An Uncomplicated Life Blog: April 2015

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

3 DIY Home Improvements To Consider

There are so many projects you can tackle yourself to make your house look better! Some are big time consumers while others are fairly easy. Either way, owning a home means you're working on it on the weekends, I'm learning.

Here are some of the best DIY projects we've done in our house over the past two weeks:

Install a new light fixture. There wasn't even a light there to begin with, so we wired it and cut into the faux beam to hang it and added a light switch on the wall for it. This was a whole day project and definitely a more "advanced" DIY project, but if you already have the wiring in place it's a pretty easy task.

Paint. The half bath and the guest baths got facelifts. Do you remember the horrific lime green our guest bath was before? Bye-bye, eyesore.

Upgrade technology. We put in a surround sound system in the ceiling of the living room and outdoor speakers on the patio. Now, everything is wireless! This one was all hubs and my step dad. Why are sound systems so interesting to dudes?

The cost savings in DIY home projects is phenomenal, but the downside is the time commitment. Have you ever done any DIY projects around your house to spruce it up and make some great changes?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Practicing Karma Yoga

When I was in my yoga teacher training two years ago, the instructors kept talking about karma yoga. "Huh?!" was all I could think. "Like... Poses come back to you on your mat, or...???"

No, not like that. No boomerangs here.

This is the type of yoga you practice to benefit others. You go, you give, you flow and you practice giving good karma to the world. There's serva yoga too, where teachers offer classes free of charge to students. This allows students who otherwise wouldn't be able to take a yoga class to participate and experience it.

This past weekend, my sister was in town and we met up with some of my Dallas yogi friends to participate in One Love Dallas. It's a big yoga fundraising event to support women and girls who are victims of sex trafficking. It would disgust you to know how prevalent this is not only in other countries, but right here in the United States, too.

We rolled out our mats at the AT&T Performing Arts Center lawn and did 108 sun salutations. Ok, I only did about 60 of them, but there were some bada$$ yogis there who did the whole shebang!

They lined up some great sponsors and had some great event schwag. In fact, Athleta was there and since I was wearing an Athleta shirt, I got a free yoga mat. Score!

The giveaways aren't as important as the mission of the event. And the mission of the event isn't even as important as the fundamentals behind karma yoga: To go out into the world and do good. Expect nothing in return. Be the person to everyone else YOU would want to interact with daily. Do good things because it feels good to do them.


Monday, April 27, 2015

The Funny Thing About Parenting and Blogging

Remember when I shared with y'all about how Henry seemed to be lagging behind the development curve in some areas?

Well, my kiddo must have baby-super powers with the ability to pull up the internet and read his mommy's blog. And then feel super bashful about what she wrote. Because the day after that post published, Henry decided he'd start to feed himself.

Self feeding baby! You just do you, Henry. Just do you.

I had been coaching him for months and months how to take the piece of food he picked up and bring it to his mouth instead of smashing it and throwing it on the floor. Months and months. So once again on a Tuesday afternoon, lil' H and I found ourselves at the table for a snack. I was likely answering blog emails or futzing on my phone, one eye on my kid and one eye on what I'm trying to accomplish.

Then, the day after that post went live I tell you, Henry looked at me while he fed himself a piece of cheese. I stopped what I was doing so I could clap, smile and praise him. And he did it again. And again. And with other kinds of foods, too!

I won't bore you with further details or share the obscene amount of video and photos I took of this seemingly non-monumentous event. But I did laugh and find it incredibly ironic that the day Henry decided it was time to feed himself was the day after I told the world he couldn't/wouldn't do it.

Isn't that just like a baby?!

They do things on their own timeline, that's for sure.

Friday, April 24, 2015

5 Fashion Friday Items From Stitch Fix

If you read my fist Stitch Fix review, you know I was completely underwhelmed by them. Most of what they sent me didn't fit my awkwardly lanky frame. I kept one shirt because it was comfy and, hey - why waste the $20 styling fee, right? That's how they get 'cha.

I did another closet purge because I hate excessive stuff, especially excessive stuff that's been hanging around since 2010, and decided to give Stitch Fix another try. Because I'm the only woman on the face of the planet who hates shopping.

