Monday, February 29, 2016

8 Instagram Accounts That I Love to Follow (and you will too)

In a world obsessed with Instagram, these are the accounts I couldn't wouldn't want to live without...

@emilyanngemma


So the picture above doesn't do Emily's style justice, but I just had to choose one that featured her dog, Fitz. She's typically dressed to the nines in outfits I adore. I love that she's the perfect mix of casual & formal across a ton of price points! 

@magnoliahomestx



It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Fixer Upper & this account follows the behind the scenes of progress at Chip & JoJo's business. Other Fixer Upper accounts I love - @magnoliamarket & @harpdesignco.

@momfessionals


I just love Andrea's instagram account! It is filled with adorable pictures of her kids, her puppy, their daily life & Andrea's eclectic style. Her daughter, Griffin, is the real star though & I really wish Texas wasn't so far away because I think that her & Ella would be best friends!  

@muncher_cruncher 


This is my favorite fitness account! She posts a daily exercise move & every single one I've tried has kicked my ass! She also happens to be friends with Janae & I love to see the adventures they end up on together. 

@themrsgibby


Tara has impeccable style & mixes it up all the time. Her darling daughter - also named Olivia - is a total mini me with style for days too! I'm always looking to her for realistic style inspiration! 

@jillian.harris


So I started following Jillian Harris because of Love It or List It Too, and honestly had no idea she was a Bachelorette at the time. I'm well aware now... and love just about everything she does. See that necklace she's wearing in that picture? I'm wearing it right now too. I want to be be her. End of story. 

@rachparcell


I initially started following Rachel because of her amazing style, but I've quickly fallen in love with her daughter Isla, her dog Dasher, and her entire house! I love that she's so close with her sisters too & she's one of my absolute favorites on Snapchat too! 

@lindseypinegar


Oh Em Gee. I just love Lindsey Pinegar's kids! Her older daughters always have the most amazing little outfits on & Delaney (just a few weeks younger than my Olivia) is always adorable too! Their family adventures are some of my favorites to follow. You'll be instantly charmed by them, I just know it! 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday Favorites - Prepping for Spring

At this point, it's purely wishful thinking, but I'm remaining optimistic that spring is right around the corner. (Although, the 15 day forecast doesn't agree with me.) I know that many of you are already ditching your boots & coats, so I thought I'd share some of my favorites for spring today! 


Gradual Tanner Lotion 

I've always used Jergen's Gradual Tanner lotion to prep for spring & this year is no exception. After nearly getting blinded by my legs at the gym on Monday, I decided that it was time to start applying! I've only done two applications so far - one on Tuesday & one on Thursday - but the results speak for themselves. I have a nice warm glow (that sounds super cheesy, but it's true) and feel so much better about myself. It's seriously amazing what a little tan can do for a person! 

Working It Out

This week has been my highest mileage since I got pregnant with Olivia over a year ago. Let me tell you, my legs are on fire, but I feel so good about myself. I've had to do intervals this week, and will probably do them again next week, but I'm slowly gaining back my endurance. On top of cardio, I've also been doing a lot of leg, butt, and ab exercises. I'm pressed for time at the gym, so I've been doing these at home after I put the kids to bed. I mix things up with a bunch of moves I find online - usually from Pumps & Iron or Muncher Cruncher's Instagram. 

Summer Dresses

I have quite a few summer weddings to attend this year & am already scoping out options for dresses. I saw this Lush dress on  Tara Gibson's Instagram & fell in love with it! It's only $46 & the color seems to be even better in person. 


I'm also thinking of investing in Cassie Sugarplum's favorite dress since she always seems to be able to dress it up & down without issue. I just can't decide between black or hot pink. I LOVE a good black dress, but I have quite a few already, so I feel like hot pink is the better option. But I just love black dresses, so I'm torn. Help please! 

Hi Sugarplum | Trip Report: Miami Beach
source
Hi Sugarplum | {NYC} What I Packed
source

Essie's Mod Square


I've been sporting this Mod Square nailpolish on my fingers & toes all week long. It's been just the right punch of color to make me happy every day! 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

What's Up Wednesday - February 2016

I'm back again for another month of What's Up Wednesday with Shay, Mel, and Shaeffer! 


What we're eating this week... 

I made a ham dinner one night, then chicken & rice another night. The most exciting meal of the week has been Eric's homemade meatballs though! We just love when he makes those :) 

What I've been up to...

To read all about our adventures from our week off last week, you can check out this recap!

