Thursday, July 25, 2013

Embrace the Camera: Week 10

It's been awhile since M and I embraced the camera together. Over a month! Figured it was time for another installment.

This was this past Sunday after church in our backyard. 
I just love her to pieces. She's 9 months old today (post coming soon!), and I cannot believe she's been here for almost as long on the outside as she was on the inside. The past 9 months have gone by in a flash, but I also feel like she's been here forever. Funny how that works!

Also, if we're not instagram friends, then you haven't seen my new do! I chopped off almost 10 inches last week in a split moment decision. I couldn't take the blow drying anymore in this heat. I'm loving this new and lighter look!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Getting my "fix"

Months and months ago, I saw a blog post by a "big" blogger about an online styling company called StitchFix. I read her review, and was very impressed by it all, but at the time, I was still teaching and newly pregnant, and new, non-maternity clothes weren't really on my radar.

Fast forward about sixteen months, and here I am, a new mom, and my wardrobe is pretty much the same thing. A combo of yoga pants and running shorts paired with tank tops or tees, and then some bright 5" shorts with the same combo of tees and tanks. And pretty much all of this comes from either Target or Old Navy with a few tees from Gap. I occasionally throw in some white jeans in the summer, but that's about it. This is a great wardrobe for around the home and running errands or playdates with the baby, but I was beginning to want some nicer items for when I get the chance to go out on a date with my husband, or when I get to have a night out with friends. I had pieces like this from the past, but as most new moms would tell you, stuff just doesn't fit the same.

Breastfeeding has been my best friend, and I've managed to lose all my pregnancy weight plus some in the almost nine months since M was born. But my rib cage expanded, my chest is larger, and miraculously, my bottom is actually smaller. All of these things mean that some of my favorite clothing items from life before baby, just don't fit the bill anymore. In addition to this, I don't have the time (or fashion sense) to take myself to the mall to pick out nice pieces for my wardrobe. The thought of doing that with a nine month old is daunting.

Enter...Stitch Fix! My blogging buddy Meaghan recently blogged and tweeted about her experience with them, and I recalled reading about them months ago from that other "big" blogger. After hearing how much Meaghan loved it, I decided to give it a shot. What did I have to lose?

If you haven't heard about Stitch Fix, here's how it works...they are a personal styling company who take your style preferences and sizes, and mail you five items tailored to your needs and likes. You answer dozens of questions about your style preferences, likes & dislikes, and then you arrange a "fix." For $20, they mail you your five items, you try them on in your own home, and then you mail back what you don't like (no extra charge for the return shipping), and keep what you love and you're charged for. Best of all, your $20 styling fee can be applied to anything you choose to keep. So if you have a $70 top you end up keeping, you end up paying $50. AND, I should add, you choose when you want to have the "fix" sent. You can have it mailed monthly, bi-monthly, or just twice a year. Completely up to you.

Here's a fun little graphic from Stitch Fix that explains it better than I do:

So now that I've gone through all the FAQ's, I'm ready to share what I got! I thought about taking pictures of each item on me, but I'm no fashion blogger; I would have looked like a fool. You get to see them on the hanger!

Let's start with what got sent back....

Item #1

I really, really loved this tank, but in the end, it got sent back.
It was just too loose on me, making me look bigger than I really am. It was silk and a great color. Wish it would have worked out! It was cute with my white jeans!

Item #2

This was an adorable top and I wanted to like it, but it was just too short on me. I like my tops to be long, and this just didn't fit the bill. It was also around $80, and quality wise, it just didn't seem like it was a top I could justify spending $80 on. 

Item #3

This was the only item I really didn't like. It was a bad fit, weird cut, and just looked terrible on me. I think it'd be cute on a very slim woman, but I'm usually a size 8 in dresses/skirts, and this was just NO good with my hips and my belly that is nt even close to being toned.

So now onto the's what I DID keep!

Item #4

This is a funny top. If I had seen this in the store, I would have walked right past it. The color and style are not like anything I own, and I have a bad habit of buying all similar items. As soon as I slipped it on, I knew it was perfect for me and my body type. It's flowy, but not baggy. I can't wait to pair it with some cute jeans and boots in the fall. 

Item #5

Can I just say how much I LOVE this dress? On the rack it looks nice. But it fits me perfectly. It's a linen dress with a built in slip, and it's so comfortable. I'm planning to wear it to a summer wedding next week!

Another neat thing that Stitch Fix does with each item, is they attach a style guide for you. If you're fashion clueless like me, it gives you ideas on different ways to wear the piece.