I gave them a detailed review of the fist "fix" they sent, and wouldn't you know? The second fix was on point! Everything fit! Everything was cute! Well, except the necklace. More on that shortly.

Lets begin:

1) Gilli "Colleen Faux Wrap Dress" $64
I absolutely love this color! The cut of the dress is flattering on my "inverted triangle" shape figure (learned that term from Stitch Fix!). The neckline isn't too low, so it's safe to wear around my handsy son. I just wish it was less than $64. I bet I could find something like this at TJ Maxx or Marshall's for a third of the cost. You know, if I actually shopped. Shipped it back.


2) Henry & Belle "Paulie High Rise Skinny Jean" $148
I simultaneously squeal, jump for joy, pee in my pants a little and dance a jig when I can find pants that are narrow enough through the thighs, 36" inseam or longer AND under $200. These met all those criteria. The thing is, I already have a pair exactly like these. And in Texas, I wear jeans two months a year. Given it wil be 90-115 degrees for the next six months, shipped them back.

3) Mystree "Castagnola Split Neck Top" $48
When I pulled this out of the box, I knew it was a keeper. Didn't even need to try it on. But I did, and I love it. It's like something you'd find at Anthropologie without the obnoxious Anthro price tag! It's so lightweight, I'll be wearing this all summer. Kept this!

4) Bancroft "Wendy Layered Branch Necklace" $32
This looks like something I would like and wear. But it came to me in a knot so bad, after spending 15 minutes attempting to detangle it, I quit. I bet someone tried it on and returned it, and it was sent to me like that. Meh, things happen. Shipped it back, obvi.

5) 41Hawthorn "Queensland Dolman Jersey Top" $48
This was the biggest surprise of the whole shipment. When I pulled it out I was like, "Meh, don't think so." But when I tried it on (with a pair of my own white J Crew Jeans) I was like, hey! This is actually cute. It's comfy. And the the color looks great on me! Which shouldn't have been so surprising, because you put an olive skinned girl in pastels and she looks like a pile of cat vomit {she being me}. But jewel tones? Rock those all day, err'day. Kept this!

Have you tried Stitch Fix yet?! It's so fun to get "styled" by someone else and try on clothes you wouldn't normally pick out for yourself!

Linking up with Amanda, Karli, Friday 5, H54F and Miranda.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

7 Thoughts Only Athletic People Have

There are some things in life that aren't understood by all. That solicit a crazy look from some, and a knowing nod from others.

This post is all about the "stuggles" of being athletic; into working out; a gym rat; a yoga/barre/Pilates aficionado. If you're one of those things, let's band together and unite in our athletic-ness! If not, well... You can just continue thinking we're cray cray. Because we are.

7 Thoughts Only Athletic People Have

1) Why shower again? Yes, I worked out at this morning, but I'm planning on walking/running outside/cooling down with yoga later this afternoon... Why clean up to just get sweaty again? Why do people bother showering twice a day? Such a waste of time.

2) I don't think these workout clothes smell. Because I've washed them 208 times and only sweated in them 2,986 times. That's a totally legit ratio. Totally don't smell. At all. Ok, I smell. Let me spritz this with something quick...

3) Shoot, this new shirt shows sweat stains! Why did I buy heather grey again? Did I not learn my lesson from the last time I bought heather grey? I'm so gross... I hope I don't run into anyone I know, because I'm still running errands like this.

4) I barely sweat. What a lame workout! That group fitness instructor was way too easy on me and I'm upset about it. Maybe I'll even hit up another class to make up for the bad workout.

5) Is this workout outfit cute enough to go to happy hour in? I don't want to bring a change of clothes. That's too much work! Just let me towel off, spray some dry shampoo in, slap on some lipstick and meet up with my crew! Right...?

6) Aaaaaaaand, I forgot to pack a underwear. I don't have time to drive back home to get some before my first meeting. Looks like I'm going comando today! I wonder how many times I'll smirk at myself in front of my colleagues. Note to self, put these pants in the dry clean pile tonight.

7) Neons, FTW! I bet these new hot orange running shoes will look awesome with my neon purple shorts that go great with my electric blue socks and complete the look with my super-yellow tank.

