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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

You Sit On a Throne of Lies :: Easter Edition

If you follow me on Facebook, this is old news, but it is too crazy not to share.  Yesterday afternoon around 4:30 I took Jack to see the Easter Bunny at our local mall...nice suburban mall.  It was daylight and early and I was excited to beat the bunny crowds on the weekend.  

Jack loved meeting the Easter Bunny giving him lots of high fives until it was time to actually sit on his lap.  Then it was tear city.  That's okay, it was quick and painless, we paid and went on our way.  I loaded Jack up in his stroller, did a quick trip to Bath & Body Works which is just a few feet away from the Easter Bunny and as we were walking out we stopped one more time to wave goodbye to the bunny.  

That's when we start seeing people running to all of the exits.  At first I just saw one family running out and thought they were just being silly.  That was until the dad looked at me with a crying kid slung over his shoulder and said, MOVE IT - HE HAS A GUN!

I pushed that stroller so fast and ran in my heels faster than I've ever run before.  Luckily we weren't far from the exit we needed to get right to our car.  Even once we were in the parking lot, I wanted to get as far away from the mall as possible just in case they came running out the same exit.  I've never thrown the stroller in the car so fast or buckled Jack in his seat so swiftly.  I'm proud of myself for staying calm though - I don't think Jack even noticed anything weird was going on. But I am kinda ticked at the people in the car next to me just watching as I frantically got everything in.  They knew what was going on, but seemed to be enjoying the show. 

By the time we were driving away, cops were just starting to pull up to the mall.  According the news, it was a two man "smash and grab."  They both had on masks and one had a gun.  No shots were fired and no one was hurt.  I think they got away too.  

The jewelry store that was hit was just across the aisle from where the Easter Bunny was setup.  I could have easily walked in that direction with Jack and almost did when I remembered that I needed to stop at Macy's for some beauty products.  Thank God I was too lazy!  We would have been even closer if I would have made that choice.  

I know you shouldn't live in fear, but I've decided to stay away from the malls when I'm by myself with Jack.  The scariest part of the whole ordeal was that Jack was with me.  All I wanted to do was get him to safety.  There have been too many crazies out there who don't care that it's daylight and there are tons of people around.

At least we are left with some gorgeous pictures of Jack with the Easter Bunny (sarcasm)...

Very reminiscent of our Christmas Edition!

And I promise I wasn't trying to torture my son!  He loved seeing the Easter Bunny last is proof!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring Has Sprung

Happy Monday!  Who else is enjoying this weather lately?  We spent the majority of the weekend outside and all loved it.  I'm excited to get our yard looking pretty again.

About two weeks ago we took Jack for some "Easter photos" with Amanda of Mommas Gonna Snap {same photographer who took the recent Houston Moms Blog Headshots}.  We love Amanda and she works great with Jack who happened to be super cranky that day for pictures.

I was about to throw in the towel, but Amanda just knew it would happen and patiently kept trying different things until voila!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Five on Friday :: A Rant and a List

TGIF!  Those four letters always make me think about the Friday night lineup on ABC when I was younger with Full House, Family Matters and Step by Step.  Our parents would let us have "picnic night" and eat pizza on a picnic blanket in the living room.  The best!

I had a post go live on Houston Moms Blog yesterday about what NOT to register for.  I thought it would be a fun take on this topic since there are so many "Must-Have" registry lists out there.  I put a disclaimer in the post that this list is totally subjective and is just what worked for us and my one child, but oh boy did it stir up controversy!  I had hoped that people would chime in on what worked and didn't for them simply to give other perspectives and hopefully help new mom's struggling with their own registry lists.  Yes they did. 

Who knew there was a mommy war out there that I was blind to: Wipes Warmer vs. No Wipes Warmer.  Whoa!  People are passionate about this topic.  Other hot disagreements included the Bumbo and including nursing products on your registry.

The nursing product debate got my blood boiling the most {and apparently} most readers, but I'm afraid my point was lost because when people hear someone take a stance on nursing they suddenly draw up their defenses. 

