Friday Favorites: Aqua-holic

In a past Friday Favorites post I talked about how turquoise is my favorite color. Aqua is a soft, yet vibrant, shade of turquoise that I equally am drawn to. I have this sweet friend who sent this cup to me a couple of weeks ago. Aqua-holic!?!? You mean to tell me that there are more of me? I just giggled with delight when I opened up the mail. I sat down to drink some coffee and realized, I am a true aqua-holic! This cup. This journal. This planner. It’s me! It probably stems from my love of the ocean and the colors that flow in the sea. Find what you love and douse yourself in it!

Friday Favorites: Joy Hangers

Slowly as I have moved my adult plastic hangers down to Stella’s closet I have purchased the Joy Hangers. They are flat and have a non slip fabric adhered to them. These two factors are perfect for my itty bitty closet and to keep the shoulders/sleeves from stretching out of shape. My Type A personality is loving how cohesive the closet is looking too *my heart smiles*

If you are looking to give your closet a new look I highly recommend checking these out!

Happiness Review: Buy Some Happiness

Money is a tough subject for many. I am not a saver. I wish I was better. I am not horrible. I have learned a lot and have come a long way from the Express/GAP/The Limited credit card days back in college. I paid them off and closed them up a few years into college as I quickly realized that it was better that way. I will tell you though, those clothes made me happy. Good quality clothes make me happy. They last a long time. I had work pants (and still have one pair) that were 10 years old.

I am a firm believer that you can happiness…to an extent. One has to be relatively happy with life otherwise the bought happiness is going to be short lived.

Here are a few splurges that have made me happy in the past:

1. My old Honda. It was extremely reliable and I hardly had to pay for maintenance on it.

2. My Apple products. I have had two iPods and used them all of the time. It is just in the past 6 months that I do not use my most current one. My new iPhone now has enough storage to listen to so much of my music. It is more convenient. I will tell you, I am an iPhone girl, sorry other great products out there. iPhone just has it made with its simplicity and easy to use products.

3. Nickel and Suede earrings. The colors and comfort bring me joy. I have been wearing them for three years and can’t imagine the day they may go out of style. I continue to get compliments on them almost on a daily basis.

4. My book collection. Walking around Barnes and Noble makes me relaxed, excited about the stories I have access to and the learning ahead of me.

For the month of July I was extra cautious of where our money went. It was difficult at the end to see where it went as we had bought the majority of the clothes and supplies the kids needed for school, oh my, that adds up. I don’t know how families do it when they do not have the “hand me downs” we have been blessed with. I know we appreciate it and we pass along what is still in good condition onto others as well.

Gretchen Rubin laid out the month as the following:

Indulge in a modest splurge

Buy needful things

Spend out

Give something up

My modest splurge was one that I do 2-3 times a year. I stock up on Young Living Essential Oils that I use often. Deep Relief we realized works well on mosquito bites. We started to go through that one like crazy. It is one I leave in my purse at all times for my tension headaches. I finally was able to get Peace and Calming back into my hands and the Valor roller ball. I have never had Valor. Let me tell you, for the bit of anxious feeling I have each morning getting ready for the day, it has helped immensely.

As I took my weekly trips to Target for groceries and other needed items I steered clear of the woman’s clearance section. This helped me be mindful of only buying needed things and I would say that this was the “give something up item” she challenged me with too. It is too easy to see that yellow sale sticker and throw it in the cart. Now, I did not give that up for the girls. As seasons change I constantly comb through their section in preparation for the next year. I think I will continue to challenge myself to walk left instead of right when I enter into Target. This will help me bypass the cheap but stylish clothes they have merchandised to catch my eye.

She talked of spending out. This was basically telling us to not hold on to things for the “perfect” day. Use things, they will bring you joy, or else they just bring you clutter. I would say I am fairly good at this task anyways. Maybe not in regards to cute cards I find and hold onto until I need to send that special person a little note.

It was a good month. I continue to enjoy each month’s challenge! Check out the blog for other posts that talk about past month’s happiness challenges.

Friday Favorites: The Magic of Motherhood

I will soon be adding this to my list of books I have read in 2018. I am half ways done and feel I need to add this as one of my Friday Favorites. I picked his book up a couple of months ago and just started to read it a week ago. In the introduction of The Magic of Motherhood Ashlee Gadd says “this is the book I wish I had received as a new mother”. I agree 100%. I am not certain I will have a lot of friends become first time moms from here on out. If I do though, this will be the gift I present to them. I have laughed, I have cried, I have said “oh my goodness, me too”. After having both children breakdown tonight by 6:45, I felt exhausted and like I have failed at raising well behaved kids. Now, I know better. They are well behaved kids. I have not failed. They were the ones exhausted. This book makes me feel human. It makes me feel like there is magic in this world of being a mom.