Any of my fellow athletes feel me on these?!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Easy Shrimp n' Orzo Salad

Do you ever go through phases where meat just doesn't appeal to you? Dried out chicken grosses you out and the bloody juice running off a hamburger makes you cringe?

That's where I'm at right now.

So I came up with this yummy recipe. Note: I don't consider seafood "meat" although I'm not sure why. It's not meat; it's seafood.

Anyway, if you're looking to indulge your Meatless Monday self or dabble in some alternatives to legitimate farm-raised m e a t, give this a try. It doesn't disappoint!

Easy Shrimp n' Orzo Salad

- 1 package whole wheat orzo shaped pasta
- 1 pound fresh shrimp (frozen will work too, just make sure to only thaw it and NOT cook it further. I used frozen because hey! I'm in land-locked Dallas.)
- 1 shallot, peeled and sliced
- 1 package fresh basil
- 2/3 cup dry white wine
- 1 container cherry or grape tomatoes
- 3T butter (yes, the real stuff)
- 3T olive oil
salt and pepper

In a large stock pot, bring water to boil. Cook orzo per directions on the package. Drain pasta and set aside.

Melt the butter and the olive oil together in a skillet over low heat. Add the shallot. Cook on low, stirring consistently, until the shallot is translucent and begins to "melt" into the fat mixture. Add the white wine, and continue to cook until reduced by half. Salt and pepper the sauce to taste.

If using fresh shrimp,  add them to the white wine reduction sauce. Cook shrimp until they just turn pink; turn off the heat. Cooking them further will result in "rubbery" shrimp! If using frozen, place in a colander and run cold water over them until thawed. Toss them in the white wine reduction sauce after you've already turned the heat off the pan.

Julianne the basil and cut the tomatoes in half. Add to the pasta. Pour shrimp/white wine reduction sauce over the mixture; stir to blend all the ingredients. Adjust salt and pepper if needed.

Enjoy! This dish is especially great for the upcoming warm months since it's light, fresh tasting and can be served warm or cold!

Monday, April 20, 2015

When Your Baby Lags Behind The Development Curve

Most my faithful readers know Henry has torticollis, and needed a helmet to reshape his head, and is undergoing months of physical therapy.

Well, we're still going. Twice a week. Most torticollis babies go for three to five months. We're starting month six right now, and aren't even beginning to have the "let's wrap this up" conversation.

What I didn't know when Lil' H got diagnosed with torticollis is that it's so much more than a tight muscle in his neck. It affects his development. Significantly. And because of that, I have an 11 month old who doesn't crawl. He doesn't sit up from a laying down position and worse yet? He doesn't even try. His shoulder muscles are still so tight, he won't grab an object with both hands. He won't hold his own bottle, sippy cup or food pouches.

Read: My 11 month old functions more like a six month old.

He eats everything under the sun, "pulls up" on furniture,  "scoots" across the floor on his butt, throws a ball to our dogs, says "Dad, Mom, hi (with a wave!), and dogs" to the right people/critters. He's not stupid, or slow, or "special." He's Henry.

But I had to drop out of most my mom groups. It was too miserable to sit there at lunch and listen to all the milestones their babies, many younger than Henry, were hitting while my baby wasn't even close. It felt like they were bragging about their kids (with good reason!) and I had nothing to brag about.

Except that people would stop to tell me how handsome a baby Henry is, and not mention or even look at the other babies. That always made me feel good. Real good. In a dirty, competitive kind of way.

So for all you mama's whose kiddos don't do what they're supposed to do when they're supposed to do it, cheers to you. You're patient. You're loving. Your child will get there. Find other mom's who's kids aren't as perfect as the babies found in "mommy groups" and get together often. Know that your baby will be ok. She or he will do her/his own thing at their own pace and their own time.

Friday, April 17, 2015

5 Lessons Learned In My First Year Of Blogging

I've been blogging for a year now. While I'm far from a pro, I have learned some important things over the past 365 days. Most of them were learned the hard way, either by mistakes or after months of doing something "wrong"/not doing something.

Allow me to share my biggest lessons with you.

