Friday Favorites

The weather is finally giving us teases of fall in So Cal and for some reason, fall brings out my desire for cooking and baking! I’m sharing a few of my recent favorites this week!

Pizza Night

This isn’t really a recipe, it’s pretty much just already made for you items put together to make something yummy! If you haven’t tried the pizza dough from Trader Joe’s, you’re missing out! Already made dough in the refridgerated section makes it super easy to roll out and add toppings. We love the herb crust, and I got the plain one for the girls. I grabbed the container of pizza sauce, some shredded mozzerella, pepperoni, canadian bacon, tomatoes, basil, and the frozen pineapple tidbits and voila! Pizza night!

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Spooky Chocolate Chip Cookies

A festive treat that everyone loves are these spider chocolate chip cookies! They are basic cookies with a few details added to make them spooky. Melted chocolate chips in a ziplock bag (tip: use a freezer bag so it is a little thicker. I started with a basic sandwich baggy and the seam popped!) make it easy to pipe on legs to the chips to make them look like spiders.

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Bone Broth

There is nothing like a hot bowl of soup in the fall and winter months! This year, I’ve been so inspired by Teri from No Crumbs Left and Alex from The Defined Dish  I made my first batch of bone broth. You can check out Teri and Alex’s blog posts for all of the benefits to your health and differences between regular broth and bone broth, but I can tell you my house smelled AMAZING all day and it just elevated the taste of my chicken noodle soup! As I used whole roasted chickens from the market or we bbq’d or baked chicken, I was freezing the bones.  I saved carrot peels and tops and the bottoms and tops of celery, too! When I was ready, I added it all plus a halved onion, some whole peppercorns and a splash of apple cider vinegar to a stock pot and filled it with water until it was all just covered. I brought it to a boil and then lowered to a simmer for 12 hours! Teri and Alex sometimes do their’s for 24 hours, but I wanted to use mine for dinner that night. If you want more cooking inspiration, I linked their Instagram accounts. They cook mostly Whole30/Paleo but do incorporate some non-compliant foods. They make eating healthy look DELICIOUS!

Pasta Salad

This may seem like a summer side, but here in So Cal, its sweater weather in the morning and pool weather by the afternoon. Clearly the weather can’t make up it’s mind, and I can’t either. A super easy but delicious way to get in some veggies and impress your friends at a bbq – this pasta salad will please them all with chunks of cheese and spiral noodles!

  • box of pasta, cooked according to directions and rinsed under cool water
  • cherry tomatoes, halved (1) 
  • English cucumber, diced (1)
  • bell peppers, diced (2)
  • broccoli, cut into bit sized pieces (1 small head)
  • Colby jack cheese, diced (1/2 small block)
  • Italian dressing, made per the directions on the seasoning packet (I do extra red wine vinegar and less oil)

Toss it all together and chill until serve time. I found that some extra dressing was perfect for guests to add if they preferred.

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Hope you found some inspiration for cooking this weekend!

Have a great Friday!

Whitney

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The Last 90 Days

Life lately can only be described as a transition period.  Transition to Autumn, transitioning to a new pre-school year, transitioning to life without naps for my oldest, and transitioning my mind set to want MORE! More joy, more intention, more patience, more love, and a more healthful way of living. Usually the beginning of a year is what ignites a motivation for change, but for the past two years I’ve looked to Rachel Hollis instead of the calendar! If you don’t know @msrachelhollis, you’ve gotta look her up! A lifestyle website, New York Times Bestselling book, and never ending motivation via the RISE and RISE Together Podcasts. Not to mention live events that help you reach for personal growth. I’ve followed her for a couple of years and I can just feel that now is the time I follow through to do the work.

|Photos from the RISE Conference in LA, April 2018|

The Last 90 Days is an idea that instead of letting yourself steadily decline and slip up in the way you’re living for the last few months of the year (cough. I see you holiday treats. cough.), you use it to kickstart the “new year mentality”.

