An Uncomplicated Life Blog: August 2015

nav

Monday, August 31, 2015

6th Month Bumpdate

When I was pregnant with Henry, I always rolled my eyes at the bumpdates I would read that started, "I can't believe I'm __ weeks/months pregnant!" I thought, "Really? Because this pregnancy is dragging and every day feels like I've been pregnant for another year." Not so with this pregnancy! It's FLYING by, and I'm pleasantly surprised I find myself writing my 6th month bumpdate.

I spy with my little eye an Otis nub-tail photobomb!

Mood: Pretty good, despite living in a remodel/construction zone! Except for one day. One day I was super irritable. See, I went to yoga and this older man came in. I think it's GREAT when men come into a yoga studio, so I smiled. And this dude proceeded to breathe so loudly, the floor shook. I kid you not. Even in savasana, when we lying on the ground, this man panted like he was two seconds away from a fatal heart attack. It ruined the whole energy of the class and irked me for the rest of the day. Kinda the opposite effect yoga is supposed to have right? Namaste, old dude. Naaaaaaaamaste.

Craving: I got nothin' but aversions. Meat remains the most disgusting thing I've ever seen or smelled, and I'm now basically a strict vegetarian. Thanks, Otto.

Missing: Being able to drink as much wine as I want. I do indeed indulge in a small amount of wine occasionally, but I'd really like just one day where I can order a Bloody Mary at breakfast and follow it with a few glasses of wine by the pool. Because it's still very much pool weather here. Ah well, soon enough.

Weight & Workouts: I'm six months (23 weeks to be exact) and up 8.5 pounds. Feeling pretty good about that! I'm no longer doing any weight lifting or circuit training classes (too much time is spent on our backs doing shoulder presses/ab work and I'm now too big for that nonsense) but I'm still walking, yoga-ing (hopefully never with that old dude again) and barre-ing. I can't wait for the weather to cool down enough to walk outside! I'm really looking forward to that later this fall.

Maternity clothes: Duh, look at me. I've pulled out everything from my first pregnancy and the only thing I've bought thus far is this maxi dress from Tart that Stitch Fix sent me and these AMAZING yoga/barre leggings from Pea in the Pod, which I've quickly learned is the only maternity store worth my time. It's not cheap, but they dress women of my build and save me frustration because everything fits! (*I'm not being compensated by Pea in the Pod, but I wish I was.)

Gender: No girls allowed! Otto William Stewart. Can't wait to meet the little fella.

Excited for: Right now, just for my bathroom to be done. I've got a date with my massive soaker tub. This back is achin' and that tub will cure what ails me!

Six months pregnant and the toes are disappearing...
That's the gist of what's going on in this sixth month pregnancy bumdate! Anyone else confused why you say how many weeks of pregnancy you've completed but say the month you're currently in? Like, why make it so complicated like that? Life. Is. Hard.

Friday, August 28, 2015

5 Tips for Living Through a Remodel

Last Friday I told you how our master bath was getting gutted and completely remodeled. Exciting, right?! Yes! What's not exciting is living in the construction. With a toddler. And six months pregnant. I've gotten creative to give you my best 5 tips for living through a remodel!


Saw and drill noise, dust everywhere, contractors and sub-contracters coming in and out of the house ALL day long, disrupted naps and endless questions being asked of me and decisions needing to be made... And that's just the beginning! While I'm excited to have my new, custom, designed-by-me bathroom (ooooook, SUPER EXCITED) I'm grinning and bearing it through the next six weeks. Just trying to keep these pregnancy hormones in check, you know?! Here's how I'm managing:

5 Tips for Living Through a Remodel

1) Know that contractors are ALWAYS late. We have a great project manager working with me, but the man is always at least a half hour late. Thankfully, I can consistently plan on him being late! So if we plan to meet at 4:30, I know I don't need to be home until at least five. And will likely have time to quickly eat dinner, too.

What will be the shower, my walk-in closet and where my vanity is. The other side of the bathroom mirrors this for hubs closet and vanity but the shower is a toilet in it's own room.

