Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! I absolutely love this day of the year! I get to spend the entire day with people that I absolutely love, eating food that I absolutely love, and reflecting on how extremely blessed I am. 

Currently, I am lounging in my pajamas in my parents' living room, waiting for the parade to start. We don't cook dinner at our house, we go to my Grandma's, but the smells from the kitchen are still amazing. We have cinnamon rolls cooking & bacon frying - two of my favorites. I can't go overboard with breakfast though, because I've been dreaming of turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing since Sunday. Thus, I'm going to wear leggings & an oversized sweater to dinner, then stuff myself to the gills. Don't worry though, I've been tripling up on Jazzercise all week (Goldberg's reference - if you don't watch the show, you should) & found this article to help me fight off my food hangover. Tomorrow will be radio silence on the blog, as I'll be out shopping til I drop. See you all on Monday !

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Picking the Perfect Christmas Card

My family (most specifically my husband) will tell you that every year, I get a little too worked up over designing our family Christmas card. It starts when I start planning our outfits for family pictures in September, then escalates when I get the pictures back & begin to pick which ones to use in the card. What happens in between those two episodes though, is that I scour every site known to man searching for the perfect Christmas card. I always end up picking about 20 possibilities, then narrowing it down once our family photos are in.

This year, I was dead set on having a card with a foil design. I loved everything about them. They were shiny, classic, and totally my style. I was going to have a foil card this year – end of story.

Then, we got our pictures back, and the laid back, playful vibe of our pictures didn’t mesh with any of the foil designs I'd picked. What I'd loved just a day earlier, suddenly seemed so formal with our photos in place. I was crushed. (OK, maybe that’s a bit of hyperbole, but I was definitely disappointed.)  And I felt like I was back at square one, scouring the Tiny Prints website for new ideas. Thankfully, there are literally hundreds to choose from.

To streamline the process, I asked myself these five questions…  
  1. 1.       Am I doing a holiday card or a Christmas card?
  2. 2.      Do I want formal or playful? Traditional or unique? 
  3. 3.      How many photos do I want to put on the card?
  4. 4.      What is my price range?
  5. 5.      Do I want to add anything extra?

Question #1:
I’m a Christmas person, so even though I really loved some of the holiday cards, like this one, I really felt strongly that I wanted a Christmas card. Not necessarily one with scripture, but one that honored the season.

Question #2:
Like I said, formal was out this year. Our pictures just weren’t formal. They needed a more laid back card, which is why this one, this one, and this one – were contenders. I also knew that though I absolutely love cards that turn themselves into ornaments - Eric really wanted a traditional card. So that's what I went with, it is his Christmas card too after all... a fact that I've forgotten in the past, which has gotten me in trouble.

Question #3:
Normally, I’m a fan of multiple photos. Last year, I did two photos on the front, then a collage of 16 on the back. Yes, sixteen. This year, I opted for a less is more approach & decided to put my absolute favorite family picture on the front, and then put my second favorite on the back. I kept playing around with a few collages on the back, thinking that if I have all of these gorgeous pictures, I should use them. Then, I decided that I should stick with what I love for the card & post everything else on Facebook once the cards have gone out. 

Question #4:
I try to be pretty reasonable with my Christmas cards, and since we sent out at least 50 every year, I have to stay on budget. Thankfully, Tiny Prints & Shutterfly offer huge discounts on Christmas cards, starting as early as September. (Remember, the early bird gets the worm people!) The card I chose ended up being so reasonably priced with the discount that I was able to add envelope liners to my order! Which leads me to question #5…

Question #5:
I always love when I open a piece of mail & can tell that the sender has really gone the extra mile. For instance, when I open mail from an Etsy shop & see colorful tissue paper or a few hair ties thrown in. I’m big on presentation. If I had an unlimited budget, I’d have envelope liners, metallic envelopes, and matching address labels. Alas, I am on a budget so this year I decided just to add the liners to the plan white envelopes, but OMG – what a difference it made!