Let me be clear.  I am pro-nursing.  I breast fed my son for over a year.  I used every nursing product on the market and love them all.  No one should be embarrassed about breastfeeding.  It is natural and awesome and amazing.  My point in the whole "not including nursing items on your registry" was just to proceed with caution in adding these items {think nipple cream, bras, nipple shields} thinking of who will be viewing your list, gifting you items and watching you open said items at a shower.  It might be easier for you to just purchase these items yourself. 

Am I the only one who doesn't want my coworkers {mostly males} and father thinking about my boobs and nipples?  Apparently based on the feedback I got yesterday, I am.  I had work showers and a couples shower and was not comfortable with these items being viewed by said people.  But my opinion is to always do what makes YOU comfortable.  This was merely a suggestion.

The worst comment I received yesterday on Facebook said that "I was part of the problem" when it comes to normalizing breast feeding.  Ouch.

I wish people would have read my post on Breastfeeding in the Workplace or Nursing and Pumping on the Go {my very first post for HMB}.  

I know in the blogging world you need to have thick skin, but it's something I clearly need to work on.  I generally am able to stay strong in my opinions and what I put out there.  It's just frustrating when your point is totally misheard.  If you want some entertainment, feel free to read the comments on the HMB Facebook page


And onto my Five on Friday!  I'm just listing five things I'm looking forward to this weekend since I already talked your ear off ::

1 - Date Night with my husband Saturday night...hello child free meal!
2 - Couch time this evening and some relaxation
3 - Pulling together Jack's invites for his 2nd birthday party...Oh Two-dles, it's Mickey themed!
4 - Making Jason a homemade birthday cake {his birthday is Sunday}.  I think I'm going to try this recipe since he LOVES anything banana. 
5 - Starting The Girl on the Train.  I've heard it's awesome.  Anyone read it yet?

I hope you have an awesome weekend!  Anything fun planned?



Linking up:


Thursday, March 26, 2015

What NOT to Register For

I'm over at Houston Moms Blog today talking about what NOT to register for.  I realize that this is totally subjective so be sure and leave a comment if you don't agree.  This is just based on my experience with Jack and an unscientific poll of friends and other HMB Contributors!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Easter Basket Goodies for a Toddler

It's that time of year again to start pulling together a few goodies for your little one's Easter Basket from good 'ole Peter Cottontail.

You can read what I did for Jack last year here.

This year we are using the same basket from Pottery Barn Kids {which I plan to do for many years to come}.  This year I didn't want to spend a huge amount of money filling it and he is definitely not getting candy quite yet {his toddler tantrums do not need extra sugar}. 

I had great luck at the Dollar Spot at Target with some Easter themed goodies I know he will love including some duck shaped bubbles, egg chalk and a Peter Rabbit Coloring Book.  How can you beat $1!

I have also added a few other items below:

Hoppy Easter Jammies
Llama Llama Easter Egg Board Book
Jellycat Woodland Bunny
Crayola Egg Chalk

What are you including in your little one's basket this year?  Or do you just stick to an egg hunt?  I'd love to hear!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Stitch Fix Review #4

It's time for another Stitch Fix review!  You can read my other reviews here and here.  

I scheduled this fix for mid March since I had a credit to the shop from my referral link!  You may remember in my last Stitch Fix review I was disappointed in the service and said I might not do again...well, those credits were calling my name and so was my desire for a few new transitional pieces to carry me into spring.  I made some notes to my stylist and hoped for the best! 

For those of you who aren't familiar with Stitch Fix, it is a styling service that sends you 5 pieces of clothing and/or accessories pulled specifically for you.  Once you receive the items you can try on, take pictures and see how they will work into your wardrobe - all in the comfort of your own home.  You have three days to decide to keep the items or send them back.  If you keep all five items you will receive 20% off the entire purchase.  If you send all 5 items back you lose your $20 stylist fee that would have been applied to your purchase.  Everyone fills out a style and fit questionnaire, but you can be as picky or open as you want in your communications to your stylist.  

So what did I receive and keep?
{And yes, I tried on the tops with Lululemon leggings.  These were taken on a Friday night and I was way too tired to change into better pants.  Sorry, not sorry}

ONE :: Mystree Braden Sweater, $68.00 - SENT BACK 
Loved the sweater.  Didn't keep because it is about to be too hot to wear in Houston.