What if you committed to living your last 90 days of this year as hard as you are committing to live the first 30 days of the new year? What if, instead of a downhill slide into 2019, you are ramping up?!” – Rachel Hollis

Rachel has created somewhat of a challenge you can sign up to be apart of to receive motivating emails and be apart of a community to keep you accountable. She challenges you to participate in the “Five to Thrive”.

  1. Get up one hour earlier (or carve out any hour that works in your day) and use that time for yourself
  2. Workout for at least 30 minutes each day
  3. Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day
  4. Give up one category of food you KNOW you shouldn’t be consuming
  5. Write down 10 things each day that you’re grateful for

Some things that I am looking forward to? Having an hour to myself to drink coffee, intentionally plan my day, and work on my blog. Enjoying exercise again. I used to love the feeling of a good workout. Getting back into it takes some push, but I know I’ll start to live for those endorphins again! Living my day looking for gratitude! If I know at the end of the day I’m going to write down what I’ve been grateful for, I’ll be looking for positivity throughout my day!

What doesn’t sound so exciting? Giving up a category of food. This. This is for some reason, the most difficult for me to have self control over. But just like Rachel so often says, once I decide on what I’m giving up – I have to keep that promise to myself! I am worth it. You are worth it. WE are worth it!

What is something you’ve thought about that you’re going to do at the New Year? What if you started now?! Think of what you can accomplish in 3 months! Join the challenge, it  starts in October. Follow along with me so we can support one another!

Here’s to the #last90days

Whitney

Five on Friday

Happy Friday! I am joining April, Christina, and Natasha for their 5 on Friday link up!

one | I was able to take both girls solo to their own field trips to the pumpkin patch last week and it was so fun to have some one on one time with each of them! We love Underwood Family Farms at any time in the year, but the Fall Festival is super fun!

two | I attempted using my InstantPot again and was pleasantly surprised! I love to make shredded bbq chicken sandwiches using my CrockPot, but once again I forgot to start it at nap time and 4:30 rolled around and I panicked. InstantPot for the win! I found this recipe off of Pinterest and modified it a bit because I didn’t have potatoes. But it was great and we were eating within 40 min of starting the process! I typically show you what I am up to at dinner time over on InstaStories!

three | We went camping a couple weekends ago and I attempted to make my first Michelada. I did a sad job and I didn’t love it. Literally half a little can of Clamato, topped with Corona and a shake of Tajin. I’ve been searching for some good recipes and found a few on Pinterest, so I’ll have to update when I try again! But doesn’t this look so yummy?! Excited to try this one!

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four | Fall Bucket List update: we went camping! We also went to the pumpkin patch, but since I took the girls individually I’ll wait till we go as a family to cross it off our list. The girls are getting to a different stage now since I originally wrote about camping with babies…definitely going to need to update it to camping with toddlers!

five| The girls had picture day at school this week and it was just adorable. Moments like that make me stop and enjoy this stage in their life because I know they are going to quickly move on and grow! We had a little practice photo shoot before we left for school. And how cute are Aubrey and Jacob?! In class together since they were about 6 months old…I just love them!

Happy Friday!

xoxo

Whitney

Be sure to catch April, Christina, and Natasha!

as well as Erika, Narci and Andrea

Friday Favorites

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Big Girl Room Design

How my first baby is ready for a big girl room is beyond me! Time is a thief but as much as I’d like to keep her little forever, I think she is ready for this step.  She is creating her own opinions and growing up to be such a strong, loving, yet stubborn girl.  Daily I find myself treading between “cultivate her leadership skills” and “this girl is going to drive me to the crazy house” – but that is whole other blog post!

(A photo collage is necessary, obviously because this milestone calls for some serious reminiscing!)

For now, let’s stick to the easy stuff! Designing a space is so much fun! We are keeping the overall feel of her room the same – neutrals with pink accents and lots of unicorns – just updating! We got a rocking unicorn from Pottery Barn as well as a couple matching stuffed animals from her baby shower and she has grown to LOVE her “uni’s”.