Our cards have just arrived and I’m totally in love!

If you find my tutorial a little too complex, because really I may be overthinking the whole thing... check out this one from Tiny Prints that streamlines the whole process from start to finish! 
Monday, November 24, 2014

Favorite Things Party - Stocking Stuffer Edition

Today I am linking up with Andrea & Erika for their Favorite Things Party! I love this link up because everything featured has to be under $10 & that fits everyone's budget. Normally, there isn't a theme, but today, I'm making my own - stocking stuffers for every girl on your list. 

Idea #1 - Mentha Lip Balm

This is my absolute favorite lip balm & it has been for years now. I love the minty taste & how it leaves my lips feeling. I'm not a gloss girl, but they have glosses too. 

Idea #2 - OPI Nail Polish

I know that we all have our favorite brand of nailpolish. Mine is OPI. This color - Cajun Shrimp - is my absolute favorite too. I've gone through multiple bottles over the years & can never have enough. 

Idea #3 - Bamboo Tongs

You might be laughing over this one, I know I was confused when I first got them as a gift, bu they're amazing. I use mine all of the time & would be stoked to get another set. These bamboo tongs are perfect for fishing things out of the toaster & just as perfect for turning chicken nuggets in the convection oven. 

Idea #4 - Fuzzy Socks

I've never met a woman who doesn't love fuzzy socks. Even the chicest fashionistas love a good fuzzy sock underneath their over the knee boots. They simply can't be beat. These ones from Old Navy come in at only $5 too! 

Idea #5 - Starbucks Gift Card 

Not everyone likes to give gift cards, but personally, I always love to receive them, so I never mind giving them. Starbucks is one of my go-tos because I know that a lot of people see Starbucks as a special treat, not as something they drive thru & get every morning. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday Everyone! This week has flown right by. I've been so busy with practices, parent teacher conferences, meetings, and such that I have no idea how it is already Friday, but I'll certainly take it! This weekend is a rare occasion - we have nothing to do! Eric was supposed to go to the Bills game on Sunday, but since The Ralph is buried under 6 feet of snow, they moved the game to Detroit... and Eric isn't going to Detroit. 

Even though Buffalo, which is only an hour away from us, got 6 feet of snow, we ended up with less than a foot. It has been COLD and we've had some icy drives this week, but all in all we lucked out. Although, I will say Eric is dying to use his new snow-blower & it's killing him that we are only getting shovel amounts. 

Moving on to my favorite things of the week... 

I saw this salt & pepper shaker set at Pottery Barn last weekend & just loved it! I don't have a kitchen that is easily decoratable. I basically have a little space on my counter & my windowsill over the sink. I dream about having Shay or Andrea's kitchen.... but alas mine is tiny, so I'm always looking for small ways to decorate it for the holidays. These were perfect, so I snagged them while they were 20% off. PS - they still are! 

I now own this sweater in 2 colors. I love that it's long enough to wear with leggings & high boots. It's also loose enough that I can layer another long sleeved shirt under it on extra frigid days, since my classroom is typically chilly. It's not on sale today, but knowing LOFT, it'll be 50% off again in no time! 
leggings - Anthropologie // sweater - LOFT // necklace - Nordstrom // boots - MIA

You all know about my love for Gymboree. Ella wears their clothing all of the time & it's some of the best quality I've found for her size. Well, everything on their site is 50% off today & I'm just in love with their Polar Pink collection! I want to buy it all for Miss Ella. I mean how cute are these little ones?! 

And my last favorite of the day is this recipe! I love all things Fettucine Alfredo and I love crockpot meals too, so this was right up my alley. If you're looking for something yummy (albeit not at all healthy) to make over this cold winter weekend, here you go! 