 2) Build a contingency fund into your budget. Thankfully, our demo was completed with zero surprises! However, this week we're hashing out the plumbing and new electrical. Read: Hello, expensive surprises and budget additions! I specifically picked out a less expensive tub so that we'd have wiggle room in our budget for unexpected expenses that come up along the way. Leave yourself some budget for the unexpected to reduce your stress when those surprises emerge!

3) Be decisive. I'm a woman who knows what I want, especially with interior design. If I didn't, we'd have hired a designer to help me work out the details. If you don't have your plans made out down to the kind of light switches you want installed, you'll hold up construction and make the project last longer. So get to decision making or hire someone to do it for you, or you'll be living in a remodel for weeks longer than you need to!

Where my 6ft soaker tub and chandelier will be!

 4) Be flexible. This week, I completely re-arranged workouts and naps and errands etc. to meet with folks, go over plans and let sub-contractors in. If I hadn't had that flexibility, our project would face further delays, and we'd be stuck in a remodel construction zone for longer! Give in to the needs of the project and rearrange your day so that all the moving pieces can go as quickly as possible.

5) Focus on the positive! At the end of the day (or weeks or months), you're getting a brand new room! The end result will be well worth the hassle of the remodel. Keep your end vision in mind as you struggle through the late contractors and delayed installations!

Inside shot of one of the his n' hers walk in closets.

 Per usual, I'm linking up with Amanda, Karli, Liz and H54F! Hope everyone has a more peaceful weekend than we will likely have in all this mess!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Taking A Moment For Yourself to #FeelGooder

School started for most the country this week. Whether you're the one attending school or helping littles get off to school, the unofficial start of fall means rushed mornings, hectic afternoons, homework and activity juggling, and finally bedtime routines only to get up and do it all over again the next day. So when do you get to take a moment for yourself?

While Henry's preschool doesn't start until Sept. 9, we're already feeling the time-crunch-rush to get him prepared for his first day so that I can then focus on getting this house and myself ready to have this baby a in a few months!

https://ooh.li/b878f29

The biggest way I save time during busy months is by eating breakfast on the go. I've really gotten into nutrition bars since Henry was born because they're so portable and usually fortified with additional vitamins and minerals. However, the nutrition bar struggle is real! They seem to either taste really good but aren't that great for you, or have only a few ingredients and packed with good stuff yet taste like the cardboard box they came out of. Anyone else feel me here?

ZonePerfect reached out to have me try their latest addition to the nutrition bar market, and I was skeptical. I'm a bit of a "bar connoisseur/elitist" and didn't want to review a product I couldn't get behind. However, I was able to easily find their Simply Perfect bars at Target while picking up some baby wipes and pregnancy acne remedies (true story!) and thought, heck! Why not?

Guys. Guys! These bars are GOOD. Like, really good. I picked up the dark chocolate and cashew flavor. When I opened the it up, I was pleasantly surprised to see the whole bar was dark chocolate (not just measly dark chocolate chunks!) and it was loaded with cashews. It has a whopping 11 grams of protein in it, and despite the "sweet sounding" flavor, it wasn't obnoxiously sugary. It was just tasty.

I really like how I can throw one in my bag on my way out the door and eat it, mess free, before I hit up a yoga class. The protein keeps me full and powered up throughout my workout.

Great tasting nutrition bars for better snacking or breakfast! https://ooh.li/b878f29

Since I'm pregnant and eating a few extra hundred calories a day, I also sometimes like an afternoon snack. It's so easy to grab one of the ZonePerfect Perfectly Simple bars and do some of my blog planning or post writing! My keyboard doesn't get sticky from messy fingers (who else is guilty of that?!) and the rich flavor is so satisfying for those afternoon hunger pains.