So there you have it. My first "fix!" I'll probably do another one at some point in the fall, but it won't be a regular thing for me. The items were on the pricier side (everything in my order ranged from $70-$100), so ordering frequently wouldn't fit my budget. But one other neat thing, once you order you go and leave feedback on each item for your stylist, so that when you place another order, she can look at what you liked and didn't like before putting together another order for you.

Have you tried Stitch Fix or ever worked with a stylist?
Would you consider letting a stranger pick out your clothes for you?

This post was not sponsored and I was not paid to write a review of my items! I just wanted to share because several friends had asked that I share what came in my "fix;" I have used referral links in this post!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Menu Monday

It's Monday. Let's share some meal plans!

(Also, quick side note... this is it for Menu Monday for the next few weeks! 
I'll be back later in August once life has calmed down a little!)

Cheeseburgers, french fries, and grilled bell peppers

No real recipe here. Burgers were prepared by the grocer, fries were from TJ's, and I sliced a bell pepper up and coated it in olive oil and s&p and put it on the grill with my burgers. A great summer dinner.

Caramelized Onion and Prosciutto Pizza with a Mixed Greens Salad

This pizza from PW never does me wrong. It is so tasty! I threw in a salad to add some greens and veggies to our dinner.

This was a great pasta salad I found thanks to Pinterest! Also fun that I got to use tomatoes and basil from our garden in it! This would be great for a crowd or as a side at a cookout.

We also had PW's Red PepperRisotto, but I forgot to snap a picture! It was wonderful as always!

Alrighty, your turn to share! Link up below!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Mustard & Dill Potato Salad

At our cookout on Saturday I brought a potato salad with me. This was a new recipe, one I borrowed from my good pal Barefoot Contessa, and y' was good. Very, very good! Several of the other girls requested the recipe, so I thought I'd share with all of you!

On small note....don't skimp on the mayonaise or buttermilk. Full fat is where it's at! YOLO!

Adapted from this recipe from Barefoot Contessa

3 pounds small yellow potatoes
Sea salt
1 cup mayonnaise (I prefer Duke's)
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped red onion

Place the potatoes and 2 tablespoons of salt in a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then place the colander with the potatoes over the empty pot and cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Allow the potatoes to steam for 15 to 20 minutes.

 Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, dill, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Set aside.

 When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in quarters or in half, depending on their size. Place the cut potatoes in a large bowl. While the potatoes are still warm, pour enough dressing over them to moisten. Add the red onion, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Toss well, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Charlotte Blogger Cookout

On Saturday, we headed out to fellow blogger, Classic Annie's, house for a Charlotte Blogger (plus family!) Cookout! I had met most of these girls prior to Saturday (some of which have become very dear friends!), and had fun meeting some new faces! A big thanks to CA and Dee for putting this very fun event together. 

Here's the whole gang of bloggers!

All the Fall 2012 babies! M and Faith's twins are about a week apart, and Dee's little one is about 6 weeks younger than M.

She wasn't quite sure what to think of all the fun when we first go there!
Also, this photo does a good job showing off all her HAIR! It's coming in like crazy these days.

Me with Katie and her sweet Emmy! 

April with Dee's little girl, Shelby!

M looks like she's trying to steal a sip from her dad's beer bottle here...

Love this one of all the Mommas!

And one last one of M and Miss Shelby playing together. It's neat seeing her interact with other babies more and more as she gets older. 

Thanks Dee for sharing your pictures with me!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Menu Monday

Happy Monday! Here's what we cooked up last week!

These were gooooood! Another Skinnytaste winner! I served them with pearled cous cous and grilled bell peppers and it was a great combo!

Trader Joe's Mandarin Orange Chicken with Snap Peas and Brown Rice

If you have a TJ's, you must keep this chicken in your freezer for nights when you need a quick meal!

Spaghetti and Meat Sauce 

This might start making a pretty regular appearance on MM now that we know how much of a fan M is of spaghetti!

Warning....the latkes are good but the recipe makes a TON. We had way more latkes than we could eat!

It had been a long time since I had made these, but I quickly remembered how much I love this recipe. The chicken rubbed with all the spices is SO good. This is a great, simple, and healthy meal! And you could easily up the beans and add avocado and make it meatless!

Grilled Rib Eye, Zucchini, and Garlic Buttered Corn

We picked up all of this at The Meat House and then came home to grill it up. Perfect for a night where no one really wanted to "cook."

Your turn! Link up your weekly below....

Friday, July 12, 2013

5 on Friday

It's Friday....let's do this! This week's list is quite random!