What I'm dreading...

I'm headed right into the busiest month of the year as a special education teacher. I have a ton of IEPs to write & CSE meetings to attend. The meetings themselves aren't that bad, it's all of the data collection and analysis that I'm dreading. I'll be spending the majority of my "free time" working on these! 

What I'm working on...


I'm back to working on my fitness! Now that cheer season is over, I have my afternoons to myself again. I've pushed back my pick up time at day care to 4:15, which gives me 45 minutes to get a work out in at our school's fitness center. I've also been doing my core work at home each night as I watch TV. I'm loving this workout that Pumps & Iron just posted! 


I've also been cleaning out my closet & listing a ton of items in my Tradesy & Poshmark closets! If you're looking for a deal on some gently used clothes, make sure to check it out! 

What I'm reading...


I'm a huge fan of book series & am just finishing up the last book of the McCarthys of Gansett Island. I really loved it, but would only recommend it if you love trashy romance novels the same way I do! 

What I'm excited about...

Well I know that last week was Winter Break, but I'm excited that we only have 5 weeks until Spring Break! We're taking a road trip to my parents' new house in Virginia & we can't wait to spend Easter there! Fingers crossed for some warm weather because this girl wants to wear sandals!


What I'm watching... 

Scandal is back! I'm super confused by the "family dynamic" between Olivia, Jake & Rowan but I'm loving it!

Olivia is confused too...
What I'm wearing... 

It's still COLD in New York, so I'm still in sweaters, boots, and long sleeves every day. I cannot wait for shorts, sandals & dresses! 

What I'm doing this weekend... 


We don't have anything too exciting planned. I'll be at Sectionals with the Varsity team on Saturday afternoon, but other than that I'll probably be home with the kids. My sister is leaving for Orlando on Saturday & we're puppy sitting for Barkley, so I'll probably have him glued to my side as I decorate the house for Easter!


What I'm looking forward to next month...


First & foremost, I'm looking forward to the weather starting to warm up a little! And of course there's our St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Eric's hometown. That's always one of my favorite days of the year & it'll be super exciting to have Olivia with us at the parade! I've also started pinning a bunch of St. Patrick's Day crafts for us to do together, even though I'm going to skip right ahead & decorate the house for Easter. 

Changes...

Change is hard. And lately, I've been drowning in a sea of it. Now that all of the people in real life know, I can finally share what has been going on the past few months here on the blog.

They say that the best things in life come from doing things that scare you. If that's the case my life is about to freakin' explode. Talking about it on the blog today...:

The first major change was dropped like a bomb on me in the middle of November. While sitting with my sister & mom, pleasantly crafting at the country house, my mom suddenly announced that she & my dad were moving to Washington D.C. Now, I've dealt with them moving before, but last time they were moving 3 hours away from us. This time, it's 7. That's a lot. And if you have read my blog for any length of time, you know how important my parents are to me. It's been a lot to process. 

Now that I'm adjusted to the idea, I'm happy for them. Living in New York is cold. My uncle lives in Richmond, about two hours from the house they've purchased. My kids will get to experience one of my favorite cities on a regular basis. And my dad will be able to golf year round. I think it's going to be a great move for them, and I can't wait to visit the new house for Easter. 

That alone was enough change for a season, but two weeks ago I found out that I'm leaving the school I teach at. I'll be moving from our middle school to an elementary building. It's an involuntary transfer, which basically means I was bumped out because of seniority. It's been a hard pill to swallow because I'm actually not the least senior special education teacher in our building, I'm the least senior special education teacher in the building who has the certifications to move to elementary. So basically, two people who have been here for half as long as I have get to stay & I have to leave. That sounds bitter as I type it, but I really love my building. My best friends work here & I'm extremely involved in extracurricular activities. It's going to be really hard to leave in June. 

Over break, I was able to take a step back & really think about the positives in the situation though. I still get to stay with one of my favorite bosses. I love teaching elementary school & will have a lot of opportunities to do "fun" stuff that isn't age appropriate for middle schoolers. I'll have bulletin boards, classroom themes, and field trips to look forward to. I'm definitely in a better place about it now. 

So, yeah, a lot is changing. It's going to be a wild year for our family. We'll just take it one step at a time. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Winter Break Recap 2016

Here it is, the Monday morning after Winter Break, and as always, I'm met with mixed emotions. Part of me was starting to crave the routine & structure of our daily lives. The other part of me wishes I could just sleep in, take the girls on adventures, and be a stay at home mom every day. One thing is certain though, we had a fantastic week off & we have even more fun in store this weekend - so I have nothing to complain about! 