Great tasting nutrition bars for better snacking or breakfast! https://ooh.li/b878f29

When life gets busy, it becomes extra challenging to take a moment for yourself. We often rush through meals or worse yet, drive through a fast food joint out of desperation for convenience. ZonePerfect helps us take those moments and makes it easier with their Perfectly Simple bars! Remember to take time for yourself this hectic school year and #FeelGooder about your snacking choices!

Want to try ZonePerfect Perfect Simple bars at a discount?! Here's a coupon to give them your own taste test. Let me know what you think! I have my eye on the toffee almond crunch flavor, that's for sure. Happy snacking!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Traveling to Minneapolis

A lot of bloggers love to write "travel re-cap" posts after they've been to a city, often high lighting where they stayed, where they ate, what they did, etc. This will get eye rolls from some of my blogging friends, but honestly - those posts are boring. I look at the city, think, "Yup, not going there in the next two-five years, longhairDON'TCARE."

So instead of a recap, I'm going to {attempt} to humor you with some anecdotes I noticed when I traveled to Minneapolis this past weekend. I am glad, however, that my blogging friends had a good time in their destinations! I DO like people to have great times! Can we pretty please still be friends?



Traveling to Minneapolis: Random Anecdotal Thoughts

I had forgotten how wonderful it is to be in a city that doesn't have strip malls everywhere. There's historic, stand alone buildings and mom n' pop shops and independent coffee houses galore. What a treat! Not to mention green grass and trees everywhere. I had forgotten what that was like because I live in an ugly, concrete jungle named Dallas.

I remembered that people there drive painfully slow, but I did NOT remember how poorly all the lights are timed. You sit at those things for more than half the commute time for where you're trying to go! It was absurd. It was more enraging than being forced into 45mph on the freeway!

You can throw a dart at a restaurant, any restaurant, and the food will be better than anything you'll get at the hottest, "best" restaurants in Dallas. Minneapolis is a foodie's dream. Unless you want tacos/Mexican... Don't eat that there, for any reason, ever.

Traveling with a toddler is a nightmare. I watched my typically well-behaved, mellow 15 month old turn into a temper-tantrum-little-devil-a$$hole. He showed all our friends and family his worst side, the ENTIRE trip. You know what toddlers love? Stability and routine. You know what traveling isn't? Stable and repetitive. Now I know - no trips involving hotels with children aged 1-3yrs. Just don't do it. Not MPLS related, just a life anecdote worth noting here.

Minneapolis is COLD. 65 degrees in August cold. I wore pants and sweaters the whole time. And I loved it... For four days. Pretty excited to return to summer by the end of our stay!

Despite said cold, everyone (myself included) was still wearing sandals. And I noticed that exactly 2% of Minneapolisites "believe" in pedicures. If your toes are hangin' and looking at everyone, why aren't they done?! Get a pedi, Minneapolis! Not even by a professional, you can do them yourselves... Just do them. Do something! Please Minneapolis. Busted-looking toes aren't cute.


Have you ever traveled to Minneapolis or another city and noticed some funny things? I'd love to hear all about it!


Monday, August 24, 2015

Road Trip Hacks: Traveling With Little Ones!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RoadTripHacks #CollectiveBias #TomThumb

We ventured up to Minneapolis this weekend, escaping the nasty, never ending summer of Texas. It was a treat to wear jeans again, even if it did mean I had to dig out my old maternity jeans. While we didn't road trip the 1100 miles north, we did road trip out to DFW airport (arguably a long car ride) and traveling with a toddler got me inspired to share my road trip hacks with you.

Road trip tricks for traveling with little ones #RoadTripHacks #TomThumb #ad


When you have wee ones, organization and planning ahead is KEY. When you're organized and plan ahead, the whole process is so much easier. I like to start with a quick shopping trip to Tom Thumb, because there's one located about six blocks from my house. That level of proximity already makes things easier!

Road trips are fun and deserve special treats, but I don't like to go overboard with the junk food - especially the sugar. Sugar highs and toddlers/husbands can be a bit much in the confined space of a car. I like the whole grains in Triscuits Original, and the protein punch in Peanut M&M's. We're Texans, so tortilla chips are a must and the Restaurant Style by Tostitios is so tasty!