Five Things I've Learned In My Year Of Blogging

1) Develop your "voice" and show your persona. Let your personality come out in your posts! People follow you because they like YOU. I follow a large handful of bloggers, and even when they post about something I'm not interested in, I still read their post and comment because I like who they are and want to support them. So show some of your quirky personality! In blog posts, social media, comments on other blogs, etc.

2) Promote your blog by promoting others. I failed at this big time for my first six months. I had about 11 twitter followers and only used it to link my blog accounts. When I started to interact with other bloggers, show some of my personality in my tweets (see #1) and retweeted other bloggers posts, my following exploded. You get promoted by promoting others, so share the blog love! It will come back to you, I promise.

3) Edit your images. I also failed big time at this. I'd snap a pic with my iPhone and post it directly as it was to my post. FAIL. Photography and images are just as important as writing and text in blogging. Sign up for an online editing site (I use picmonkey), adjust the exposure and sharpness of your pics. Crop them if necessary. Add other effects and edits if needed. Yes, this takes time and there's a learning curve, but once I started consistently doing it, I not only got a massive increase in free product offers from companies, I started to get sponsored post (read: actual $$$) offers too! Even if you're not looking to make money blogging, edit your photos so that your best pics are floating around the interwebs.

4) Be authentic. Write posts that are true to you. I swear blog readers (myself included) can sense BS! Nothing makes me click away faster than an unauthentic post. Here's some truth: I thought I might do some beauty blogging. Before having Henry, I always wore makeup, loved playing with it, my hair was always curled or "done" in some way. But now? Aint nobody got time for that! I have an hour to myself, and that hour is going to be working out. So I can authentically talk about yoga or barre class, but any posts about lip sticks or how to get barrel waves to stay in your hair for three days would be a joke coming from me.

5) Write the post you're scared to write. Then publish it. My most popular posts were the ones I was the most scared to hit "publish" on.  They were personal, or opinionated, or both, but I was always nervous about the response I would get.

I hope that helps some of you newbie bloggers and I'm sure it resonates with some of you old pros! Do you have any other advice to share? I wanna hear it in the comments!

Per usual, I'm linking up with Amanda, Karli, Friday 5, Miranda and H54F!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Happy 1 Year Bloggerversary!

Awwww, isn't that sweet! This little blog of mine is a year old.

Actually, I can't quite remember the exact date. I was nine months pregnant at the time, so I'll blame pregnancy brain. I know I launched it mid-April so we're just gonna say today is the big day, mmmmk?

I can't tell you how hard I laughed as I made this cheesy, ugly graphic. I had a party of 1 at my desk!

Happy Birthday, An Uncomplicated Life Blog! It's been such a blast to create it. It has helped me keep my sanity when I was on the brink after deciding to stay home with an infant.

Because of it, I've "met" other bloggers all over the country. I've met some in real life. I've interacted with international readers. I've felt supported by positive comments and feedback, and thickened my skin to the few Negative Nancy's I've ever gotten.

Thanks for playing blogger with me, guys and gals! I can't wait to see what the next year brings.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How To Pick A Yoga Studio

There's been yoga all over this blog, and all over Instagram and yay for yoga and let's all be yogis and yoga yoga yoga kinda like Marsha Marsha Marsha with the Brady Bunch, yeah?

Being the yoga evangelist that I am, I was encouraging a friend to actually go to a yoga studio instead of just YouTubing all the poses. Then she was like, "Hey Paige, this would be a great blog post!"

So pardon me while I continue to vomit yoga all over you. What's that? You haven't tried it yet? Not at a real studio with an instructor and with other students and all their energy?! You're missing out! There's certainly a place for a home practice and YouTube and DVD's. But if you haven't made it to a studio yet, I encourage you to give it a shot.

Don't know where to start? I got you.