Real Life Dinners: Cookbook Review

I have been waiting to write a review of this cookbook until I was able to test a handful of the recipes out. It is not often that I find a recipe book that was not worth the money, but before I say “go out and buy this book” I want to make sure it is a good one! Well, now i can say, “go buy Rachel Hollis’ REAL LIFE DINNERS”. I have tested out five recipes so far and they have been all “oh my gosh, this is great” tasty. I wrote about one in the 4th of July meal recommendations post, Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork.

A few weeks ago when I was feeding four men I had to come up with something good. After all, they were helping roof our house on a super hot and sunny day. With it being so hot, I am not sure what drew me to Rachel’s Tortellini Minestrone (recipe is found here on her website), but that is where I went. I served it with her Italian Chopped Salad. The salad hardly got touched as they went back for seconds of the minestrone. I half ways felt bad I was serving soup in June, but then I was reading the blurb Rachel wrote about the minestrone recipe and she said she makes it no matter the season. *smile, I did ok*. And hey, they hardly left any for leftovers! The Italian Chopped Salad didn’t go to waste, T and I ate that for three days! I was afraid since I added the dressing to the whole salad that it would get soggy and not taste good, but it got better with age! It is another recipe I will make again, but probably when we have more mouths to feed or when we strictly eat it as a meal by itself. The pistachios truly made it.

Hang tight, I know this post is getting long, but I have to rave about two more recipes! I made the Jalapeño Mashed Potatoes. Who knew the pairing of Basil and Jalapeño could be so dreamy?!?!? Dreamy and Creamy is how Mashed Potatoes should be, this is such a great pairing to grilled chicken and corn on the cob. My father-in-law had me send the recipe to my mother-in-law it was that good.

Last but not least (for now) was her take on the BLT. As she talks about it, you can add avocado to the classic summer sandwich for a slight twist (hello, summer fresh tomatoes). Rachel calls her take on it the BLATE (bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato, egg), and let’s not forget the pesto she adds to it. Her BLATE is listed under the chapter “breakfast for dinner”. Let’s just say, T is planning on having this sandwich for breakfast this morning and we may be making this for our company to have for breakfast this weekend. I can’t wait! It was mouthwatering and making me moan, good.

Have I said enough? Have I persuaded you to run to Barnes and Noble or Target to get the book? Both stores have it! Run. Run now. Start to run the calories off because you won’t want to stop eating her yummy recipes!

Here is how we made ours last night as we didn’t quite have all the ingredients needed to make it.

Avocado/Pesto

In high speed blender blend the following ingredients:

1 avocado

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 t salt

1/4 t pepper

1/4 pine nuts

1 clove garlic

1/4 Parmesan cheese

2 T dried basil

We use English muffin toast when we make BLT’s. On one slice add mayo, the other add the pesto. We then used bacon, fresh tomatoes/lettuce and one over- easy egg. We skipped out on the red onion as I am just not a fan.

Enjoy!

Every Day: book review

I may be 36, but I still like a YA novel. Every Day by David Levitham was an interesting take on a 16 year old trapped in other 16 year olds bodies. How sad that he falls in love with a girl yet is not “allowed” to follow his heart and truly be with her. I look forward to reading the sequel, Another Day.

Follow the list of books I have read thus far in 2018, click here.

Smart, Sassy & Six

We celebrated Stella’s 6th birthday yesterday, and my 36th. Yes, we get to celebrate our birthdays together. We spent the morning putting together her new LEGO set. It is rewarding for me to watch her brain work and follow the directions. We make them per the directions once or twice and then I get to see her imaginative side take over and create something of her own. While the girls went down for an early nap T accompanied me to Barnes & Noble. He is not a shopper nor is he much of a reader of books. He researches and reads things online, but it was out of his norm to tag along with me. I found two books on sale, sales are not my norm so this alone was a happy moment, and then I bought a new journal. A journal that gives writing direction as opposed to a blank one. Once the girls woke up we attended a family wedding reception. Another joy to see T’s cousin’s kids run around and play together. It was a long day for a new six year old. She lit up whenever someone found out it was her birthday. Great Aunts chatter her up and her animated stories flew. I went to tuck her into bed last night and she burst into tears. She does this when she leaves people that she gets to have around, family and friends, babysitters and teachers. She clung onto my arm and didn’t want me to leave. Tears came to my eyes. Six years ago she was having a hard time presenting herself to the world, clinging to my insides, this night, she clung to me just a little differently. My cup runneth over. I took my glasses off and laid down beside her careful not to let her hear the happy sobs wanting to burst inside of me. Within two minutes she was in a deep sleep. I escaped from her room and twenty minutes later I was in a deep sleep of my own.