TWO :: Kensie Rebekah Contrast Detail Blazer, $88.00 - SENT BACK
Loved the blazer and the color.  Wanted to keep, but it had a stain on it.  For $88 I didn't want to try and get the stain out myself!

THREE :: Fun2Fun Sheridan Striped V-Neck Tab Sleeve Blouse, $48.00 - SENT BACK
Liked the top.  The fit was okay and it just seemed a little cheap for fifty bucks.

THREE :: Pixley Ohara Faux Wrap Tie-Waist Dress, $68.00 - SENT BACK
FOUR ::  Pixley Kathy Striped Fit & Flare Dress, $68.00 - SENT BACK
Loved the style and color of both of these dresses, but they simply didn't fit.  #fatgirlproblems

FINAL THOUGHTS :: Even though it seems that I didn't like my pieces since I sent it all back, I was actually pleased with what was sent to me.  I could tell that the stylist actually listened to my requests and viewed my Stitch Fix Style Pinboard.  I asked for stripes, a blazer, neutrals and items that could be worn to the office and on the weekend. She did all of these things for me!  I wasn't too upset to send it all back since I didn't actually lose my $20 styling fee since I had credit. 

I would have purchased the blazer if it didn't have the stain.  I also would have purchased the sweater if it weren't for the fact that it's about to get very hot in Houston. 

I would definitely do Stitch Fix again in the future.  Did you hear that they now offer Maternity and Petite styling too? I would have loved this service when I was pregnant!!!

If you want to give Stitch Fix a try, you can use my referral link here to sign-up. 
Note that I will receive a $25 credit if you sign-up.  Hopefully then someone will do the same for's like subscription box karma!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Weekend Recap

Another great weekend come and gone. 

On Friday night we ordered in and watched Mockingjay after putting Jack to bed.   It was good, but maybe a little boring.  It could be that I was just super tired or a little over the Hunger Games. 

On Saturday we woke up with no plans and toyed with the idea of taking Jack to the Houston Rodeo, but the thought of the crowds did me in so we opted for the Children's Museum of Houston!  We arrived around lunchtime and ate in the cafe - not great, but convenient.  Then it was off to see the exhibits.  Jack had such a good time.  He face lit up at just about every new thing he saw.  Even though we were there for several hours there is still much more for us to see another time. 

Jack's favorite thing to do at the museum was the Vet Clinic at Kidtropollis.  He would have stayed in there all day playing with the stuffed animals if he could.  The grocery store and sitting in cars were also big hits.

On our way home Jack passed out in the back seat so Jason ran into Amy's Ice Cream {my absolute fave} and grabbed us a sweet treat to go.  We earned it...and I was good and got the smallest serving they had {but had to add some sprinkles}!

Back at home, I ran to the grocery store while Jason and Jack napped.  I SO did not want to go, but knew I wanted to get it knocked out rather than save for Sunday. 

This was my view on Sunday morning while sipping coffee.  Not too shabby.  After we had breakfast of cinnamon toast and eggs Jason hit the books so Jack and I went for a long walk to the park.  It was slightly overcast Sunday morning which just meant we had the entire park to ourselves.  We had a blast.  

Sunday afternoon we drove across town for an Easter Mini-Session with Mommas Gonna Snap, the same photographer who did my recent headshot for Houston Moms Blog.  Jack was NOT having it.  He woke up a few minutes before we arrived after a long car nap so was still sleepy during the shoot.  The only way we could get him to be happy was to bring out the chick and bunny props.  This boy loves him some animals!

After the quick photo session we stopped at Sprouts.  Jason loves this place and I had never been since there isn't one near our house.  We picked up a new things that I can't normally find at my grocery store like Ezekiel Bread. 

And that's our day!  I did a few things around the house with Jack Sunday evening while Jason grilled us some dinner then it was off to bed to watch Walking Dead and call it a day!

I hope you had a great weekend too and are off to a good start this Monday. 

Don't forget to enter the Two Magnolia Lane Giveaway which ends at 11:59 p.m. TODAY!!!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Five on Friday :: Two Magnolia Lane + Giveaway

Happy Friday!  I wasn't planning on blogging today, until I learned that my favorite shop, Two Magnolia Lane just launched their new site and I was too excited not to share right away! 