Recipe Found Here

Have a Great Weekend & Stay Warm! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday - Plaid Edition

I hadn't intended for there to be a theme to today's post, but once I started pulling all of the photos together, I discovered that I have been wearing A LOT of plaid lately. Luckily, so has the rest of the world, so I don't think anyone will care. The weather has taken a turn for the cold, so you'll notice that I'm wearing my winter staples regularly - boots, leggings, scarves, and layers - it's the only way I make it through winter. 

On Friday, I woke up to a cold snap. The beautiful weather we'd experienced earlier in the week was clearly gone & I made the executive decision to wear my scarf all day long. Cozy as could be... 

scarf - Crystal Feather Boutique // jeans - J.Crew // shirt - J.Crew
 watch - Coach // wedges - Target

On Saturday, I made another executive decision - leggings. I didn't put a pair of jeans on all weekend. I rotated between sweatpants & leggings. Now, I did have the good sense to follow the advice of Shaeffer & wore a tunic with my leggings. I love this one that I stole out of my mom's closet because it's heavy enough to be warm, but not bulky. I also covers my booty & looked great with the scarf I stole from her closet too. (That's what moms are for, right?) 
scarf - Target // sweatshirt - LOFT // leggings - Cozy Orange
boots - Steve Madden // bag - Michael Kors
Another shopping outfit... this time with my new red vest. I love these vests from Old Navy because they aren't too bulky and I don't feel like a marshmallow in them. I also love my new flannel - another suggestion from Shaeffer, who has basically become my shopping guru this fall season. 
leggings - Cozy Orange // boots - Steve Madden // scarf - Target
watch - Coach // vest - Old Navy // shirt - Old Navy 

I mentioned this outfit in yesterday's post, but I'm still loving my new side zip sweatshirt from Kipling. Don't forget to RSVP to their holiday event if you are in the NYC area this Thursday, Friday, or Saturday! 
boots - MIA // jeans - Old Navy // sweatshirt - Kipling // scarf - Crystal Feather Boutique

As I mentioned in my Friday Favorites post, I was so excited for this sweater to come in! When I wore it to work yesterday everyone kept asking me if I had it made by the same person who did my monogram sweatshirt (which was another big hit). I also have to say, that I got these white bootcut jeans from J.Crew two Christmases ago & they've been so versatile. I really wasn't sure about white jeans at first, but I wear them all year long & can pair them with just about anything. 
sweater - J.Crew // shirt - J.Crew // boots - American Eagle // pants - J.Crew

**this post contains sponsored links from Kipling**
Monday, November 17, 2014

Kipling Holiday Tour

Have you heard about the #KiplingHoliday Tour? It's free, family-friendly, and anyone can go! All you have to do is RSVP here. All guests will be welcomed by a full spectrum of holiday cheer & event highlights include: 

  • a Kipling Holiday Collection show wall
  • on-site monogramming
  • gift-wrapping 
  • personalized sweets
  • photo booths
  • giveaways
  • holiday DIY inspiration
  • live music 
I'm so excited for the event & want to make sure that you don't miss out, so be sure to RSVP ASAP! I mean who isn't a sucker for a monogram & sweets? And let's not lie, you know you don't want to pass up free sweets & prizes! Take some time for yourself, or bring the kids along, this is an event you don't want to miss! 

Leading up to the event, Kipling was kind enough to allow me to select from their new arrivals & I had such a difficult time choosing! They have so many amazing bags & luggage to choose from... plus they have clothes! Knowing that we just got luggage for Christmas last year & that Eric may kill me if I buy another handbag, I decided to go with this adorable side-zip quilted sweatshirt! (But trust me, I was very tempted to order one of their bags!)

My sweatshirt (now sold out) just came & I'm obsessed with it. The blue is a hue that I don't have any of in my closet, and it matches my favorite plaid scarf perfectly. I paired it with skinny jeans in this pic, but it would be perfect with leggings too! I know that I'll be wearing it a lot this winter! Thanks Kipling! 

**This post was sponsored by Kipling. I was compensated for my time, but all reviews & opinions are my own.** 

Weekend Recap

Another weekend's over. That means we're another weekend closer to my sister's wedding & another weekend closer to Christmas!! I'm equally excited for both. 

