Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pool Party Prep

We just got invited to our first pool party of the season! I've been dreaming of them for months, so to know that we'll be heading to one on Sunday just makes my heart happy. It's been a really emotional, long week... so I'm looking forward to laying by the sun & enjoying my friends. Are you headed to the pool this weekend? Lakes & beaches count too! 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Stars & Stripes

If you're new around here, you might not know... but my husband is possibly one of the most patriotic human beings alive. Evidence... 

The man lives for holidays like Memorial Day & the Fourth of July. We even got married on 4th of July weekend - red dresses, sparklers, and all. When one of those isn't around the corner, he's creating reasons to celebrate America. For instance, Sunday Funday in the USA Day. I'm still recovering from that one. 

So it probably won't surprise anyone that we're currently gearing up to celebrate the holiday in style. I've been busy putting together our outfits, since we'll be spending the day at a family party and everyone is expecting Eric to show up looking like this...

if you're interested, click here
To be clear - he's not wearing that. This is what we're wearing instead... 

For Miss Ellastar shorts // flag top // bow sandals // sweatshirt // hair ties
For Eric: shorts // sweathshirt // Sperry's
For Bri: shorts // tank // bangle // sweatshirt 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

If you need me, I'll be at Lowe's...

If you need me over the course of the next couple of weekends, I'll be hanging out at Lowe's. Not buying anything, just roaming the aisles, hoping that someone from Yard Crashers, or really any HGTV show, will pick me for a total lawn makeover. I need it. Desperately...

Our current lawn isn't a disaster, but it certainly isn't anything special. Let me explain... 

When we moved in last year, I loved our lawn. We have a fully fenced, double lot with plenty of room for Ella & Charlie to run. Just having a lawn to call our own, a place to lay in the sun & run free was completely new to us. To say that I was blinded by the newness of it all would be an understatement... 

It started in the fall. We'd been in the house for about 3 months when we "realized" that we had a bump of dead tree stumps along the far edge of our property. Had they always been there? How had we missed those? They need to go! 

Fast forward to spring & I start thinking ahead to summer. I want to lay out in the sun. I want to eat outside. I want to lounge on our deck. Oh wait... we don't have a deck! Nor do we have a place where we could add one on to our house! Crap! Why didn't we think of this before? 

Then we started looking at the grass... has it always been so spotty? Did the kid who lived here before have a dump truck pit? Why are there all of these dirt piles? 

So what do we do about it? I mean realisitically... because I can't really camp out at Lowe's & wait for HGTV. With the help of Pinterest, we've sort of come up with a plan, but if you have any thoughts, we're all ears! And if you have any pins that might help us out, send them my way too! 

  • Reseed the Grass
    We assumed this would be the easiest & cheapest place to start. Wrong again! Eric spent most of the weekend raking, digging, seeding, and watering. Currently, we can't let our dog out of the house unsupervised, because he'd just dig up and pounce on all of the seeded grass - which is a HUGE pain in the ass. Ella has to be watched like a hawk too because we don't want her rolling in the dirt either. To put it mildly, our lawn is less than user friendly at the moment & will likely stay that way for the next month or so.

    As far as the rest of our lawn goes, Eric had already put down some sort of fertilizer, so at least the grass that we have is growing in lush!
  • Build a Floating Deck
    This is the part that I am excited about. My father-in-law agreed to come up & help me build this...
    Awesome ways of turning pallets into unique pieces of furniture | Just Imagine - Daily Dose of Creativity

    I love the herringbone pattern & cannot wait to have it sitting in the corner of my lawn! We're going to angle it & put a flower bed behind it with simple shrubs. I may add a few pots like in the picture, but we'll see what our budget allows. This is basically my birthday present from everyone that I know this year, so you can bet that I will be spending a lot of time on it this summer!
  • Make a Play Area 
    The last item on the agenda is to make Ella a little play area! She already has a swimming pool & a picnic table so I'd like to add a little slide/climber to the equation & set it up with mulch underneath in the shadiest part of our lawn. The problem is that Eric & I can't quite agree on how much we should spend on this endeavor & he's nervous about having woodchips in the lawn all of the time. So if you have kids & have a play area... please help! 
It's going to be a long road & we'll probably run out of money before I run out of ideas, but I'll keep you all posted on how it's coming along! 
Monday, May 19, 2014