#RoadTripHacks #TomThumb #ad

Y'all know I'm anti soda and anti-sugary drinks in general, but I learned that Capri Sun cut the amount of sugar in its product AND there's no high fructose corn syrup in it. A product straight after my little yogi heart! Plus the packaging makes it so easy to consume in a moving car. Finally, I love a breath freshener like Orbits gum. It helps me stay awake for any long, monotonous drives.

Easy access to these products while driving is essential. Instead of a big cooler, I like smaller ones because the car is already full enough with luggage and toddler gear. To keep your beverages from getting wet and dripping all over you, I like to pack the ice in little baggies. Then I put my non-cold food items in a plastic bag within arms reach. Using the bag the grocer gave you is great because it doubles as a trash bag when you're done with your treats!

Road tip hacks for traveling with little ones! #RoadTripHacks #TomThumb #ad

While road trips are fun and a time to let yourself have some treats, I want to still provide nutritious food for my family. I don't want items that are too greasy (I do not need to clean up greasy little finger prints off the back of my seats!) or that veer too far from the way we typically eat (no additional emergency bathroom stops, please and thank you!)


When you're packing the family up for your next road trip, I recommend getting products that are "treats" but still reasonably healthy for your family to consume. Keep them in easy arms reach, reuse the bags from the store for trash, and downsize your cooler for an easier fit. All these road trip hacks will lead you to a fun final destination!


Taking a road trip this summer? Click here to enter the Best Road Trip Ever Sweepstakes for your chance to win a new car and share your road trip story!

Finally, remember to enjoy the ride!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Favorites August 21 Edition

The weekend is here, our bathroom is being gutted (I'm talking down to the studs, y'all!) and while I'm not thrilled to be living in a construction zone through September, I'm going to be SO happy to have this bathroom redone!

Let's jump right in to the other great things that went down this week:

1) I ordered my 2016 planner! Nerd alert? Yup. But I have to organize and manage all kinds of schedules for everyone in the family and LOVE paper planners. Phones just don't cut it. Kristen talked about Plum Paper Designs last week and the customization options with their planners was on point! Also on point? The price! Got mine for under $40. Boom.

Plum Papper Designs custom daily planner
I picked out this design, but obvi mine will say Paige. Yay for bigger and better planners for 2016!

2) I was informed that Henry will take a test next week to determine a discharge date from physical therapy! You know from my posts about his torticollis that we've been going to PT every week for months upon months now. This week he impressed his therapist so much that she's ready to begin the discharge process. I. Cannot. Wait. To. Be. Done. And never drive to Plano again! Sorry, Plano. (FYI, it's a suburb about 40 mins north of Dallas).

3) Henry started kissing my belly and saying, "baby!" And it made my heart explode. He is such a kind, thoughtful toddler (can that even be said about toddlers?!) and I cannot wait to watch his sweet soul become a big brother!

"I'm going to be a big brother soon!"
4) I enrolled to be an independent distributor of Young Living essential oils! I love everything about them and can't wait to learn more about how I can get rid of harmful chemicals in my house (especially with two kids under two and two dogs!) I'm excited to share what I learn on this space too, for all my holistic health minded folks. More to come in the near future!

5) Chewy.com sent our doggies these cookie treats! They look like delicious chocolate chip cookies, but are in fact made of beef jerky. Go figure right? The boys love them. My pregnant self can barely tolerate the way they smell... But what else is new?

A huge variety of dogs treats are available on chewy.com
Big boy Baxter and wee dog Otis Beaufort love these things!

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! Linking up with Amanda, Karli, Liz and H54F!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Dallas Driving Tips

You probably read that title and thought, "Uhhhh... So Dallas is in the U.S. and we all go to driving school... What exactly about that requires further tips?"

Oh, my dear friends. You are so very, very wrong.