Our star, our Stella, emerged out of her shell this year. She is my Gemini, my mini-me, my twin. I love her to pieces. She is observant, kind, creative and artistic, a reader, a helper. We are blessed with her voice. Happy Birthday sweet Stella!

Party Girl: Book Review

This girl has been fighting off a cold or allergies for the past week or two. Friday it was apparent I needed some R&R this weekend to move past it. I have been a bit MIA from my love of reading lately and needed a chick lit book to get me back in the groove. I finally picked up this gem of a book and devoured it in two days.

See, a few months ago I was roaming through the world of Instagram and happened upon Rachel Hollis’ book, Girl, Wash your Face. I had never heard of this writer before. I ordered the book on a whim, read it in no time and loved her from the start (see blog post for why). I loved how she talked about the trials of writing the book and getting it published. Not that I wish trials on anyone, but it shows that she is human and that things take work and dedication.

This morning I used my Memorial Day Barnes and Noble added discount to purchase the two books that follow Party Girl. I can’t wait to dig deeper into the characters she has brought to life.

As for Party Girl…it is exactly what I expected after reading the description in Girl, Wash your Face. I have to admit though, I kept seeing Landon Brinkley as Rachel Hollis, not a long blonde haired character. I could hear Landon speak as Rachel speaks on her podcast, Dais. A voice of genuine friendliness and fun. It was a different take on the high rolling life some live in LA.

Pick up this book if you want to giggle, feel inspired to take a leap of faith and invite some new girlfriends into your world.

Oh, and just one more reason why I love this book. Check out this page. Rachel Hollis, I love how you incorporated Edward and Bella into this book. *smile* I am a dork. The first Twilight movie is still my favorite, bad acting/low budget and all.

Click here to see the books I have read this year.

Friday Favorites: Snail Mail Surprises

I have a couple of friends that love snail mail as much as I do, giving and receiving. Occasionally we send each other a little something something. When I am out and about it is my favorite thing finding a treasure that makes me think of a family member or friend. It is not the easiest thing for me to get it to the post office, but it will get there *smile* my friend, Melissa, sent me these note cards from Tiny Prints with artist Stina Persson. The print is of a woman that has amazing earrings. Melissa and have a “thing” for Nickel and Suede earrings. It’s a connection we have, in addition to many others! Thanks to this wonderful gesture, I have found a new artist to love!

Love Wins

We are in a time where we need constant reminders that Love Wins. This seems like it should be common sense, but why is it not? I believe that there are still more good people in the world than bad, but why is it that our kids have to learn ALICE training? Why is it that we have to worry about our kids’ safety at school of all places? It broke my heart to hear about the school shooting in TX. I was fortunate to spend the day with my daughter’s class on a field trip last week. Such innocence ran around the farmstead we visited. They are well aware of what to do if a bad person comes into their school. They know they are to throw any object at the bad guy and they know to take direction from the teachers that hopefully can protect them. To write this forces me to vision my kids in these situations and it causes instant anxiety, broken breathing and tears to form. This world has become a very scary place. We need to come together and end the violence. We need kids to have boundaries. The small troubled fish need to be stopped in their actions before they become big fish that are out of control. Innocent kids are being killed and being threatened in this great world we live in.

The shooting, in my opinion, was a bit overshadowed by the Royal Wedding. Don’t get me wrong, who doesn’t love a prince getting married, especially one as good looking and kind as Prince Harry? The sermon that was given at the wedding by Rev. Michael Curry was incredible. It spoke to me on so many levels. I pray that we continue to love. Again, Love Wins!

Words that won me over:

“We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love” … “And when we discover that, we will be able to make of this old world a new world”

“Imagine our governments and countries when love is the way”… “Imagine business and commerce when this love is the way … No child would go to bed hungry in such a world as that. Poverty would become history in such a world as that.”

Maybe Rev. Michael Curry didn’t intend to discuss love in the way he did at the Royal Wedding, but he had a large audience listening to him. Harry and Meghan seem to be very dedicated to making the world right again through love. It was a fitting sermon for them to hear along with those that tuned in. MAY LOVE CONQUER ALL.

Shirt: Old Navy