Weekend Recap


When I got out of work on Friday, I picked up Ella & we headed straight to Target. I just don't think that there is a better place to kick off your weekend... we picked up a bunch of "essentials" then headed home to have a fancy dinner. Now when I say fancy dinner, I really mean frozen pizza & boneless bites because let's face it, that was where Eric & I were at Friday night. We had no energy to go out because it was pouring & I wasn't about to actually cook. Luckily, my sister was completely on board with this plan & came over too. 

Excited to hear her Aunt Britt pulling in!

Saturday was a little more eventful than Friday, in that I went dress shopping for my sister's wedding! Technically, this was pre-dress shopping, because all of the bridesmaids are coming into town this upcoming Saturday to go together. But Britt & I wanted to make sure that we at least had an idea of what we wanted, so we scoped out a few local boutiques & came up with a few different options. I won't share any pics because I don't want to spoil the surprise. Actually, that's a lie... I'm not sharing pics because I need a tan, heels, and to lose 5 pounds before I'm seriously photographed in any gowns. 

After dress shopping we went & grabbed lunch at Chipotle. Then, I headed home to meet up with Eric & Ella. We were supposed to go to the mall & buy Eric some new clothes... but he blew that plan when he spent a fortune at Lowe's! Instead, he spent the afternoon in the lawn planting grass seed on all of the random spots that the previous owners left behind while I pulled up weeds & Ella chalked on the pavers. 

We ate dinner at home again & Ella passed out at 6:45. We're a really wild crew... 


I wasn't sure if Ella would sleep through the night when she went to bed so early, but she made it to 5:30, so I didn't complain too much. I just sucked it up & went to the couch, where she danced to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse & I read my book. That's how we passed the time until Eric woke up & joined us for breakfast. 

typical Sunday morning at our house

We had big plans to go to the zoo first thing before the animals got hot or overwhelmed by all the people. We're zoo members (since we basically live across the street), so we get in a half hour early. I'm so glad we got there when we did... the animals were active because it was still in the mid-50's & it wasn't crowded so Ella could walk when she wanted to. 

making friends with the sea lions!

I don't know why this is so blurry... but I'm posting it anyway. 
We headed home in time for lunch & then went to get groceries for the week. I actually took the time to meal plan for the week & even did some baking. I think that I could be a really great house wife if I just had more time... 

Have a Great Week! 

Friday, May 16, 2014

On the Bright Side...

I left the house in wellies & my rain coat this morning. Despite my best intentions, my perfectly straightened hair is now in a top knot because it just couldn't withstand the weather. Rochester is experiencing a total downpour, complete with flash flood warnings, which I didn't take seriously until I saw our street. Not exactly how I wanted to end this gorgeous week. But on the bright side...

  • It's Friday so I can wear jeans. And if I can't wear my fun spring dresses, that's what I want to be in. 
  • Eric just texted me to let me know that the town came through & cleared out the storm drains so our street is no longer flooded! 
  • Yesterday was my pay day & today is Eric's. Which leads me to...
  • We're going shopping tomorrow, for the first time in a month. It'll mostly be for Eric, but a trip to the mall is a trip to the mall. 
  • Eric got up with Ella at 4 am & let me sleep. And he mowed the lawn before this storm blew in last night. He's really at the top of my list  right now. I think I'll buy him something nice tomorrow.
  • Flooding means a legit excuse to wear my wellies. 
Trench Coat and hunter boots- i Have ALWAYS wanted hunter boots :)
not me... there was no way I was going to stop & take a picture outside this morning
  • I'm wearing my new necklace from iCrave & have already gotten a ton of compliments on it! I went with peach for spring this time around, but I have already decided that I want to order another one is a neutral color because I absolutely love it! 
Just Peachy Statement Necklace
again... I will not be posting pictures of myself today! 
  • And did I mention that it's Friday?? 
And in honor of it being Friday, this ridiculous weather & my love for all things Luke Bryan... 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Ella's First Lilac Festival

One of my absolute favorite parts of living in Rochester is the festivals! Seriously, we love them here. There's Jazz Fest, Corn Hill, Park Ave Fest, East End... and of course the festival that kicks it all off - The Lilac Festival! 