Ashley and her mother are the lovely ladies behind the shop which offers everything from stuff for your kiddos like pajamas, backpacks and napmats to stuff for YOU like pajamas bottoms, totes and hats.  Their motto is my motto which is when in doubt, throw a monogram on it!

We are big Two Magnolia Lane fans over at my house and Jack always looks so cute in his personalized seasonal PJ's from them. {Preorder your summer PJ's by March 14}! can you follow them and enter to win some cool stuff???   

FIVE easy steps for this FIVE on Friday

#1 Follow Two Magnolia Lane on Facebook.  Share their giveaway picture for a chance to win a monogrammed hat!

#2  Follow Two Magnolia Lane on Instagram @TwoMagnoliaLane.  Share the giveaway for a chance to win a canvas tote bag!

#3 Go checkout their new online shop to see all they offer!

#4 Leave a comment on THIS blog post telling me your favorite item they sell online.

#5 Enter my Rafflecopter Giveaway below for a chance to win a pair of Seersucker PJ Pants (available in pink or blue)! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Linking up:


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Houston Moms Blog Photoshoot & Tips for a Good Headshot

Last week all of the Houston Moms Blog contributors met at the end of the day for a little photoshoot at Discovery Green Park in downtown Houston.  Our photographer extraordinaire was Amanda from Mommas Gonna Snap Photography who is so wonderful to work with and I now consider her a friend.  I was bound and determined to get a good headshot this time as I wasn't thrilled with last year's shot...I'm blaming it on the sun being in my eyes, but I was actually just not prepared that day months ago.

This year, I am so happy with the results!  I love the colors and think everyone looks so great!  

Below is our "prop" picture.  We were told to bring an item that represented us.  I originally brought a Starbucks coffee cup since you can usually find one attached to me, but at the last minute I threw in two hairspray bottles {both for function and prop use}.  I'm happy with how this turned out and think the hairspray, dry shampoo and frantic look on my face truly captures all that is me!

And a normal one.  I'm so excited about the 8 new contributors that have joined our team.  They each bring a totally unique perspective into the mix that I feel was needed. 

 And our Executive Team below...

Thanks Amanda for all of the great shots!  It's sad that I'm actually the heaviest I've been in a long time in these pictures, yet I'm happy with the result.

So what does it take to get a headshot you are happy with?  I'm chalking this up to a few things including:

1.  A good photographer who will make suggestions on your best angles

2.  Knowing how to dress YOUR body 

This one is thanks to my mom for teaching me how to dress to hide my {many} flaws!  I know that a flowy top, skinny pants and heels - always heels - will make me look the best.  Flats make me look stumpy and fitted tops are currently showing too much of my fluffiness.  Longer tops that go past my hips and butt are the best.

3.  Knowing your good colors {and the background colors}

 At the last minute we were actually told to wear neutrals since our backdrop was the color wall, but I stuck with my gut and went bold.  Neutrals tend to wash me out and accentuate my flaws.  And you sure can find me in the crowd {oops}!

4.  Practice, practice, practice 

I will admit to practicing smiling and posing in the mirror for a few minutes prior to this shoot - ha!  It was so helpful though because I know knew to keep my arms down since I was wearing a dolman sleeve and not give my huge, full face smile since this kills my eyes and gives me a double-chin.

5.  Feeling comfortable in what you are wearing and your hair & makeup

I changed my mind several times I what I was going to wear and also ordered too much online.  The good news is that you can take back everything you don't use - it's better to have options.  I grabbed this top at Nordstrom at the last minute after my online orders didn't work out.  I was about to buy without trying on another top and the Nordstrom associate urged me to take the few extra minutes to try.  So worth it since I ended up with this rather than a hot pink number that would have wrinkled too much.

Now it's your turn!  What is your tip for taking a good picture?  

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Weight Watchers Wednesday :: Big Fail

Hi everyone!  I wanted to check in and say that I'm basically failing with an "F" at Weight Watchers right now.  The past few weeks have been so busy that I've basically been in survival mode - you know just do what you've gotta do to get through it all.