Driving in Dallas is very much like driving in a third world country. We don't follow any typical driving rules. Hell, I've come to learn and accept that nobody in the state of Texas has taken Drivers Ed, nor taken and passed a legitimate driving test to obtain a license. It's (apparently) not the Texas way.


Any of the traditional rules of the road that apply in all other 49 states absolutely DO NOT apply in Dallas. Fear not! I've come to decipher the few meager rules that do apply in the Big D (short for Big Douchebag Drivers) and will share them for your amusement or necessity should you be planning a trip here soon.

Dallas Driving Tips:

1) Forget standard "right of way" rules. You yield to the larger vehicle. For example, I drive a mid sized SUV. Therefore, I get the f**k out of any trucks way, and all Toyota Prius' better get the f**k out of my way. Any pickup truck will NOT brake or yield to you. Period. So steer clear. Especially if you're in a Prius.

2) Do not, for any reason, brake for a yellow light. You WILL get rear ended. You punch the gas and go through it! If you're the first one at the red light, count to five after the light changes AND look both ways before going. Odds are 99.9847% no fewer than three cars will run that light, so unless you're looking to get t-boned, proceed after a few seconds of green.

3) MINIMUM acceptable speed on the freeway/interstate is 80mph. DO NOT go slower than this and DO NOT pay attention to posted speeds. They don't matter. Dallas PD is fighting legitimate crime, not posting up speed traps, so it's all good. Use that accelerator and use it liberally. If you want to chug along at 60mph, drive on the frontage road. That's where that speed is acceptable and used.

4) This is NOT a "no fault" state for insurance, so watch out for that hooptie ride. If it's 109 out and it's windows are rolled down (no working AC in the car), it's got four rims and a hubcap, there's a self-applied window tint job and the paint is peeling, odds are 99.984% that THAT person doesn't carry insurance and gives zero s**ts about it. Steer clear of this person, because if they hit you, you're the one who's outta luck, not them. Treat them like a pickup truck and yield, yield, yield!

5) When exiting the freeway, do not brake for cars in other lanes you may need to merge over to in order to exit. Braking causes traffic and really gets people mad here. If there's a tricky traffic situation and your exit is coming up, punch the gas and pass the hell out of people to the left, then cut over the three to six lanes to get to the exit. No need to signal, everyone is on their phone anyway and not watching your crazy lane changing. This keeps traffic flowing freely, at 80mph or above, and everyone stays happy. Remember, this is Texas and people are packing heat. You don't want to upset anyone, especially with your damn brake lights.

Image source
That's the quick-notes on driving successfully in Dallas! My mom has taken to holding on and covering her eyes when she visits. Most of our other out-of-town guests refuse to drive here. I white-knuckled it for the first six months, but now the daily "Super Mario Bros" driving game is second nature to me.

Welcome to Dallas!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The BEST Banana Bread

There is indeed a BAKING recipe on this blog! I made this recipe a few weeks ago and proudly instagrammed it. When I found myself wanting more of it last week, I thought ok - people need this recipe. Yes, need.

It's so good, I don't even care about turning on my oven when it's 108 outside. THAT'S how friggin' finger lickin' good this stuff is. Like, eat the crumbs off the countertop good. Don't act like you've never done that.

So get yourself some 'naners, let them get real ripe on your counter and then hook yourself up with this deliciousness.


The BEST Banana Bread
- 3 overly ripe bananas
- 1.5 C flour
- 3/4 C sugar
- 1 t baking powder
- 1/4 t salt
- 1 T vanilla
- 1/4 C milk
- 1 egg
- 1/3 C butter, melted
- 1/2 C chopped walnuts (optional, but why wouldn't you?!)
- 1/2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional, but why wouldn't you?!)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a bread pan. Peel and smash the bananas with a fork and set aside. Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl: the four, sugar, salt and baking powder.

Add the wet ingredients to the well-mixed dry: mashed bananas, melted butter, egg, milk, and vanilla. Stir for about a minute, mixing all the ingredients together well. Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips.