As I mentioned last week, since we couldn't make our normal Veteran's Day trip to Saratoga, we decided to go this weekend instead. So on Friday afternoon, my sister picked up Ella & I to make the 4 hour drive. I'll be honest - the drive sucked. Ella didn't sleep at all. We had McDonald's for dinner. Ughh... the whole thing was just gross. But waking up at my parents' house always makes it worth it. 

The main reason for our trip was to have my sister's final dress fitting. Obviously, I can't share any pictures with you, but she looks so beautiful in it! Angela's Bridal in Albany has been amazing throughout the entire process and we were in & out without a hassle on Saturday, which is very appreciated when you have the two year old flower girl with you. 

Once we had our mission complete, we headed off on other adventures... like shopping. We had only been in the mall for about 20 minutes when Ella started asking for a blankie, which means that she wants to take a nap. I didn't have a blankie with me, so I had to sacrifice my scarf... 

Ella slept for 2 hours, which made shopping absolutely glorious. We stopped at Starbucks for their buy one, get one free holiday drinks... 

And then we got a ton of shopping done! We snagged the last Doc Mobile left at Toys R Us & I found flannel sheets for Ella's toddler bed at PB Kids. I also picked up a few plates for her at PB kids, including an Elf on the Shelf one that I plan to use at our Elf Welcome Breakfast! Once Ella woke up, we headed to Macy's to find my sister a new coat. (They had an amazing sale & she ended up getting a Michael Kors coat at 40% off!) While she shopped, Ella & I went to write a letter to Santa! 

And then we faced the daunting task of trekking all the way back across the mall. I absolutely hate when that happens! But... we made it back to the car with smiles on our faces. 

I was exhausted by the time we made it home, to the point that I would've been happy ordering pizza. Mom had other plans though & I got us freshened up for dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants - Bentley's - which has some of the best chicken wings ever (and trust, I know a lot about chicken wings.) 

Sunday was far more low key. We got up, played around the house, and read the paper. As everyone started to get hungry, we bundled up & headed to Cracker Barrel. Now, I know Cracker Barrel is a chain & normally I'm all about the diner breakfast experience - but those biscuits are heaven...

After breakfast we repacked the car & headed back to Rochester. I had high hopes that Ella would take a long nap because I know she was exhausted, but nope. Homegirl slept for all of 45 minutes then proceeded to cast spells on us with her Sofia the First wand the rest of the way. After these trips this weekend, I've finalized my decision that I just can't travel with her by myself anymore. I had to entertain her 75% of the time while my sister drove. I don't know how single parents do it. 

We finally made it back home... and we didn't unpack a single thing. My house is currently a disaster. But I'm fine with it, because I got to eat take out pizza, in my sweats, while watching football with my hubs. So worth it... 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday Everyone! I woke up to some seriously cold weather this morning. My car had snow on the windshield for the first time this year & my weather app told me that it felt like 16 degrees outside. #brrr I guess that means I'm just going to have to buy more sweaters ;) 

Ella, my sister, and I are headed to my parents' house in Saratoga after work this afternoon. I'm not really looking forward to the drive, but I am looking forward to seeing my sister in her wedding dress at her final fitting tomorrow morning! Her wedding is officially less than a month away! I can't even handle the excitement. 

Moving on to other things I'm excited about... 

#1 - 

OMG! I'm obsessed with this sweater from J.Crew. I knew that I had to have it the second I laid eyes on it! Luckily, I snagged it at 30% off with free shipping & then used my holiday rewards card. It ended up being $40, which I think is totally reasonable for a J.Crew sweater. I can't wait for it to arrive so that I can wear it!

#2 - 

Last week we were all raving about our love for Taylor's new album, 1989. I am still raving about that. I have it on repeat in the car, at home, while I'm grading at school... in love. Then, my friend Kaylee texted me to tell me that I needed to YouTube the video for Blank Space immediately. OMG. Just when I thought I couldn't love Taylor any more, she goes & puts this masterpiece together. If you haven't watched it yet. You must. 

