Leave it.  We don't have time".  She seemed so flustered as they helped me in the wheelchair that I really started to get freaked out.

The doctor himself ran me to the main part of the hospital while barking questions at me.  After the third "When was the last time you ate?" I realized that HE was panicking and I started to panic.  I called my husband and burst into tears as I said "I am at the hospital. Something is wrong with the baby.  They are bringing me up to do a c-section right now,"  Knowing that not only was my baby not doing well but I would have to go through whatever was about to happen alone was terrifying.

Once we arrived to Labor & Delivery, I was met by 15 people standing around until one announced "She's here!" and all hell broke loose.   Next thing I knew, I was having various nurses undress me, put an IV in, put an oxygen mask over my face, ask me questions, have me sign forms, etc. It was so chaotic. I started to cry and shake bc I was so scared.  A c-section had honestly never entered my mind as how I would give birth and I most certainly envisioned my husband being there.  I think this frantic text to my best friend sums up how I was feeling.
My OB arrived and they rushed me in for the c-section. It was surreal laying there and thinking that 6 hours ago, I thought I had a month to go before I became a mom.  I couldn't believe that all this was happening and as I closed my eyes tight through the pressure of the procedure, I just prayed that my little boy would be ok.  

Ryan was out in record time and I remember asking if he was ok and what was going on.  They kept telling me casually "oh, they're working on him."  I read later in the NICU report that he was unresponsive for the first 7 minutes and "them working on him" was actually them resuscitating my poor baby born blue and limp.  Thankfully, he pinked up and began to cry the tiniest cry I had ever heard. I was a mom!  As they rushed him off to the NICU, they brought him by me to see and give a kiss.  He was tiny, just 4lb 11oz, but perfect!

We learned after Ryan was born that the cord was wrapped very tightly twice around his neck, around his leg and entire body.  He was essentially being strangled inside and was not moving so he could conserve energy.  I am so incredibly thankful that I decided to not feel dumb calling my doctor and went in.  She said to me in the recovery room that I saved his life and if I had waited until the next day "the outcome would have been much different."

Here is our first picture together and the only picture taken the day Ryan was born.  We both look a bit of a mess but I treasure it because it captures the first time I laid eyes on one of the loves of my life!
So, there it is.  The story of the day my Ryan Alexander came into this world!  On World Prematurity Day, I feel blessed that we live in an age where doctors can identify problems and bring these little babies into the world safe and sound.  Although this was not the birth I ever envisioned or wanted, I can now cherish the story of his birthday because I am reminded how Ryan and I looked out for each other from the very beginning.  

I am the luckiest mom in the wold to have my energetic, loving 2.5 year old Ryan here today!

11.02.2015

A Mom's Halloween Reminder

I originally started this blog to document my new life as a stay at home mom.  I was excited yet nervous and wanted to make sure that I had something to look back on.  Somehow, it has morphed into this awesome project that lets me share things I do with my kids, for my home and sometimes for myself (ahem, Stitch Fix). Rarely do I post sentimental things or my feelings but I feel like I have to because I am still on cloud 9!
Halloween was yesterday.  Since Ryan is 2.5, I figured this may be my last chance to decide on a theme for him and Ava so a fireman and a dalmatian it was!  I found the cutest dalmation outfit and fireman raincoat on Amazon. Ryan was absolutely thrilled to put it on.  Not exactly.
As 2 year olds do, he pouted as I took obligatory pictures of the kids on the steps.  I got this adorable picture only because the mailman was walking by and I convinced Ry to show him his hat. Ava just looked perplexed as to why I was putting her in this ridiculous outfit.  It had ears!  I melt!
Apparently there is something about getting candy from random houses that entices 2 year olds to wear whatever for the cause.  Ryan donned his outfit and went sprinting to the first house.  My normally shy guy was saying trick or treat and thanking people for candy like it was no big deal.  After each house, he would excitedly bound towards my husband shouting some variation of "I said trick or treat!  I got candy!" as he took off toward his next house.  My heart melted just watching the sheer joy on his face.
Admittedly, for as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be at that next stage in life.  I always look for the light at the end of whatever craziness is going on at the moment because I am sure better things are ahead. 
However, possibly for the first time in my life, I am exactly where I want to be.  Seeing my child experience his first real trick or treat was something I will remember forever.  Sure there are tantrums, sleepless nights and lots of tears but Halloween was a reminder that all too soon, I won't have that excited little boy running toward me to show me a piece of candy.  Motherhood has done so many things for me but it has really caused me to realize that I need to enjoy every day because all too soon, these are the days I will miss.  

10.29.2015

Stitch Fix Unboxing #4- October 2015 2.0

Arriving home to that familiar box with the teal logo is an adult woman's version of Christmas Morning!  It means one thing...
October Stitch Fix day 2.0 is here!! After a somewhat disappointing fix earlier in the month where I only kept 2/5 pieces, I decided to schedule another fix for later in the month since I am trying to build my fall wardrobe. I mentioned in my note to the stylist that I was in search of a lightweight coat and casual tops that could be worn with leggings.  My new stylist, Lisa, delivered! 

I am so excited to share this fix with you because I am in love with a lot of what she sent! There are a couple things I am up in the air about so please comment below to let me know what you think. 

Let's start with the fun..