We love the Jenny Lind crib that both of the girls have and I was so excited to see that there was a matching twin bed. I wasn’t so excited about the price though! After a little searching, I found a Jenny Lind option from Walmart. How exciting, right?! And a much better price point.

big girl room design

After the bed, I was searching for bedding and ultimately Target was the place! The Pillowfort collection was perfect for style and price and even outside of the Pillowfort collection, the comforter was very reasonable! I know the pillows and comforter will end up on the floor or touched with sticky hands and I couldn’t bring myself to make the investment from Pottery Barn or Land of Nod, unfortunately! The best part is that they have had a unicorn head to mount to the wall that I’ve had my eye on for months! This flower is the perfect shade of pink and I just know Aubrey will be obsessed with the ballerina doll! The crown pillow is the perfect princess accent and I cannot wait to create a little reading/hang out nook with the canopy! The ruffly comforter is the perfect girly touch along with the metallic heart sheets that match the canopy!

We’ve had some wall decor waiting to hang since we’ve remodeled, so I cannot wait to get it all situated! I’ll definitely share the ‘after’ pictures once we’ve got it set up!

That was the easy part – now I just have to figure out how to make the transition to a bed from her crib! Any tips?

Happy humpday! May the rest of your week be a good one!

xoxo

Whitney

 

Harvest Crush

Something I should have added to my Fall Bucket List: Grape Smashing!  The Stonehaus is a local winery in our area and has such a fun atmosphere. From date night to a girls lunch, you can go casual or dress up and I always have a fun time.

My friend Sharon, from Mama Chit Chat found an event they were hosting and we knew it would be the perfect girls afternoon! Wine tasting, grape harvesting, and stomping them like Lucy?! I’m in!

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I bought this dress months ago and was super excited to wear it. Unfortunately it was my first Knox Rose (at Target) purchase and I didn’t realize how big their items run! I bought my typical size and took the tags off without even trying it on – rookie maneuver, I know. Although it was a little potato sack-like, I still decided to wear it! Since I bought it so long ago, I couldn’t find it in this color online (there is black!!) but I found some adorable options! I just love this brand!

similar color | black version | chambray with bell sleeves | shoes

 

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Harvesting was first…although I’m not sure who’s idea it was to give a bunch of wine tasters those sharp cutters 😉 We filled our bucket in no time and quickly headed to the smashing station.

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We all dumped our buckets and tried our best not to slip onto our butts while we smashed, laughed, and smashed some more.

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So grateful for some “mama time” with one of my faves and an experience that I’ll sure remember! Also grateful that Sharon and I like each other enough to not end up like Lucy during her grape stomping experience, haha!

xoxo

Whitney

Color Inspiration | October 2017

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Black is so classic. It’s neutral, it’s strong, it’s bold, it’s clean, and it’s slimming! What’s not to love? Whether your wardrobe consists of mostly black, you love the rich look of a black car, or you’re just in the Halloween sprit – I think it is safe to say black may be the most popular color overall. Sharon from Mama Chit Chat and I are hosting our monthly link up to share what is inspiring us this month – B L A C K. Grab the graphic below and share what’s inspiring you by using the link tool!

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black manicure. I used to think black was too bold for my nails, or that it was only for rock n’ roll chicks. Now when fall rolls around, I see October as the perfect excuse for a moody mani! You?

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black tank. I could probably wear some version of a black tank, tee, or long sleeve everyday if I let myself. It’s easy, goes with pretty much any bottom, and typically always flattering. The tassels on this tank give it something a little extra and I think helps transition from summer to our Southern California “fall”. I couldn’t find this one online (I got it at Old Navy in the middle of summer) but this one is super cute with the lace detail!

p.s. I was wearing this same tank at the pumpkin patch too!