Saturday: 

The girls were at Eric's mom's for the weekend, so I was able to get up & around without interruption before heading out to my last competition of the season. My team performed incredibly well & I was so proud of them - especially after all of the changes we'd made in the week leading up to it due to injuries . We got second by .35 - which is infuriating because all season long whenever we've gotten 2nd it's been by less than a point. 


I returned home from competition & snuggled in for a nap. Snow was falling & it was a cozy day with our fireplace lit up. I got my sorry butt up around 4:30 to "help" Eric with homemade Chicken Parmesan, and by help I mean I stole bites of fresh mozzarella every time his back was turned. Our dinner turned out delicious & I finished off the night watching Scandal in bed. (Side note - I'm really confused by what's going on with Olivia & Jake right now...) 

my plate of chicken parm #yum


Sunday:

We had brunch reservations for Valentine's Day at a restaurant we've never tried before - Hicks & McCarthy if you're interested. It had a diner feel to it, but had some upscale options like Lobster Eggs Benedict too. 


We followed up brunch with a romantic trip to Trader Joe's, where I got to pick out my own flowers then made another stop at Target. I mean, nothing says love like Target. 


While we were out, I got a text from my friend Linda asking if I wanted to go watch a bunch of our cheerleaders compete with their all-star teams that afternoon. Since I rarely get the chance to see them perform - they're usually traveling out of state - and I didn't have any kids, I jumped at the opportunity! We had such a good time & I got a ton of new ideas - because I'm a nut job & I'm already thinking about my routine for next year. 

Monday:

I slept in on Monday & then read my book in bed until close to 9. That never happens, so I soaked it all in. I finally got up, got dressed & headed out to pick up the girls at Eric's mom's house. There is nothing like a solo road trip when you're a mom. I listened to my own music, drank my tea, and relished in my final moments of peace! 

I got to Hornell & headed for my hair appointment with my favorite stylist. I still drive 1 1/2 to get my hair cut because I love her... and it's about $100 less expensive than it is in Rochester. #haircutsaintcheap Once I was finished with my appointment, I met Eric's mom at Liv's Clothing Exchange to do a little shopping for the girls. I shared with you on my Friday Favorite's post that I got 15 items for $40 - and they were all Gymboree, Old Navy, Gap, Carters, or Janie & Jack. They're also in impeccable condition! I couldn't believe we got such great deals, but I'll definitely be stopping back next time I'm in town! 

Around 2:30, I loaded up my girls & we headed back for Rochester! Normally on Mondays, we have dance class, but the studio was closed for winter break, so we just headed home to relax in our pajamas & eat a yummy dinner of leftover chicken parm.   

so happy to have them home on Monday night
Tuesday:

We woke up to about 10 inches on Tuesday morning & by the end of the storm, we had 22. The snow just wouldn't stop! Needless to say, we stayed in all day, Eric worked from home, and we caught up on all the snuggle time that we missed over the weekend! 



Wednesday:

By Wednesday morning, we were all ready to get out of the house. I got everybody ready, and we headed off to the library. The girls were in the car for about 3 minutes when I looked back & saw them both totally passed out. I'm not a fool, so I used the opportunity to drive thru Dunkin & read my book in the car while they slept. About 45 minutes later, Ella woke up & we headed in! 


This is a brand new library & it was our first time going. I was blown away by how nice it is! We'll definitely be frequenting it this summer! 



Ella picked out a bunch of princess books & a few CDs to listen to in the car, then played with the kitchen, the puzzles, and anything else she could get her hands on. Around 11, I coaxed her out with the promise of lunch at Tom Wahl's and we headed off to the mall! 

My mission for the shopping trip was twofold - 

  1. Get Ella clothes that fit her. She's gone through a SERIOUS growth spurt & is wearing all 5T clothes now. I have no idea how this happened, but she's suddenly so tall & skinny. 
  2. Find outfits for St. Patrick's Day. I waited until the last minute last year & had to scramble. Not this year though, we're all set! 

We shared a cheeseburger & fries for lunch, threw pennies in the fountain, rode the caursoel and watched some shows in the stroller - all while I was getting my steps in for the day! 


Thursday:

Thursday was an early morning because we had to be at the doctor's office at 9 for Livy's booster shot. It was a super quick appointment though, and then we were off to The Strong for the day. But first, we had to pick up my helper for the day, Emma! 