Kensie Mally Ponte Jacket- I was still in search of a lightweight coat after sending back the Coffeeshop coat from fix #3 and was nervous to request another because I am pretty picky.  Not only did Lisa give me a coat I like, she picked one that I love!  The asymetrical shape is probably something I would pass by in the store but that is what I love about Stitch Fix- it gets me out of my comfort zone!  The material is lightweight and so incredibly soft.  Within hours of trying it on, the tags were off and I wore it out!
Kensie Mally Ponte Jacket Stitch Fix October 2015

Kensie Mally Ponte Jacket Stitch Fix October 2015
 Verdict: Kept

41Hawthorn Helix Pullover Sweater- I absolutely LOVE this one!  I mentioned in my note to Lisa that I am always freezing so to please send warmer materials.  I tend to shy away from sweaters because they feel constricting to me but this one is perfect! The material is incredibly soft and I love that it has really long sleeves.  I don't think I would have picked the colors myself but they just work. I paired it with the Just Black Skinny Jeans from fix #3 that you all encouraged me to keep and I am now obsessed with! 
41Hawthorn Helix Pullover Sweater Stitch Fix October 2015
Verdict: Kept

Laila Jayde Emme Suede Neckline Knit Top- I am conflicted about this one.  I like the color and the length because it is perfect with leggings.  It is incredibly soft  and comfortable but I am unsure if it is entirely flattering in the front.  It is also pretty basic for the price and I have vowed to only keep pieces I love.  I took my stylist's suggestion and paired it with a scarf from Francesca's, LuLaRoe leggings and boots.  Isn't the butt coverage perfect for pairing with leggings?!
Laila Jayde Emme Suede Neckline Knit Top Stitch Fix October 2015

Laila Jayde Emme Suede Neckline Knit Top Stitch Fix October 2015
Verdict: Undecided (help me!)

41Hawthorn Abrianna Longsleeve Knit Cardigan- My style profile mentions that I like layering so I was excited when Lisa sent this cardigan.  The color is vibrant and it is really soft.  Although it is long and open, it has some shape to it at the waist, which I love. 
41Hawthorn Abrianna Longsleeve Knit Cardigan Stitch Fix October 2015
Verdict: Kept

Market & Spruce Bernadette Lace Overlay Raglan Top- Although I didn't keep the lace back Papermoon top from Fix #2, I noted that I loved the lace detail in my checkout feedback so I was excited to receive another lace piece.  It is long in the back, which I love and despite the structured lace front, the fabric is really soft.  I like this top but I am just not sure if I love it.  I do not usually wear blue or navy since I pretty much live in black leggings.  Decisions, decisions...
41Hawthorn Abrianna Longsleeve Knit  Cardigan Stitch Fix October 2014
Verdict: Undecided (Help me!)

What do you think?!  It is a love 3/5 but I am not sure if I should keep the other 2.  Please comment below and let me know your opinions!  
Not familiar with Stitch Fix?  Here's how it works... 
You receive 5 items picked by a personal stylist based on a style profile you complete and Pinterest style board. You keep what you want and return the pieces you don't.  It is $20 to try it, but if you buy something they apply the $20 to your order. It is not a subscription service- you can schedule boxes whenever you want or you can sign up to get them automatically delivered monthly. If you want to try it (warning: you may become obsessed like me!), use my referral link and we will be best friends! 

Before I end, how cute was my photoshoot assistant?! :)

I am participating in a Stitch Fix blog link up!  Go read Maria's blog to see more of the Stitch Fix Link up


10.28.2015

Our Teal Pumpkin for Halloween 2015


This year was the first I had ever heard of the Teal Pumpkin Project thanks to Facebook.  We have decided to do a teal pumpkin for Halloween this year and provide a non-food option that is safe for all our trick or treaters!

What is the Teal Pumpkin Project?

FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project™ promotes safety, inclusion and respect of individuals managing food allergies. This nationwide movement offers an alternative for kids with food allergies, as well as other children for whom candy is not an option, and keeps Halloween a fun, positive experience for all! (taken from http://www.foodallergy.org/

How do you help?
Homes provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters and paint a pumpkin teal to place in front of your home, along with a free printable sign from FARE, to indicate you have non-food treats available.

We had lots of fun painting our pumpkin and plan on giving out glow sticks to trick or treaters in addition to the Kit Kats I bought (and have eaten half of already).  Consider participating this year!  You can get the glow sticks I bought on Amazon here.

Want to learn more?
I participate in a breastfeeding support group and another mother has a child with numerous allergies.  She has created a blog to offer a place of support, education and resources about food allergies.  Please visit and like her page to show support! https://www.facebook.com/smilingawayfoodallergies 

10.27.2015

Toddler Activity: Wine Cork Tree

I love being a mom and I also love wine!  So when Pinterest bought me a craft that kind of combined the two, I was all about it.  This project looked simple enough and really pretty in the picture but with a 2 year old, I knew that I wasn't going to make a perfect tree with perfect wine cork leaves.  The goal was to have fun and that we did!

Here is what you need:

  • White paper
  • Brown crayon
  • Paint (I just used red, yellow and mixed them to make an orange)
  • 3 wine corks













It is super easy to make about 3 steps!

1. Draw the tree.  I did it myself but if your child is older, they could do it.

2. Set out 3 colors with separate wine corks for dipping

3. Dip cork in paint and make a print on the tree to make the leaves.  Repeat until it is as full as you want!

4. Let dry and enjoy!  Sure, it isn't perfect but it was a different and fun activity...and it gave me a reason to drink wine.  It was for the art project!


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