I'm linking up with A. Liz Adventures too!
1. Summer Hits of the 90's Pandora Station. I don't think much explanation is needed here, but trust me on this one. It's awesome! Goo Goo Dolls, Gin Blossoms, Oasis, Hootie....this channel is perfection!

2. Embarrassed ..a poem by a British mom who spent a great deal of her daughter's first year of life feeling ashamed for nursing her daughter in public. I love this so much! I've nursed M in public on multiple occasions, and I always cover up and thankfully no one was ever said something to me about it, but I can only imagine the feelings a new, flustered mom would feel when asked to go feed her baby somewhere else. This is a great conversation starter! No mother should feel that she needs to nurse her baby in public bathroom stall.

3. This summer dress from Target! My friend Katie wore this dress to our house for dinner last month, and I proceeded to go straight to Target and buy it for myself. It's the perfect dress for a new mom, especially a new mom who is nursing. Love it. And at $29.99, it's a steal.

4. For all you elementary teachers out there, this girl's blog is incredible! The School Supply Addict Blog is just full of great ideas, freebies, and some cheap classroom goods available through Teachers Pay Teachers. I may not be teaching these days, but I still get a thrill out of elementary school classrooms, lessons, and teachers!

5. This gorgeous photo that the James Madison University Facebook page posted a few weeks ago when there was the super moon. I'm just mildly obsessed with my college.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Red Walls

Alright blog world. I have a confession to make. 

I am sort of the worst when it comes to decorating my home.

We've been in our home for a year, and M's nursery is the only complete room in the house. In fact, I haven't even really attempted to work on any of the other rooms because it's such a daunting task.

I love pretty rooms and homes, and I can pin pretty spaces like the best of 'em, but I don't have a single interior design bone in my body. So help me out....please!

A few months ago I bought a new rug for our living room. 

I really love our new rug, and it matches our couches nicely. The couches that we have are an olive/beige color. Here they are a few years ago in our rental home in Virginia (look at those nice blue walls...a color we did not choose! It's definitely not in the running this time.).

So here's my question....with our olive colored sofas and our colorful rug, what colors would you paint the walls???

I've been playing around on the Sherwin Williams App "Color Snap" (which is pretty cool, btw!) and I've come up with a few options...

Out of those colors, I am sort of leaning toward the red one, Peppery. Am I crazy? Is a red living room too much? Or should I just give it a is just paint, right? We have a lot of natural light in this room during the day, white trim and plantation shutters, and a white fireplace, so I'm thinking that would help lighten it up and the read would balance out some?

If I don't do red, I'm thinking maybe Reddish or Reddened Earth. Thoughts on those? I am just so bad at these things and need some guidance. You can also tell me all my choices are crazy and to go with something else. I'm open to all ideas! Comment away!

ETA: Our walls are currently a neutral cream color. It works, but I'm looking to add some color!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Menu Monday

I took last week off from sharing our meal plan. 
Summer is just crazy and sometimes a week off is nice. 

Here's what we were cooking this past week. Link up your own meal plan below!

First time making this dish, but I LOVE LOVE LOVED it. Definitely adding this one to our regular rotation of pastas.

Always a favorite! This meal will never get old!

J made this and while I did enjoy it, it would be much better in the cold months...not July!

And two different meals here...grilled chicken sandwiches and bbq chicken sandwiches with an assortment of grilled veggies and corn on the cob. Love summer foods!

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

M loved this meal too! It was her first experience with spaghetti, but she loved it!

Your up below!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Weekend Fun: Pizza, Parties, & Pools

We've had a fun and busy weekend, but each evening was low key and lazy. My favorite type of weekend! 

Between Friday and Saturday night, we finished the newest season of Breaking Bad (AHHHH!), watched the season premier of Dexter, and started House of Cards on Netflix. We love our TV dramas!

On Saturday, one of M's little buddies from our playgroup celebrated her first birthday and her mom, my friend Kelly, threw one incredible party. It was a "You Are My Sunshine" theme, and it was darling. Kelly blogged about it here if you want to see more of her photos. I stole a few from her FB because I forgot my camera. It was truly adorable and a lot of fun!

 Today, J got to work on my anniversary gift! We're celebrating our 5th anniversary this month, and the traditional 5th year gift is wood, so for this year's gift, he's building me a dining room table! I can't wait to have this fun and unique piece of furniture in our home! 

While J worked on the table on the deck, M chilled (ie tried to climb out of) in her pool. 

And then tonight, no one felt like cooking, so we ordered a pizza and a salad from our favorite pizza place up the street. This was M's first encounter with pizza (we gave her the ends with no cheese on them, just sauce), and she LOVED it.