We decided to take Ella to the festival for the first time on opening day. It was a gorgeous evening, but we got there early enough that it wasn't packed yet. We browsed the vendors (thank God Ella doesn't know how to beg for things yet), but we were mainly there for dinner. Eric had to have a gyro & I wanted a garbage plate, which I shared with Ella. And of course, fried dough... I needed to have some of that before we left! 

no lilacs in bloom yet... so we settled for magnolias

One part of the festival that we normally just walk right by is the kids rides, but not this year! With Ella in tow we ended up watched a children's magician and letting her ride a few of the rides. 

I wasn't really sure what to expect with the train. When we were at Disney, I rode everything with her. I couldn't ride this ride & was afraid she was going to freak out when I left, but she loved it! 

I think Ella's favorite part was our stop at the playground though. The girl loves a good park. She was all about the slide & swings! We had so much fun watching her run around, squealing & giggling. 

It was the perfect start to our Mother's Day weekend! Next up on our festival agenda, Corn Hill! 
Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I'm All About Patterned Shorts

It's no secret on this blog that I am a lover of printed shorts - more specifically striped ones. They're pretty much my favorite part of summer & I just never seem to resist buying another pair. I just love to wear them with basic tees & tanks, and since it was FINALLY gorgeous here all weekend, that's exactly what I did! 

shorts - J.Crew // tshirt - Ann Taylor // bracelets - Alex & Ani 

I wore these shorts from J.Crew for our Mother's Day Picnic! I feel like the print & fabric dresses them up a bit, while my basic black tee & flip flops kept it casual. I got these back in March before my trip to Florida, but I just can't say enough about J.Crew's shorts in general. They have a ton of lengths to choose from & last forever! 

shorts - Gap Outlet // shoes - Sperry // sweater - Gap // watch - Coach 

For the home tour I went to on Saturday, I knew I was going to be doing a lot of walking. But I also knew that it was a classy event. So I decided to go classic prepster with my yellow striped shorts, open knit sweater, and Sperry's. I was so comfy & blended right in. I think I'll be investing in a white Oxford shirt to wear with these though, then I'll really be prepping it up! 

Linking Up with Laura today! 
Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day Picnic

We had a lot going on this weekend, but I'm going to start with yesterday, because my Mother's Day was just about perfect. When my sister & I asked my mom what she wanted for Mother's Day, she told us that all she wanted was for us to host the picnic for our family at the country house. She didn't want to grocery shop, cook, bake, clean, or do dishes. We agreed in amazement that she wasn't sending us to J.Crew or Kate Spade. 

We spent the week coordinating with our cousins & dividing up the tasks. Then I drove down with to our country house with my parents & Ella on Saturday night and stayed the night there so I could start prepping first thing in the morning. My sister & her fiance arrived around 10, and then my husband arrived with large iced teas for everyone at 11.  

with my mom & sister - basically my best friends
The weather was absolutely gorgeous, so we were able to have our picnic on the back porch in the sunlight. It was perfect. I got some sun on my legs, the boys did all of the grilling, Ella played on my aunt's lap with her cousin Ethan. Maybe it was the sunshine, maybe it was that we were all together, but everyone was just happy. 

my sister was insistent that as a God Mother & a dog mother she deserved to be celebrated too! 
Babs the Baby Whisperer strikes again! 
sweet baby Ethan & look at Miss Ella's hand! such a diva
Later in the afternoon we headed back towards Rochester, making a stop to see Eric's mom along the way. She had just cleaned out her garage, so Ella got right to work playing on all of the toys in the yard! 