#3 - 

I am in love with this outfit from Maureen aka The Northeast Girl. It popped upon my Instagram feed this morning & I was immediately obsessed. I've been debating the purchase of red Hunter boots, and I think this just solidified my decision. I need them. And the sweater from Banana - I will most definitely be adding that to my collection. It was 16 degrees this morning after all! 

#4 - 

boots - Old Navy // sweater - Old Navy // leggings - Gap

And then there's the minifashionista that inhabits my household. I told you on Wednesday that she wanted to take pictures with me. Well, this morning she wanted me to take just her picture. #diva I just had to oblige because she really is just adorable. Her boots were originally purchased to wear underneath her flower girl dress at my sister's wedding while we're taking outside pictures, but I couldn't resist letting her wear them with this sweater. Love her! 

Have a Great Weekend! 
Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday

So... I've really been slacking in the picture taking department lately. I've worn several outfits in the past couple weeks that we blog-worthy - one that even prompted a friend to ask, "Why didn't you put that on Instagram? You look awesome today." But... it's so dark in the morning & by the time I get home at night, it's so dark again. I have did manage to wrangle up two outfits to share today & I'm leaving you with a promise that I'll try harder! 

jeans - Old Navy // shoes - Sperry // sweatshirt - Crystal Faye // shirt - J.Crew Factory

On Fridays, we get to wear jeans to school & I always take full advantage! I'm not the type of girl to throw them on with a school hoodie & sneakers though. But... on this particular day, it was cold & all I wanted to do was wear a sweatshirt. So, I decided to layer my Crystal Faye Monogram sweatshirt over my favorite gingham shirt & throw on my Sperrys. OMG - it was preppy to the max. I got so many compliments on the shirt/crewneck sweatshirt combination & I was beyond comfy. 

And as a sidenote... Ella has this same sweatshirt in her size. We haven't worn them together yet, but the day is coming soon! I can't resist twinning with my mini-me! 

boots - Steve Madden // skirt - Gap // sweater - LOFT 
Then there's today... I was in a neutral mood. I'm wearing completely old pieces that I pulled out randomly & threw together to come up with this. Some days... you just have to go with it! 

And just a funny sidenote... Ella was all about getting into the #ootd pictures today! She was insistent that I take our picture together. Future fashionista? I think so... 

yes... she only has one shoe on. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Who Puts Veteran's Day on a Tuesday?

That was the question asked by my students yesterday. Why in the world would we have Tuesday off, but go to school on Monday & have to be back on Wednesday. So after a talk on why Veteran's Day is on November 11th (FYI - the date was chosen because it's the day the Armistice was signed to end World War I) & why our school couldn't just give us a random day off... we got on with our Monday. But if I'm being honest, I'm right there with the kids.

WTF! I have to work today! I can't go away for a long weekend?! Ugh... 

Those were the thoughts that played through my head, not yesterday morning, but when I got our 2014-2015 calendar way back in May. Because normally, I spend Veteran's Day as a long weekend at my parents' house in Saratoga. 

our adventures at Ikea...

Last year, we took a big trip to Paramus to shop at Ikea & the Nordstrom clearance sale. We started our Christmas shopping, and planning for my sister's wedding - which seemed forever away back then but is only 31 days away now!! 

But this Veteran's Day, Ella & I are riding solo. I haven't completely ironed out my plans for the day yet, other than the fact that I have to be at practice from 4 to 6. We may go out & do some more Christmas shopping. We may stay at home & play all day. We'll see where this random Tuesday off takes us... and this weekend we'll head off to Saratoga to visit my parents. 
Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday Musings...