How to pick a yoga studio
  • Google yoga studios in your zip code or in your town. Hopefully, you have more than one option within a reasonable driving distance to your house or work. Proximity is key - if it's too far, you're far less likely to go!
  • Pull up their websites and compare their schedules. Perhaps you're new to yoga and want to keep your class to a Beginners Yoga or Yoga Basics. Look and see when those are. If they're only at noon and you can't take a class on your lunch break, that's not a good studio for you! My former studio was less than two miles from my office and had a 5:30 advanced class - perfect for me to get off work at 5pm, change my clothes and get on my mat with time to spare! My current studio has wonderful noon classes that work well with Henry's napping schedule. Pick a studio that is close and flows with your daily schedule (pun intended. Yoga flow, flows with life? I'm so dang witty.)
  • Once you've found a fit with location and schedule, look at their pricing. Most studios have drop in rates from $10-$20 per class. That gets expensive quickly! Also common is ____ (number of days) for $____ (the same dollar amount). This could either be a great deal or the worst deal! Let's say it's 20 days for $20. You think you'll go five times a week! You're so motivated! But you end up going twice. You now just paid the drop-in rate for classes, which is the most expensive option. Your best bet is to get a package of classes (perhaps five or 10 classes) that don't have an expiration date so that you can use them at your leisure. If you end up using them all in a week or two, you should look into the monthly unlimited membership, you bada$$ yogi.

  • Know if the studio has mats and towels available for you to use, or if they charge for it. I personally hate studios that charge. I mean, you're already paying for the class, why can't you use a mat that you'll even clean yourself?! Anyway, if they do charge for them, consider purchasing your mat and bring your own towel. Those $3 mat rentals can add up quickly!
  • Tell your yoga instructor you're new! S/he will make sure to keep an eye on you and help you if you're unsure on how to do a pose.

There you have it! After that, it's all about finding the instructors you connect with, but that's another yoga post for another time.

Monday, April 13, 2015

What I Want to Tell My Mother

I was 21 years old. A new college grad and just wrapping up my first week in my "big girl" job in corporate America.. My then-boyfriend was running some errands, but I was too tired to go into the store. While sitting in the car, my mother called me.

"Hey baby, how was your first week?!" She asked.

"Mom. I am so tired. I have so much housework to do. Piles of laundry. We have no groceries. And all I want to do is sleep! I don't know HOW in the heck you did this all, plus two more jobs, as a single mom. I can't handle one job and no kids!"

My mama and me, Mother's Day 2005.

Completing my first week of 7:30am-4:30pm M-F work was the beginning of a new level of understanding and appreciation for my mom. In my teen years, I "knew everything" and thought my mom was "sooooo lame." Much like every teenage girl in America.

I pulled out of that funk in my second year of college. I realized, hey! I don't know anything, especially about life. My mom and I started to hang out and became friends. I appreciated her advice and enjoyed our conversations. And after that first week of work, I began to realize just how much *work* it getting everything done is.

Fast forward nine years. When my water broke at 36 weeks, my mom was the first person I called (sorry hubs, you were third, after my OB). My mom got on the first flight she could from Georgia to Dallas. She stayed with us for six weeks to help us out as we adjusted to our new life. Talk about a woman who isn't scared of some work, huh? In that time, we had some great conversations (and wine! Oh, I could have wine again. The joy.)

"So mom... I think I understand something now. You had no idea what you were doing with us, just like I have no idea what I'm doing with Henry. You just made stuff up as you went, didn't you?" I asked.

"Yup. Use some common sense and try things until you find something that works." She replied.

"How come it always seemed, and still seems, like you have all the answers?!" I asked.

"Oh honey, I don't know. Just speak with authority and like you mean it, and people will listen to you and respect you. Admit when you're wrong and try again. There aren't mistakes in life, just opportunities to learn." She said wisely.

"Hmmmm..." I nodded my head in agreement as I poured us more wine.

So mama, I now know how hard you worked. How tired you were. How you didn't have all the answers, but you gave it a damn good try. That you didn't always get it right, but you recognized it and tried again. You raised us to be curious and responsible.

Parenting and motherhood is all about work. It's also guesswork. And I hope my guesswork of parenting is half as good as yours is.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Five Blog Post Ideas

Some other bloggers and I have been... Lacking ideas lately. We're feeling a bit overwhelmed from all the social media engagement and constant need to "drive more traffic to our blogs." All these time consuming demands has been draining our creative brains on what to write about in our posts!

Maybe you're a blogger struggling with us, or you're a blog reader who is sick of seeing the same posts regurgitated all over the internet. Either way, I've created a short list of blog post prompts to get us excited about blogging again, or excited to read again, or just simply get us through next week...