Both my husband and I work full-time, plus he goes to school part-time in the evenings + all of the time spent for tutoring and homework.  Last week I had a work meeting on Wednesday night, a Junior League event Thursday night, a blog conference all day Saturday, and company on Sunday.  Last night I had a photo shoot with Houston Moms Blog and am hosting a church dinner on Thursday night.  Let's not talk about how much of a mom failure I feel right now.

Needless to say counting my points and getting exercise in hasn't been a priority.  I haven't decided if I will keep this weekly post going, as the last few weeks have been a big fail.  I'll keep you posted - I just wanted to be honest with everyone!

My weight through all of this has remained consistent - no gains, no losses.  Throughout the chaos I'm still trying to watch my portions, get in some healthy stuff and drink lots of water.  Although those girl scout cookies keep creeping in my house...damn you Thin Mints - there is nothing thin about you!

Hope you are having a great week!  Catch up with you soon. 

I do have the linkup option available below and love reading your posts!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Thrive Blog Conference Recap

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Thrive Blog Conference in The Woodlands, Texas.  This was the very first year of this conference, but you certainly couldn't tell - Whitney and Bree did an amazing job organizing it!  Everything was perfect from the speakers to the venue, the food to the decor.  This weekend was just what I needed to get re-energized about the blogosphere. 

The decor by Ruthie & Rose was incredible! 

Here I am {below} telling an epic story, no doubt, with the other Houston Moms Blog contributors who were in attendance. 

Amy - Michelle - Me - Mandy

The first speaker was Ashley Lemieux of The Shine Project. I was not familiar with her blog or company until hearing her speak, but wow was she inspiring!  I immediately went to her table afterwards and purchased a few pieces of jewelry handmade by high school students working to raise money for college. 

Next up was Audra Kurtz to speak to the group about vlogging.  She has only been at it for a few years and has over 59k followers - many of her vlogs have gone viral.

I was so thrilled to hear Caroline Harper Knapp speak about building your brand.  She is the huge blogger behind Caroline in the City and now House of Harper who I've followed for awhile.  She is so beautiful and had great advice on building your brand...even if that means a rebuild.  And small world, I learned she is from the same small town of Corsicana that my husband is from!

Next up was a very delicious lunch {carb heaven} sponsored by Noodles & Company.

The session I was most looking forward to was about creating compelling content by Fancy Ashley.  Not only because I love her blog and how she has formed her brand, but I think our blog content is the #1 key to anything else: sponsors, increasing readers, etc.

She did not disappoint.  She was funny, sweet and had great advice. 

Next up was a panel about monetizing moderated by Megan Owen with Megan Silianoff and Sarah Skaggs.  I follow each of their blogs and loved what they had to say.

My biggest takeaway from this panel was that I {as a smaller blog} need to quit worrying about how to make money on my blog {at this time} and just focus on creating great content and growing my readership.  Great advice Megan...thank you!

I attended an awesome breakout session by Rachel Matthews about DIY and Food Photography.  Although I typically don't photograph either one of those, the tips can be applied to anything - candid shots and beauty products {more up my alley}!  

The last session by Kristyn Merkley was amazing too.  I took away some great tips on keeping myself organized.  

And finally, one of the highlights for me was meeting Fancy Ashley.  I loved hearing her speak and I loved being able to chat with her afterwards.  She is just as nice as you would imagine and even more beautiful in person.  

One of my biggest takeaways from the conference is that if I want to be serious about blogging I really need to up my photography game.  I think it was Fancy Ashley who said that your beautiful images will get people to your blog; your words will keep them there.

I've been too intimated to start the process of buying a "fancy camera" and learning how to use it, but I think it's time.  Well, as soon as I have the money!  I'm not trying to become a professional photographer of anything - just have better images to tell my stories.  I was thrilled to meet Jenny Collier who gave me and Mandy some great tips on how the heck to get started. 

All of these beautiful images are by Meg Cady Scholz.  She is an incredible photographer, but I was so floored at how quickly she put the images up for us to use for our recaps and the fact that she tried to include every single attendee in her shots.  Thank you Meg!

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