Pour into the greased and floured bread pan. Bake for at LEAST one hour (baking time depends on elevation and humidity levels). I baked this one for an hour and ten minutes. You want the edges to be a dark brown. If you don't bake it until it reaches that point, you'll have a mushy, under-cooked center of your bread! Don't worry, this bread will not dry out, the bananas keep it moist (anyone else dislike that word?)
With a cooling rack, flip the bread out of the baking pan immediately after taking it out of the oven. Allow the bread to cool on the cooling rack before cutting. This bread is good as is or with a coat of butter added to it!

The BEST banana bread recipe

Enjoy!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Family-Centered Interior Design Ideas

In our family, I'm the "take-charge doer and manager" and my husband is the "planner and plan approver", if that makes any sense.

We moved into our home about six months ago, and sadly, we STILL have many bare walls and interior design plans that are merely in the plan stage, and have not come to fruition. So this last weekend, hubs and I did a "divide and conquer" approach to get some of these plans out of the plan stage and into the action phase!

Decorating your home around your family

Hubs took Lil' H and headed to a few of our favorite design/craft stores for some things for our playroom and half bathroom. Our playroom is 20x18 and had ONE thing on the wall! Embarrassing, I know. Here's how his family-centered interior design panned out:

This is my blogging space, in the playroom. {For any of my bloggers + moms, this is the ideal set up!} The banner was from Mother's Day and oddly fits the sign perfectly and the colors match what I already had going on in my little corner. How perfect is that?!

An office or blogging space in the playroom is perfect for SAHM's!

He got this for future storage (currently hung much higher than little toddler hands can reach into) and the playroom rules canvas was our lonely item already in place.

Wall decor ideas for playrooms or nurseries

In the half bath, he got more wire contraptions (not a big fan of this one, but I do like the blue one in the playroom!) He even picked out the nick-knacks (that's how spell check told me to spell it - looks wrong to me! Anyone help me here? Is that right?!) that are on the shelves. The man picked out a bird and mason jars, y'all.

Half bath or small bathroom decor ideas

Then he got this to display more pics of our family. He even went and got the photos printed! I can't wait to make some room to add Otto to the mix.

Clothes pin picture frame

What did I do while I handed the steering wheel of interior design and family-centered decor over to my husband and toddler? I met with our contractor, interior designers and showroom sales folks to schedule our master bathroom demolition! I designed our custom-built vanities, purchased a toilet, soaker tub and a few slabs of an eco-friendly recycled material for our upcoming brand new master bath. Construction starts this week and if everything stays on track, we should be riddin' pretty in our spa-like bath before the end of September. #fingerscrossed

How do you decorate your home? Do you incorporate any family-centered interior design or decor to make it feel more "homey"?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Friday Favorites August 14 Edition

This week was a long one. Like, really really real long.

I've developed either strong round ligament pain and/or "pulling pain" around my c section scar where Otto is now stretching/putting weight on it. (Like my terminology? Clearly I'm M.D. material.) It's incessantly hot in Dallas. Opening the front door is like opening the oven door - hot air blowing hair and all. It's exhausting. And bonus: my toddler is cutting more teeth and has a serious-all-day-whine-thing going on and going strong.

Enough Negative Nancy stuff though, right? There's always a rainbow if you look for it! Always. Here were this week's rainbow moments:

1) I got blogging business cards! Whoohoo, I'm all official now. I'm going to Blog Elevated in September, so I had these beauts made up to better network at my first ever blog conference. Anyone else going? Let's make plans to meet up!

Blogger business cards are important for brands to take you seriously! They're easy and affordable to make through online printing services like vistaprint


2) I went to my first Young Living essential oils party/class! I know I said I was going to it about two weeks ago, but it turns out we're all moms and that's life when you have littles... #roadblocks. But we got our act together, had some apps and wine, learned some things, and had a GREAT time! It was a fun night out for me, and really re-invigorated my desire to ditch the harmful chemicals in my home (cleaning supplies, unnecessary beauty/makeup stuff, antiperspirant, etc) and replace it with natural, holistic health options. #mesocrunchy

3) The crib and the sheets I ordered already shipped! I talked about my shared nursery design for the boys here, and how I got on ordering last weekend because everything took so long with Henry. Well the internet Gods were listening/reading and all my orders have either arrived or shipped. This crib took four months to arrive with Henry and less than two weeks for Otto! Go figure. Good thing we have lots of storage space!

