Jul 29, 2015

Today's previously planned post has been rescheduled upon hearing some news.

When I first started blogging a few years ago, one of the very first blogs I read and started following and communicating with was Leslie's blog.  She was a real girl with an amazing attitude, great style,  and delicious recipes.  I read and commented along as she got married and became a mom to two adorable little girls.  




Yesterday, I found out that she had passed away.  She shared on her blog and social media that she had a heart problem and was struggling and I know I said a couple of prayers for her.  

My heart broke reading that she had passed.  I'm sure many of you feel the same way about bloggers, there are some, especially those with whom you communicate back and forth, that feel like friends and whose lives you keep up to date with as if they were your friends in real life.  

This is an all too unfortunate reminder that life is precious and life short.  Heartbreakingly short.  There is a grieving family and two little girls who will grow up without their mother.  Go hug your loved ones a little tighter and be grateful for every second you have here, I know I am.

This isn't my usual type of post, but this really struck me and has brought me immense sadness and serves as a reminder to live each moment as fully as we can.  

There is a Go Fund Me page set up to help raise money for the college educations of Leslie's daughters.  You can see that here.  

You can also read through Leslie's blog here.

xo
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Jul 28, 2015

Shopaholic

You guys! Have you been scooping up goodies at all of the crazy sales lately?  I feel like it is nonstop with the deals and it is so hard not buy everything.  I'm trying to focus on more transitional pieces because I know (tear) this warm weather won't be here forever and that layers are in the not so distant future.  

This isn't to say that I am not all about an amazing deal.  If there is something I am absolutely loving and it is a great sale, then it is a definite yes!  Any great, classic pieces that are generally, solid are a must as well.  I love patterns, but the solids have longer lasting power.  That said, I believe in a few good patterns like the Mara Hoffman below!

Here is what I have my eye on right now...



1. Dress  2. Dress  3. Dress  4. Dress  5. Watch  6. Earrings  7. Dress 8. Bag



You can get my favorite Splendid shorts on sale right now! They just got marked down! I love these and wear them all of the time, because, elastic waist band!

The Splendid chambray romper I posted also went on sale!

I have been posting sales and deals on Facebook; make sure to follow there for updates!


Happy shopping!


xo


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Jul 27, 2015

Fabulous Friends

I am so excited about today's post!  It was an idea that I can't say that I came up with.  In fact, it was at the suggestion of today's guest that this is all happening!  I'm nosy, and I know there are a lot of other nosies out there (NO shame in that game!)  I love knowing what people eat, what their day looks like, their go-to meals and workouts, basically anything.  I have a need to know!  It's like reading all of the details a celebrity gives in a magazine interview, except that you know these are real details, not PR-made details to sell covers.

Today, I am so excited to have my very first guest, my gorgeous and insanely talented friend, Helen.  We met through our children's school and immediately bonded over our love of working out, shopping and Pitch Perfect.  She is a phenomenal mom with amazing taste in style and design!  Her home is seriously swoon-worthy and she has a stunningly curated closet, as well as a huge heart and gracious attitude.



Name / Location
 Helen / New Jersey

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Occupation / Goals
 I worked in fashion public relations for luxury brands for five years before becoming a stay at home mom. I am currently home full time with my two children. I began a course in Interior Decorating last Autumn and aspire to complete my studies in the next two years to acquire my CID decorating certification. I am also simultaneously working on my fledgling decorating business, H. Tarrach Interiors.

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Do you have kids? If so, how many and ages.
 I have two children - my son is 6 and my daughter is 3 1/2.

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Go-to healthy meal for you and / or your family
 I am a big believer in roasting anything in the oven! For dinner I usually roast a protein (usually chicken) and a vegetable (broccoli rabe is my favorite) with a little olive (or truffle) oil, salt and pepper. A more kid-friendly family favorite is this vegan quinoa and sweet potato chili. It’s filling, clean eating and easy to dress up with cheese for the children!


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Go-to workout at home when you can’t get to the gym
 Truthfully, I have a tough time motivating to exercise at home. I feed off of the energy and enthusiasm of working out in a class setting. When I can’t find the time to get to the gym I typically blast music and break a sweat dance-party style. I also try my best to make TV time double as 
ab-work time!

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Favorite item in your closet
 I absolutely love when the weather gets chillier in the Autumn and I can take out my Armani Collezioni green-grey wool swing coat. I acquired it as a sample from the Armani PR closet about 8 years ago and somehow it has held up beautifully, seen me through two pregnancies and still garners compliments every time I put it on!