I'm probably going to steal some of these ideas. Is it stealing if I copy my own content?! Nah.

Top Five Blog Post Ideas

1) The place you feel the happiest. Is it your home, or a place you have to travel to? Who's there with you? What are you doing? What about it makes you so happy? What are the smells, tastes, sounds, and sights that make it so great?

2) Your best embarrassing/funny "first date" story. Everyone has one. Everyone. And while you might not want to share, everyone wants to read it!

3) The best career advice you ever got. Why was it so good? Has it boosted your career or made you happier in your work? Did it completely change what field you work in?

4) Your favorite workout and what motivates you to keep at it. Are you a run/walk solo person or do you thrive in group fitness classes? What's the most effective workout you've tried? What makes you get out the door and get it done? Inspire others!

5) Spotlight others! There are so, so many bloggers. And so many great blogs that I, you, your neighbor, your blogging BFF, whoever - doesn't know about yet! So spread some blog love and tell us about who you're reading and why you're loving them right now.

Speaking of "spotlighting" here are some of my favorites, with whom I link up with every Friday! Do yourself a favor and check them out: Amanda, Karli, Friday Five, and H54F.

Cheers to the weekend!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Yoga Basics: How To Do Warrior 1

Have you seen the #badyogisdoit challenge on Instagram? It's a fun way to share your love of yoga, get connected to a community of yogis and show off your skills/laugh at your lack of skills. Cause with yoga, it's all good.

It got me thinking about some of the yoga posts I've done in the past (chatturanga and sun salutation A - check them out!) I thought I'd return to my yogi roots and break down warrior 1 aka warrior A. When I practice in a class, I see so many people doing different things, some of which looks painful! So here's how to properly and safely bust out your inner warrior:

Your lower half is the most important thing to align right in warrior 1. In the pic above, my left leg is forward (you'll do this with the right forward too). Both feet should be firmly planted into the ground. Your knee should track over your ankle - don't let it come more forward than your knee or collapse inward towards your mid-line. Try to square your hips to the front of the room as much as your flexibility allows.

View from the other side - squared off hips, knee aligned with ankle, both feet firmly planted into the ground.

Your arms? Well they're elevated above your head, internally rotating so that your palms face each other - and the goal is to get your pinkies facing each other (see my first pic).

Happy warrior 1-ing friends! Let me know if you have additional questions in the comments below. Namaste, bitches.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Pulled Chicken Fiesta Casserole

You know how I roll. I get inspired by a recipe on Pinterest, am totally incapable of following it exactly, and end up with something all my own.

Voila! How I arrived at Pulled Chicken Fiesta Casserole.

It is SO HARD for me to type or say casserole. My inner-Minnesotan is dying to call it hotdish. Casserole sounds ugly. But a hotdish?! Now that will cure what ails ya!

I saw this recipe on Pinterest, but wanted to add a little more to make it a complete meal. It turned out swell!

Without further adieu, the hottest selling hotdish south-side of the Mason-Dixon:

Pulled Chicken Fiesta Casserole Hotdish

- 2 large bone-in, skin on chicken breasts (because they're tastier than plain boobies, and all the extras will be removed anyway)
- 2 bell peppers (I used red and yellow)
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 1 15oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 large or 2 small/medium sweet potatoes
- 4-5 hand fulls of crushed tortilla chips
- 1 jar fire roasted chili salsa (my apologies if you don't live in Texas and have access to the amazing local brands here. Please don't use Pace. That will ruin this dish.)
- 3T olive oil
- 1t garlic powder
- 1t cumin, divided
- 1t chili power, divided
- 1t Mexican oragano
- 2/3C shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken breasts in a glass/Pyrex pan and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powser, half the cumin, and half the chili powder. Bake for 40 minutes. Take out of the oven, and set aside to cool.

Dice the onions and peppers. In a large pan, heat the olive oil and sweat the onions for about five minutes. Add the peppers and cook for three more minutes. Add the tomatoes. Stir in salt, pepper and remaining spices.

Peel and microwave sweet potatoes for three to five minutes, depending on size. Dice into bite sized chunks and place in the bottom of your greased baking dish. Sprinkle with black beans, set aside.