riding the tricycle with daddy
my absolute favorite picture of the weekend
teaching Great-Grandma Sally how to use the tablet
As always, everyone enjoyed playing with Ella. Weekends like this make me wish that we lived closer to everyone. An hour away really isn't that bad, but it does mean that you really only see everyone on weekends. Sometimes it can be just overwhelming enough to make us want to move back home. I can't see us moving back to a land without Chipotle, Starbucks, and Target though... so I guess we'd better adjust! 
Friday, May 9, 2014

Five on Friday

Happy Friday! It's going to be a good one, I just know it. This week has been chaotic, hence the lack of blogging, but I've only got two IEPs left to write for the school year! Once those are done I'll have a lot more time on my hands to keep everyone up to date on this life of ours... 

1 - I'm making some serious progress on planning my sister's bridal shower. I've decided on a brunch at a local restaurant in Eric's home town. (It's actually the same place that we held our rehearsal dinner.) We picked Hornell because it's somewhat central for everyone involved & I can set up homebase at my mother in law's house for all of the prep work. 

2 - It's supposed to be 81 degrees today! That means that we have about a hundred subs in our building & I had to fight the urge to call in sick off with a sledgehammer. Oh how I wish I was in my lawn in new bikini - but alas I settled for open toed wedges & a tank top for work. That'll have to be summer-y enough until 3 p.m. 

3 - We're heading to the Lilac Festival tonight! Rochester is a city of festivals, and this is the one that kicks it all off. I'm not actually sure if there will be any lilacs, mainly because our weather has been a little too cold for them to bloom. I'm really going for the fried dough & food trucks though, so I'll be a happy camper with or without them. 

at the Lilac Festival in 2009... I feel like we were such kids!
and let's not even talk about those sunglasses... 

4 - I'm currently sitting here, trying to figure out how I can possibly take my study hall outside without getting in trouble for abandoning instructional duties. I want some sunshine & I want it now! If only our school had an amphitheater or outside classroom. Not practical in New York, but on days like this it'd be full! 

5 - This morning I put Ella in shorts for the first time since we were in Florida. She was so excited & kept reaching down to touch her bare legs. I wish I'd been able to get a video of it, but I was able to snap this photo of her... 

She's getting so big. I am astounded by her everyday - running around, kicking a soccer ball, showing me how she can snap. (She can't snap by the way, but she tries really hard & it's adorable.) I am so ready for summer vacation so I can spend every day with her. I just want to soak in all of her awesomeness... 
Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sunday Social

I haven't linked up for a Sunday Social in awhile, so I thought I'd pop in on this beautiful day to join in on the fun! 

1. Who do you call when you need to vent?

a card that I recently sent my sister... 
My sister. We're on the same page about pretty much everything & we're the only people in the world that can set one another straight without the other taking it too personally. 

2. Where do you go when you need alone time?

Quite honestly, my bathroom. It's the only room in the house with a lock on it! So I'll sometimes announce that I need to shower & end up drawing myself a bubble bath, locked in the sanctuary of my bathroom. Slightly pathetic, but I'm willing to bet I am not the only mom who does this! 

3. What is your favorite alone time activity?

Laying out in the sun. It's absolutely impossible for me to do with Ella at home, so I love to have a few hours to lay out by myself - reading magazines & sipping iced tea. 

4. What is something we should all stop and read right now?

The first article that I mentioned in Friday's post. Seriously scary shit. Read it now! 

5. Who do you wish would read your blog that doesn’t already? Family? Celeb?

Ummmm.... I don't really have an answer to this question. I get embarrassed when people I really know read the blog. I do wish that I was fashionable & well photographed enough to end up in Style Watch or InStyle though! 
Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Letter to the Bride...


One of my best childhood friends is getting married today. I won't be there. I wasn't invited. Trust me, I'm not shocked by this. She wasn't invited to my wedding either. But, it still makes me sad. 