Bratt Decor brushed pewter crib


4) With all the teeth coming in, Henry has slept until 7am! I was NOT blessed with a good sleeper. He takes an hour nap a day MAX and is wide-eyed and busy-tailed around 5:45-6:15am each and everyday. Alas, the upside to these dang teeth is my squiggly-wiggly-very-awake-toddler is staying asleep until 7am. Hallelujah. (Bedtime is a strict 7pm for those who are curious.)

5)We're escaping Dallas SOON! We have a trip to Minneapolis planned in the immediate future and our babymoon to Cape Cod shortly thereafter. Hello actually tolerable cooler weather and great food! Come to mama. Or, errrr, I guess I'll come to you. Either way you slice it, get me the heck up outta here!

Minneapolis in the summer
Lake Calhoun and Minneapolis skyline - Image source.

Linking up with my girls Amanda, Karli, Liz and H54F to share the Friday Favorites love!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What's The Deal With Rocksbox?!

I feel like nearly everyyyyyyyyy blogger is talking about Rocksbox. I had seen it flying around the blogoshpere for several months when I got the email from a fellow Paige (yay!) who offered me several months free of the jewelry subscription service and a code for my readers to try it for free as well.


I'll be super honest with you: I was reluctant to accept. I'm really not into "loud" jewelry (you know what I'm talking about - the big, chunky, bold stuff that draws a whole lot of attention and - to me - looks like a whole lot of colored plastic). Most the reviews I've seen of this service have been chalk full of that stuff.

But her name was Paige and she was so cool and she praised this little blog of mine and my Instagram feed and I was like, "Ok fellow Paige, twist my arm!" And next thing I knew I was filling out a style profile and a wish list.

The style profile you fill out lets you get fairly detailed about your style, but I really think the greatest thing about Rocksbox is the wishlist. You add items to a list that you really like and would like to try on. This gives your stylist a visual of what exactly you like, and a "short list" of items you would like sent to you.


Rocksbox works like this: for $19/mo, you get jewelry sent to your home (in super cute packaging I might add!) There's a window of time where you can buy any of the pieces at a great discount. If you don't want to purchase any of it, you can wear it for as long as you like! Read: No obnoxious 3 day turn-around window like Stitch Fix. (That's my beef with the Fix; it's often times too quick of a turn around. My package never fits in my mailbox so it's an extra trip to mail and rarely gets back before they're like "So if we don't get this in 24hrs you're getting billed for all of it Mrs. Leitch" and I'm like "shut your face Stitch Fix, you're annoying!" I digress...)

Yes, you can keep and wear the jewelry for as long as you want! You're just paying $19/mo. When you're ready for something new, send it back (with the free shipping tag they send you) and get ready for your next shipment of jewels. No timelines. No "we're waiting!!!" emails for the returns. It's all on YOUR timeline!


I LOVED what I got this go-around. All yellow gold and delicate pieces that were truly things I would wear. In fact, I already own a pair of gold Tiffany's studs that are nearly identical to what they sent me. I wear those daily! Hubs actually picked them out (can you go wrong with Tiffany's?) and he did such a good job - as did my Rocksbox stylist!

Bottom line is, I learned that Rocksbox carries real gold/gold plated, delicate stuff. That means Rocksbox.They also carry the chunky stuff it that's your vibe. You get to choose! And you get your own shipment timeline! You could get several shipments in a month or you could keep it for several. There's so much flexibility with Rocksbox.