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Number one beauty secret / tip
 I finally purchased the Clarisonic about 6 months ago and it’s completely transformed my skin! I now use it religiously and can’t leave home overnight without it.

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What is your normal day like?
 After 6+ years of being a mom one thing I’ve learned is that no two days are alike! Just when I get into a routine with my family our schedule gets thrown off kilter and we are forced to adapt - quickly! Summer days are mostly spent outdoors and during the school year we’re running from one extra-curricular activity to the next. There are a few things we try to squeeze into every day such as a dance party in the morning, having breakfast together even if it’s in the car, a trip to the gym so the children and I can have our “independent time,” a nice warm bubble bath and a nightly recap of our favorite and least favorite parts of the day.

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Your fitness inspiration / motivation
 My children are my biggest inspiration. I feel one of my responsibilities as a stay at home mom is to demonstrate the importance of fitting in exercise and fitness into the daily routine. More than ever before I am motivated to exercise to feel both physically and mentally strong. I strive to be  able to keep up with my children and their boundless energy!

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Usual workout / diet
 I enjoy high impact cardio workouts paired with pumping music in a classroom setting. I find the better and louder the music, the more I’m able to shut off my mind and listen to my body! Kickboxing, spin, Zumba and cardio interval classes are my go-to’s. I try to throw in a low-impact class such as yoga, Pilates or Barre once a week to mix things up. I recently started adding strength training to my routine 2-3 times a week. I feel very blessed to have found a gym that has a comprehensive array of classes available so I never get bored!

My diet is very repetitive - I start each morning with hot water and lemon and drink green tea and water continuously throughout the day. I always have a Lara or Luna bar for breakfast and a protein bar or shake after my morning workout. Lunches are generally leafy greens paired with a big portion of protein (usually chicken) to keep me full. Late afternoons are my “danger zone” - this is usually when the good habits start to slide. I’ve been allowing myself a treat in the afternoons (e.g. popcorn or a cookie) before having an early-bird dinner of roasted greens and protein around 5:30 / 6pm



 You can find out more about Helen's design services and portfolio here.  A big thank you for sharing with us H!


xo
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Jul 24, 2015

The BEST Summer Maxi Dress!

Some of you may recognize this dress from Insta, or this post (in pink.)  I wear it a lot.  It's comfortable, easy care, and easy to dress up or down.  I love the tan shade because of it's flattering tone and the easy, breezy feel it gives.  

It comes in a shorter length, as well, which is so cute and I clearly need.  They also have the longer length in a bunch of patterns, including leopard and some very Mara Hoffman-esque designs.  You really can't go wrong with any version of this easy little number.








Dress, Pink Stitch // Earrings, Kendra Scott //  Sandals, J.Crew // Ring, Bulgari


Trust me when I say this dress is beyond easy to take care of.  I toss it in the washer and dryer and go.  It can be smoothed out or worn a little wrinkled, and let's be serious, I feel a little wrinkled pretty often (thanks kids!)

We are off to enjoy this weather, because, as someone at Target reminded me yesterday, SCHOOL is right around the corner and Summer is winding down!


Have a fabulous weekend!

xo



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Jul 23, 2015

Fitness Apps For Your Phone

What is the one thing you probably use more than any other thing in your day?  Your phone?  In most peoples' cases, that would definitely be it.  Did you also know your phone can work as a great tool and supplement to your diet and fitness regime and help you meet your goals?  I never realized this until I was tracking water my water the other day (that app is below.)  

Daily Water

I am a big believer in drinking enough water to help you stay healthy, help digestion, and flush things out of your body.  I am super OCD, so for me tracking my water intake is a great way to help me constantly try to drink more.  It is also very eye opening when you first start tracking your water intake, to see how much you actually are drinking in a day.

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This is an app that is now on all iPhones.  Basically, you can carry your phone on you all day and it will track your activity and steps.  You can add personal medical information in it for emergencies, as well.  If you have your phone on your person a lot it is great (men, in pockets.) I use it for runs or hikes, or any big days when I am wearing a bag on me all day.

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MFP is the diet app I use the most, hands down.  Tracking your food intake is unbelievably helpful to see how much you are really eating in a day.  I try to track most days.  Some days I get frustrated, but generally, I try to do it as often as possible.  If you track your micros, you can also do that on here (I don't, too lazy.)  I always need to decrease my carbs and increase my protein, and this is a great way to see how much of each I am consuming.  My absolute favorite part of this app is the recipe builder.  I cook a lot and it is a pain in the butt manually counting the calories in a recipe, but once you add them in the recipe builder here you can save them and they are always in there!