Fork or pull apart the cooled chicken into bite sized pieces, discarding the bones and skin. Add to the onion/pepper/tomato mixture. Take hand fulls of tortilla chips and crush them into the mixture to adsorb excess liquid. Cook for a few more minutes to thicken.

Spread the chicken/tomato/pepper/onion/tortilla chip mixture evenly over the sweet potatoes and black beans. Spoon salsa on to the dish, then top with cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden brown.

You could also make this a day in advance without baking, then pop it in the oven for an easy (like, way easy) weeknight meal. Boom.

Enjoy! This was a good one. We ate the whole pan (I'm going to guess that was eight servings...) in two days. Two people ate eight servings in two days. Thank God for elastic waist pants, no?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Why Your Mom Friend Is Choosing to Hang Out With Other Moms Over You

This next sentence is going to ruffle some feathers. (And I'm not sorry about it.) If you aren't a mom, your mom friends are choosing not to hang out with you.

Yes, you read that right. Have I made my non-mom readers mad? Let me explain.

Going out with a baby is hard. It used to take me 20 minutes to leave the house. Now I need at least an hour, more like two if I'm going to go anywhere for any length of time. So those last minute texts to meet up from out non-mom friends? They aren't happening. In fact, we feel guilty about saying no and sometimes even frustrated/angry that you, dear non-mom friend, think we could pull that kind of feat off. Also? We really, really want to be there. Those last minute "let's hang out!" texts are a brutal reminder of a life we wont have again for 15 or so more years.

Let's say you do give us proper warning for a hang out. We're so excited to see you! But dangit, our baby is teething and consistently interrupts our conversation. You don't know if you should stop talking or speak over the screams. It's awkward. We moms are only listening to you with one ear. The rest of our concentration is going to getting this infant to stop making ALL THE NOISE and the rest? Well, we're scanning the restaurant to see how many people we're pissing off, and at what point we need to bail to keep from getting food thrown at us.

When *this face* appears, your quiet baby time is limited. Or, just over.

When we go out with other moms, it's like magic. Other mom's know when baby reaches *that octave* and she should stop talking. She usually pitches in at the first sign of baby-distress with a toy from her diaper bag or even a piece of her sandwich to keep the baby happy. If the fussing is so bad that we have to leave, she gets it. It's nothing personal, she's not overly disappointed, we just reschedule for a better day.

It comes down to this: our fellow mom friends spring into action. They're "do-ers" and damn, that's so helpful! Our non-mom friends ask questions. "Do you want some help?" We can tell that you don't really want to, or don't know how to, or are just trying to be nice, or maybe all three of those. But our mom friends? They know we need help, they know how to help us and they'll do it no matter what the task. Baby blew out her diaper? Our mom friends already have the wipes out and grab the dirty clothes (yes, they grab the poopy clothes) to be put in a plastic bag for later cleaning.

I mean, hey. It takes a village.

Non-mom friends, we moms do indeed love you. Love you. One day, when all of this passes, we'll be able to go out with you again. We can talk about fashion and we'll actually be able to contribute to the conversation. One day. But for now, we need our mom-friends on all sides of us to push us through the work of raising young children.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Top Five Bloggers of the Week

About three months or so before I launched this blog (almost one year ago!) I was desperately seeking other bloggers to follow so that I could get some ideas of what I'd want my own space to look like.

I was so green to the blogoshpere, I didn't even know where to find them! And then I found bloglovin, but didn't know how to find bloggers with similar interests and fun writing styles. You know, the bloggers you want to follow.

Well, you're in luck. In the spirit of promoting other bloggers and spreading the love, I'd thought I'd make it easy for you. Here are my Top 5 favorite blog posts this week (along with some of my all-time favorite bloggers that you'd be cray cray not to follow)

Best Blog Posts of the Week - in random order, of course:

1) Camp Patton || Prepare The Way
This warrior mama is due with baby #5 in June... Which will leave her with five kiddos under the age of five! How she maintains sanity, much less the time to blog, is beyond my one-baby-seriously-considering-adding-number-two mind. She moms, she blogs, and she's hysterical to boot. She talks about empowering her own minis to make their activity bags for church. I'm totally stealing this idea for when my own mini(s) decide wet wipe origami is for the birds. Currently, wet wipes are the bees knees for toys, so I'm in the clear!
Grace from Camp Patton