  • Are you at school today? Please tell me that my school isn't the only district in the nation that is working today. It makes absolutely no sense that I'm here right now, but I'm off on Tuesday. That's why I made an executive decision - I'm wearing jeans in protest & treating today as a Friday.
  • I spent my Saturday covered in glitter, completing Pinterest projects for my sister's wedding. This was the first time in history that I've been thankful Pinterest didn't exist when I got married. Yes, everything looks awesome, but it was a lot of work... and we've seen my daughter's birthday parties. I tend to go overboard. 
  • I have half of my Christmas shopping done! Yes, you read that right. 50% of all my shopping is done. And what's even better? I got it all wrapped too. Since Ella can't be trusted with presents in sight and we have zero storage space left at our house, all presents are currently being kept at school. It's really a convenient little system. If I buy it, I leave it in the car & then bring it into school. If I order it, I have it shipped to my building. I ran to Target yesterday, picked up a few wrapping supplies, and when I got to work this morning (which is always an hour earlier than I have to be) I busted through the gifts I have in my possession! So excited to be ahead of the game!
  • Speaking of Christmas gifts, I plunged into dangerous waters & bought Ella a few things from CrewCuts! They were majorly on sale & I can't wait to see her sporting some mini-J.Crew. Now if only these pajamas would go on sale! 
  • Today is the start of winter season, and even though I told you all about my impending resignation, I still ended up getting promoted. So... I'll be coaching the JV team this season. These are girls that I absolutely love & have been with for awhile now. I'm hoping they'll give me an amazing send off season!
  • And I was really hoping to share a sneak peek of our family photos today... but still nothing. Fingers crossed I get to see them soon! 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Friday Favorites

It's Friday! I woke up doing a little happy dance because even though this week went relatively quickly, I've been looking forward to this weekend since last weekend ended. We're headed to my parent's country house to have a craft day for my sister's wedding. It's basically going to be a bunch of my favorite people in one room, eating good food, and talking about my sister's wedding. So exciting! 

Favorite #1: 

I decided not to do another Halloween post this week because I had already posted a million pictures of our trip to Zoo Boo. But we did have an awesome Halloween night, trick or treating with Eric's mom. She had pizza from our favorite place in his hometown & even though we went out to a few houses on her street, Ella was perfectly content to help her Grammy pass out candy on the porch! This is my favorite picture from the night... 

Favorite #2: 

Ok, I know I said I wasn't going to do a whole Halloween recap and I'm not. But this next picture is just too cute not to share... 

I absolutely love that Ella has the best day care in the world. She truly loves Miss Jennie. We walk in the door & her BFF Addy runs right up to her and hugs her. I mean how cute is that? Last Friday, we had to take a picture of them in their Halloween outfits, which I'm glad we did because their costume picture, while absolutely hysterical, wasn't exactly frame worthy this year! 

I find it absolutely hysterical that none of them are smiling... 

Favorite #3: 

I've been loving my fall nails! I wore this dark blue for Sectionals & just loved that it came out with a matte finish. Then once I took that off, I didn't go back to my standard unpainted nails, but put a nude polish on them. Maybe having painted nails will be my new thing... 

Favorite #4: 

I really wish that I could have fresh flowers in my house all of the time. I was lucky enough to receive a bouquet twice this cheer season & I've loved having them around the house. This bouquet was the Varsity team after Sectionals. It was ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS. I put it in my Farmhouse Pitcher from Pottery Barn then made it a part of my fall table. I just love it! 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Britt's Bridal Shower

This past weekend, I had the honor of hosting my sister's bridal shower. I have been planning this event for months, and to see it all come together was incredibly exciting. My mom is meticulous about details and I'm a Pinterest junkie. Everyone knows this. Thus, there were high expectations. 

We held the shower at Marino's on Loder, which is the same space that I had my rehearsal dinner in. The food is always excellent, and the dining room was just the right size for us. After having two events here, I can't recommend it enough. 

As for the details, I'll let the pictures to the talking... 

the mimosa station

We had a candy bar for all of our guests!

only my sister would be this excited about a vacuum...

My sister has a Bichon Frise, so we had these cupcakes made to surprise her!

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