The Strong is awesome for kids & Ella's favorite part is always the kid sized Wegmans that they have set up. She could stay there all day & do her shopping! 


She also loved the story book section & climbed Jack's Bean Stalk at least 10 times! 

Friday:

We woke up on Friday morning with nothing to do until 4 p.m., so I made chocolate chip pancakes for Ella & let her play in her PJs while I did some work for school. Livy played on the floor & it was super low key. 



Around lunch time, I knew I needed to get us packed for our weekend at the country house, so I started a load of laundry, put Ella in the tub, and then down for her nap. She slept until 3 while Livy snoozed in her swing & I got us all ready to go. 

We hopped in the car at 4, filled up on gas, swung through DD, then headed to pick up Aunt Britt for our road trip! We hadn't been to the country house since Christmas, so there was a whole lot of excitement in the car. 

We picked up pizza from our favorite spot in Hornell, then pulled in about 3 minutes after my parents arrived. At that point, all hell broke loose & pandemonium ensued. 

Saturday & Sunday: 

On Saturday we ran to Wegmans to get some food - since we keep next to nothing at the country house in the winter - and Livy got to ride in the truck cart for the first time! Ella was so excited about it! 


Once we got back to the house, we decided it was probably time for us to take down the Christmas tree. Ella was determined to climb the ladder & help her Gramps...


We had dinner with my grandma that night, but other than that all we did was snuggle & watch shows together. We had really missed my parents these past few weeks. 

We left for Rochester around 10 & made a quick pit stop at Costco to pick up some essentials. They were passing out samples of cheesecake & I wish I had a picture of Ella's face. She loved it! She's definitely a girl after my own heart. 

Once at home, I worked on some school work while Eric kept an eye on the girls. Then, I packed us up & got the car loaded for heading back to school. I just love low key Sundays when I have the chance to prep for the week - so it was the perfect ending to my break! 

Happy Monday! 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday Favorites from Winter Break

How is it that break weeks always go the fastest? I have no idea how it's already Friday, but I'm okay with it because that means we're headed to the country house to see my parents! I've heard there is lots of snow & they have a great sledding hill, so I'm sure there will be tons of fun had by all. 


Even though it doesn't feel like spring at all, I was able to get some spring shopping done for myself & the girls while we were off. I was surprised that Gap Kids already had a ton of their early spring line on sale, plus 30% off, so I snagged a few things for dirt cheap. My favorite was this top that Ella picked out for herself! She jumped out of the stroller & said, "what do you think mama?" And since she loved it so much, she wore it the next day to The Strong with her favorite pink Doc Martens & boyfriend jeans. 



Side note - She is now wearing a 5T! I cannot believe she's gotten so big on me! 

In other shopping news, Eric's mom won a $50 gift card to a local kids consignment shop & gave ti to me to do some shopping with while I was in town on Monday. I was able to find some really cute stuff - all of it either Gymboree, Gap Kids, or Janie & Jack. I didn't even know this place existed until she told me about it, but I will definitely be checking it out again. It isn't very often that I can get 15 quality items for under $40! 




These purple jeans that Livy is wearing were only$2.99 & they're Gap! 


St. Patrick's Day is a HUGE deal in Eric's hometown & it's also Eric's mom's birthday weekend, so we always go home for the festivities. I wanted to make sure I had our outfits squared away early this year so I wasn't scrambling the weekend before like I did last year, so I made it my mission to get it taken care of this week! I found this top for Ella, this onesie to go with the St. Patrick's Day tutu Ella wore when she was a baby, and this awesome shirt from Taylor's line for myself! I just love supporting small businesses & thought this shirt was perfect for St. Patty's in Hornell! 



I've been loving having both girls in the double stroller without the carseat attachment this week! Livy thinks she is hot stuff & Ella just loves to look over at her & make her laugh! 



I was worried that Livy wouldn't nap all that well in it, but nope, she slept in the middle of The Strong yesterday, so I think she likes it. 


And speaking of The Strong, we brought our favorite cheerleader to the museum with us yesterday to help out! Eric was supposed to go with us, but is in the middle of a huge project at work & couldn't get off, so we recruited Emma instead! She was so helpful & is going to be watching the girls a bit this summer too, so expect to see lots more of her around here! 


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Show & Tell - Favorite Pins

So I got so excited about our Snow Day, I almost forgot I had this post started! And since Pinterest is one of my favorite ways to pass waste time, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share some of my favorite pins with you all! 