2) Meet at the Barre || Don't Sell Yourself Short - The Dark Side of Blogging
First, Amanda is a fashion queen. She can take just about any image (of a sweater, boots, skirt, etc) and find where to buy it and how much it costs. How's that for internet skills?! In this blog post though, she talks about making money blogging. She and I had been exchanging texts about this exact topic and I was so glad to read this post! Amanda has pretty much grown her blog from a hobby to a business in a year, and I love it when she shares tips, tricks and secrets for the rest of us to follow!
Amanda from Meet at the Barre

3) Miranda Writes || Spicy, Tangy Deviled Eggs
Deviled eggs are one of those classic foods that everyone loves, and everyone forgets that they love. Miranda incorporated some horseradish into her recipe, which I find genius. She's smart, savvy, and links some of the best reads to her blog (seriously, get in on her coffee chats - you wont be disappointed!) Miranda Writes will keep you sane just like Miranda Rights will keep your arrest record safe... See what I she did there?
Miranda from Miranda Writes

4) Life Could Be A Dream Blog || Growing Baby #2 30 Week Update
I know not everyone likes reading pregnancy updates. But if there's one thing you know I love, it's real, honest mama's. Not the ones who say pregnancy is the best thing ever and being a mom is Jesus-level joy (although it can be!). Jana broke down her update post with a dose of honesty I admire through and through! She also has fantastic recipes, a Tuesday fashion link up and is always interesting and insightful in her posts. Put her on your rotation, stat.
Jana from Life Could Be A Dream Blog

5) Making Mrs. M || Fill Up Your Makeup Bag for Under $50
No best blog post would be complete without my girl Jaelan. She was my first follower. We text each other all day, bouncing ideas off each other, sharing best-practices and new blog resources with one another. She's a beauty guru, but is also well-spoken on a number of other topics. She wrote the first ever USEFUL beauty post - none of this "Check out my Sephora haul!" materialistic crap from this fine lady. Lover her. Hashtag bloggerBFF.
Jaelan from Making Mrs. M

I hope you enjoyed checking out these amazing bloggers! Seriously, add them to your daily reading rotation. They never disappoint!

Per usual, linking up with my other Friday Favorites gals - Amanda, Karli, Friday Five and H54F!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Springtime Nails with Jamberry

By this point, most of us have gotten Facebook invites to someone's "Jamberry party!" All of which I've deleted or ignored.

And then Lizz emailed me about Jamberry. She told me how they stay on for at least two weeks and are easy to apply. She kindly offered to let me pick out whatever color I wanted, and she'd send me everything I needed to get started jammin' on my nails. See what I did there?

Jamberry nail kit
I'll be painfully honest (sorry Lizz!) I had always found all the loud Jamberry patterns obnoxious. My personal style is simple and classic and I just didn't see those types of nails on me. Ever.

But low and behold! Jamberry offers classic nail wraps, too. There's solid colors, including the color of the year, Marsala, and french tip wraps too. Ooookkkk, sweet and enthusiastic Lizz, you got me! I had her send me Haute Pink to celebrate Spring's arrival.

Now I don't have time to be futzing with my nails with a ten month old monster running rampant in my house. I got my first set of wraps done in under 30 minutes, and once they were on, I was set - no drying time! No "they're dry enough..." and then you smudge them time!

I have to say, I'm now a fan. I usually wear gels on my fingernails, but after two years of gel wear, my nails were destroyed! These wraps wear like a gel, and don't destroy your nail beds. And I won't even touch the cost savings of these little gems. Mostly because I'm embarrassed with what I've spent on my nails professionally.

Jamberry "Haute Pink in Glossy" on my nails

If you think Jamberry is all loud prints and designs, you're wrong! They have classic and beautiful colors too. Also, if you want to give them a try, Lizz is an absolute peach and I could not recommend her more.

Wanna see more? Shop Jamberry here:
Have questions on this product? Email Lizz:

*I was provided Jamberry products courtesy of Lizz. All opinions are my own.