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black sandals. I think I mentioned these in a past Five on Friday post and I still love them! They’re easy to slip on, comfortable, and still look like a step up from just your average flip flop.

Rainstone

black diffuser. I cannot wait to set this up in our soon to be industrial farm inspired office! I’ve had my eye on the Rainstone diffuser since I started with Young Living and I can’t believe I actually own it!

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black bike. I am so excited to finally have a beach cruiser! I am looking forward to just riding around the neighborhood, to our sisters’ houses, and especially to bring it camping. We’ve been wanting to be able to ride the kids around and explore when we go places so I cannot wait to test it out! The girls loved being pulled around in the trailer the other day, so I hope that lasts!

Have a wonderful October and hope you found some inspiration in all of my B L A C K things! Grab the graphic below and link up with us (open for a week)! We’d love to read and support one another! If you’ve missed past months, you can catch up here:

August | September

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

xoxo

Whitney

Life’s Essentials | Newborn Favorites

Although its been a minute since I’ve had a newborn in the house, I’m currently going through a purging phase. I have SO MUCH STUFF I’ve hidden away, or that was stored after Aubrey grew out of it and then brought back out for Blake.  Blake is now on to toddlerhood (cue the proud Mama/yet wants to keep her a baby forever tears) and it’s time to pass along the baby items. I did a couple posts a long time ago about the key things we registered for with Aubrey and our newborn faves, but now that I’ve gone through it twice, I’d love to share another perspective!

 

Newborn Favorites

 

When I was registering and looking for baby gear during my first pregnancy, I felt like I was focusing on what was new, trendy, and looked nice. Looking back, there was a few things that really ended up being worth it – but for the most part, just because its new or fancy does not mean functional! By baby #2, function wins every time!
Diaper bag | a backpack style diaper bag is just so helpful! Carrying a shoulder bag, and an infant car seat, and probably and bag or two of groceries is just a set up for disaster. My bag was constantly falling off my shoulder. I felt like I was always leaning to one side to keep it up which made carrying an awkward newborn even more uncomfortable! I invested in a Skip Hop backpack when I was pregnant with our second and I’ll never go back! Super comfortable and frees up your hands for the other 10 million things you need to carry! There are so many cute options now too!
Things for baby to go in | Lets face it, most of the time babies want to be held. But when you do get that time they’ll sleep or hang out somewhere else besides in your arms, you need somewhere to put them! We had quite a few “things for our babies to go in”, but we had the best luck with the Rock n’ Play for napping or just hanging out when they were little little! As for bed time, I loved the Halo Bassinest. I could adjust it so they were the perfect height for me to see them even while I was laying in bed! I could swivel it over when I needed to get them out, and even rock it a bit if they were fussing.
Carriers | For the times they don’t want to be put down (basically always) baby carriers saved me – especially with my second! I found that the Baby K’tan had the feeling of a wrap, but was super simple to use and I loved it when Blake was a newborn!! Once she got big enough to support herself a little better, I moved into my Beco Gemini and haven’t looked back (we are still using it at 14 months)!
Nursing | I literally felt like I was nursing the majority of the hours of my day. Along with a good Netflix series, a super long phone charger cable, and plenty of snacks I recommend a water bottle you love and an awesome nursing pillow. I tried a few, but the My Breast Friend Pillow was always the sturdiest and most helpful for me! I also loved the little pocket on the front to store my phone/water/snacks when I would get up and move.
Sleeping | Sleep is like a four letter word for my babies, but if I did have any luck it was because of swaddling and sound. We still use these sound machines to this day anywhere that they’re napping! And the Halo Sleepsack Swaddles have always been our favorites! Once they grew out of wanting to be swaddled we used the sacks without the velcro arms. Perfect to act as a blanket for them!
Newborns don’t need much – but these items definitely saved us during those crazy weeks of feeling like a mombie.  I wish you luck with your new babe if you’ve got one on the way!!
xoxo
Whitney