Favorite Style Pins:

I'm so over winter, so I'm sharing my favorite summer outfits! First up, I love these patterned shorts with a simple striped shirt. Definitely copying this look when it warms up! 

Mix It Up - love this combination of bright patterned shorts with striped top:

Slouchy but polished shorts are a staple of my summer wardrobe, so this pin spoke to my heart right away! I love how the sweater pulls it together, but you can tell she's super comfy.

 :

And last but certainly not least, one of my go-to's for style inspiration is Cassie from Hi, Sugarplum. I have so many of her outfits pinned, but her simple summer style is my favorite! I actually just ordered this same dress after reading about how she styled it yet again for her trip to Miami. If a dress is that versatile, it needs to be in my closet! 

Sugarplum Style, Vol. 13:

Favorite Dessert Pins: 

I'll admit, I pin lots of dinner ideas, but I actually make dessert pins. These two are my absolute favorites of everything I've made in the past 3 years! 

Bar 80: Marshmallow Peeps S'mores:

Cream puff cake- THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE DESERTS OF ALL TIME. I could eat a whole cake to myself.     Rating: 10/10.:
Favorite Home Pins: 

We do not live in our forever home right now, but that doesn't stop me from pinning all of the things I'd like to have in my forever home! I love the idea of having an outdoor living space & this is one of my favorite ways I've seen it done. It's covered, but open, and has a fireplace for 'smores on summer nights. #someday #agirlcandream

Outdoor covered patio with fireplace, great addition idea. LOVE this!! What a beautiful place to hang out.:

I also love to pin kitchens & have dreams of an open, airy space that my whole family can gather in someday. Pretty much anything you'd see on Fixer Upper would fit the bill, but I love this kitchen too! 

Big island with breakfast area! Like this arrangement better than typical with bar stools:

Favorite Workout Pins: 

My favorite workout pins tend to be HIIT workouts & strength training related. I'm pretty knowledgeable about cardio and can put together my own workouts, but I love getting new ideas from Pinterest for strength training & ab work. With that said, I just love this cardio boot camp workout & do it all the time in the summer. 

Cardio Boot Camp Workout:

This is one of my favorite workouts to do, but more importantly anything by Pumps & Iron is awesome! She knows her stuff & is easy to follow. 


Thanks Ericka & Andrea for hosting this link up! It's always fun to share with everyone! 

Snow Day!

If I wasn't on Winter Break, today would have been a snow day. We already have 12 inches & we're expecting a total of 18 to 24 by the time the storm passes. I'm not really all that bothered by it because I have nowhere to be, Eric is safely working from home, and it's actually ridiculously pretty outside our windows right now. After a super mild winter, this is the first real New York snow we've had, so I'm embracing it, yet hoping it'll be our only this winter! #fingerscrossed


I'll be back with our Valentine's Day recap tomorrow, but for now I'm headed to make some hot cocoa & snuggle with my girls! Oh, and if you're stuck inside, try this awesome HIIT workout that I put together for a snow day last year! I know I'll be doing it during naptime!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday Favorites

This week has been one of my favorite weeks of the year at my school & today it culminates with my favorite assembly - The Groundhog Olympics! The cheerleaders are performing & I organized a flash mob for the faculty, so it's going to be a good time! 

We started the week off with TV Day, and I went as Jillian Michaels from the Biggest Loser. I didn't get any pics though. #fail On Tuesday, we had Sports Day though & I got a pic with Lexi in our Bills gear! 


Yesterday was hat day & Ella was totally intrigued about why I had a hat on. When I explained it to her, she said "I have a hat too!" and insisted on wearing it. Granted, she totally forgot about it by the time we got to Miss Jennie's & left it in the car, but at least I got to take a cute pic with her. :) 


And some of my other kids in their hats too...


We also had a fundraiser for Dreams for Drake, which was an all-you can eat dessert bar on Thursday! Two words people - canoli dip. It will change your life. This is just one of three tables full of desserts that we had set up! 


And added to all of the spirit week chaos, Ella & Olivia have their Valentine's Day party at Miss Jennie's today! I just loved seeing them all dressed up when I dropped them off this morning! 



Seriously, the cutest crew around! I didn't have time to go all out for Valentine's this year, but that was fine with Ella because she wanted the cheap Disney Princess Valentine's anyways :) 

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel - two classes, one practice, and one competition separate me from February Break! I cannot wait to sleep in this weekend, catch up on my shows, and hit the gym. It's going to be great! Happy Friday! 
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