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Please ignore my horrific time above.  I definitely use this the most for tracking my distance, pace and time when I run or walk.  It notifies you at each mile, and you can see your pace live (a great motivator to move faster!)  You can sync your music to it and save your workouts for different things, such as running the same route to compare your time.

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I have a major love/hate relationship with my Fitbits.  They have broken, and I have gone through three in the last couple of years.  Sometimes I have to take them off when I realize I am walking in circles around our living room trying to get steps... while sipping on wine.  I think we all know that's not going to achieve goals.  I do, however, love the app.  It is great for tracking food, workouts, and water, all in one place.  I have tried a few different trackers, and always come back to this one, mainly because of the app.  It is simple to use, easy to read and understand, and motivating.

I currently use all of these apps on a very regular basis.  I'm trying out Tabata Pro and the 7 Minute Workout apps for at home workouts.  I have only used each once, but once I try them more I'll let you guys know what I think!

Have a happy, healthy day babes!

xo



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Jul 22, 2015

Home: Kitchen Updates

Do you guys remember all of my moaning and groaning about our kitchen cabinet project a couple of months ago?  I feel like I talked about it way more than I should have, but it definitely took over my life for a couple of weeks (and killed my back!)  

However, they are done (praise hands emoji!) and I am so thrilled with how they turned out.  Granted, a large part of my thrill may be the fact that we did them ourselves, but I still think they totally changed the look of our kitchen.  When we moved in, we liked the kitchen, but it was starting to show signs of age and wear and tear, plus it wasn't our style.   


Before

There was a whole lot of brown.  I don't dislike brown, but for me this just wasn't my vision and idea for a kitchen space.  I prefer bright, white and light.  

We replaced the countertops with granite, added oil rubbed bronze hardware and (duh) repainted the cabinets.   We weren't able to do this all at once and spread it out over a solid nine month period due to time and budget.  We still need to tackle the backsplash - I'm thinking a glass beige subway tile with white grout - but for now, it's pretty complete.

Everything flows color-wise, and the whole space feels lighter and happier.  It is my favorite room in our house right now and I love cooking in it and spend way too much time trying to keep it overly clean (thanks OCD.)

Now that you have seen the before let's get to the after...


After







And because I love a Before/After shot...

It's nothing too crazy and we did it ourselves, but I am pretty happy with the results and loving our bright, light kitchen!

We used the Rust-Oleum Pure White Cabinet Small Kit and spent a lot of time researching it and watching videos and tutorials on it before actually starting.  I highly recommend doing a lot of tutorials before hand.  I don't think it would have come out usable at all if we didn't.  

If you plan on tackling this project yourself, make sure you have time to do it.  An entire weekend may not be enough depending on the amount of cabinets you have.  Follow the instructions exactly and don't worry about adding an extra coat of base or doing some paper sanding (it is liquid only.)  From our experience, these things helped a lot.

Now that this project is (mostly) tackled, I feel ready to take on some other rooms that I have been holding off on... aka letting things pile up in and keeping the doors closed in shame.


Thanks for stopping by!  Have a fabulous day!



xo



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Jul 21, 2015

Small Cross Body Bags

Happy Tuesday lovelies! Today let's talk small: small bags.  For years, starting when Avery was born, I was a staunch proponent of the oversized tote.  I purchased them voraciously in the form of the LV Neverfull, Longchamps biggest and best, and the Annabel Ingall haul all.  But after years of hauling these bad boys around, overfilled with things for me and the kids, my shoulders are starting to take a serious beating.

Maybe I'm just getting old.  But that's another story for another day.

Lately, to save my shoulders from agony, I have started becoming obsessed with small, cross body bags.  I'm all about tossing what I need for the kids in a compact bag in the stroller or car, and keeping my essentials to a minimum.  It has been making a world of difference in how my shoulders feel at the end of the day, and it makes it so much easier to switch bags around.  

I snagged this pink bag during the Kate Spade sale and have been using it nonstop!  It is actually pretty small but holds a lot and doubles as a fun little tote!



This Gigi Bag is another amazing cross body I have and love! It is super small, but so light and so fun to wear (you barely know it's there!)  



I rounded up a few bags that I own and some that I am just coveting.  They're all small and so easy to carry.  I would be really happy if anyone wants to remind my family that the Gucci one would be great for someone (ahem, me) on their birthday this year.  I'm just saying...



You can shop all of the bags below!







Someone PLEASE buy the pineapple bag and take a zillion pictures of it please!

xoxo


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