I grew up with Kim. We were in the same Kindergarten class. I had play dates at her house and she was one of my first sleepovers. As time went on, we played soccer together & transitioned to middle school. Eventually she got her license & picked me up for school every day in the "man machine." She was the first person to ever get me drunk - on slow rum & coke - a combination that still makes me smile. Her house parties were legendary. 

Kim didn't have it easy. I was at her father's funeral. I watched her mom & her grow apart. I saw her have to find her own way & build her own support system. For a long time, my family was apart of that system as she worked at my parent's restaurant, which really isn't surprising because all of my friends worked by my side growing up. We were a pretty tight knit group all the way through graduation. 

I won't go into details on how our friendship ended. I will tell you that I said things that I know she didn't want to hear, and I will admit that it probably wasn't my place to say them either. At the time though, I was worried about her & felt I had to do something. Shortly after, she stopped working for my family & we've barely spoken since. I hate that it ended that way, 16 years worth of friendship, over after one conversation. I wish we'd made up after a couple of days, but we didn't. And after a certain amount of time goes by, you just don't know how to reach out... 

I know she's doing well. We still have mutual friends & we still follow one another on Facebook. She occasionally "likes" a picture of Ella, just as I do with her vacation pictures. Even though I'm not there today, I want her to know that I'm proud of her and I wish her all the best in the world. She's going to be a beautiful bride... 
Friday, May 2, 2014

Five on Friday

Happy Friday Everyone! I've got a whole to-do list sitting next to me, begging me to cross things off of it, but I wanted to pop in & share a few things with you, so let's get down to business... 

1 - This Article 
Take a minute to read this article. Then, take a minute to freak out. (Because I know I certainly did.) Then, follow the steps in the article to keep Apple from tracking your every single move. I had absolutely NO idea that they could track me that closely with my iPhone. I mean, it goes everywhere with me! I don't have anything to hide, but it creeps me out that the information exists. I feel like Katniss with a tracking device injected into my arm. 

2 - This Picture

It just makes me happy. My daughter is the best. She can turn any day around in a matter of seconds. Yesterday afternoon we went for a run & then played in the yard. Give the girl fruit snacks & sidewalk chalk and she's a happy camper! I cannot wait to spend my summer with her. Only 33 days til finals! Not that I'm counting or anything... 

3 - Next Year
This morning I received my teaching assignment for next year. It's a bit of a change in that instead of teaching ELA at seventh grade in a couple different settings, I'll be teaching all self-contained ELA all day long. I kind of knew it was coming & I'm actually pretty excited about it. I'll be looping up with my current students & know that I can do a lot with the curriculum. I'm also going to move classrooms (again) to the nicest room in the whole building. Score! 

4 - An Awesome Event 
If you're local to the Rochester area, check out this awesome event next weekend. My sister is a member of the Junior League & they're hosting a home tour in Pittsford. It's full of some of the most beautiful homes I've ever seen & I'm looking forward to attending myself next weekend! If you're interested, you can buy tickets at Wegmans. 

5 - Wishful Thinking... 

I am just dying for some warmer weather! I got teased with my trip to Orlando & a few random days of 80 degree weather. We're pretty consistently stuck in the mid-50's & I just want it to warm up! I'm really looking forward to wearing my maxi dresses & tank tops! 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Dear April, Where Did You Go?

I feel like the month of April just flew by... I woke up yesterday, excited that it was payday, but also very confused at where the past thirty days had gone. I have this feeling that as Ella gets older, I'm going to feel this way more often, so I'm going to start recapping each month here on the blog. Because really, I do this for me, and possibly to embarrass the living hell out of Ella when she gets older. 

In April, we... 

  • Went to our first friends' birthday parties! 

  • Got out the sidewalk chalk... 
  • Met the Easter Bunny

  • Helped Aunt Britt move into her new house! 

  • Got crafty... 

  • Went to the zoo! 

  • Went to the Strong Museum of Play! 

  • Celebrated Easter! 

  • Set up Ella's big girl bed! 
I know Ella... I'm exhausted just reading that too! 

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