Want to try out a month of Rocksbox for free? Enter code anuncomplicatedlifeblogxoxo at checkout and get your first month on the house! Just promise to let me know what you think or tag me in your IG pic so I can see whatcha got too, ok? I love sparkly things :)


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Designing A Nursery

Now that we know this baby in my belly is another boy, I can get cranking designing the nursery! I feel SO on top of things. At over 20 weeks pregnant, I have the crib and sheets ordered. I didn't even think about this stuff until I was nearly in my third trimester with Henry - and then everything didn't get here until Lil' H was well over two months old. Oopies.

But I'm on it this time! Here's the plan:


Since my boys will be so close in age, we're going to move them into the largest spare bedroom (currently the guest room) and have it be a double nursery. Little Otto will be sleeping in a bassinet in our master for the first few exhausting months of his life for easy boob access, so that won't disturb Henry's sleep - just mine. Boo! Meh, that's motherhood.

Anyway, Henry had a jungle theme in his nursery, with blue and green accent colors. Wouldn't you know, we recently had the guest room painted blue. Perfect for the two boys! So I ordered an identical crib for Otto. The two boys will have matching cribs and we also have the changing table that completes the set. The brushed pewter will look great against the blue walls!

Brushed pewter crib from Bratt Decor
The crib both the boys will have from Bratt Decor
After getting that ordered, I crossed my fingers and headed over to Pottery Barn Kids to see about getting Otto sheets that match Henry's. I'm OCD, and it would drive me nuts to have matching cribs with different sheets. It was my lucky day, because they still carried the two styles we have for Lil' H! YASSSSSSS.

I ordered Otto both the Jungle Friends sheet:

Pottery Barn Kids crib bedding
Jungle Friends bedding from Pottery Barn Kids

And the Peter Rabbit sheet:

Pottery Barn Kids crib bedding
Peter Rabbit bedding from Pottery Barn Kids
FYI to any first time moms reading this, DO NOT buy the whole bedding set. We made this mistake, and ended up fighting with Pottery Barn Kids about returning most of it (we won in the end). See, there should be nothing in the crib beyond the fitted sheet. No blankets (baby sleeps in a sleep sack) and no bumpers (cute as they are, they suffocate babies. It's even illegal in Chicago to sell crib bumpers now!) So if you're in the process of designing your own nursery, just get the fitted sheet and the crib skirt. Save your money on the rest, because you won't ever use it!

I didn't order Otto a crib skirt because Henry's crib is lowered all the way down now, so that there isn't room for it. I'll use his on Otto's crib until we eventually have to lower his bed, too. Here's what it will look like when done (these photos are from our rental we no longer live in, and were from this post detailing Henry's nursery):

Jungle themed baby boy nursery

We have a jungle themed swing, an overstuffed gliding rocking chair and jungle wall art ready to be moved into the new shared room:

Jungle themed baby boy nursery

It's so nice to have the majority of the things we already need, and the other essential items were just a click away on my laptop! Makes designing our shared nursery so much easier. Now I get to sit back and wait for things to arrive while I get some of my other "baby two to-do's" checked off my list.


Monday, August 10, 2015

How To Better Manage Teething Babies

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and it's advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TeethingTruths #CollectiveBias 

If you've ever had to deal with a teething baby, you already know: It's rough. On everyone. The once peaceful baby is magically transformed into a fussy, crabby, drooly, sometimes-inconsolable mess of their former self. And you, caregiver? You're tired, you're crabby, and you want to soothe the child so that s/he feels better and you can get some peace!



Henry currently has 16 teeth and is working on cutting four more. At once. He always gets his teeth in groups. Which is extra fun for me (sarcasm anyone?) and extra painful for Henry and extra stressful on us both. But it's also made me a bit of a baby teething connoisseur.

Here are some great tips on getting through the icky teething phase with your wee one as best you possibly can!

- DON'T go out and spend a fortune on teethers. You never know what your baby will take and what they wont. To this day, Henry has yet to take a teether. Instead, try getting one of several different varieties. If your child takes to one in particular, then go out and get more of that favored kind.

- DO try unconventional teethers! When Henry was cutting his first teeth, he would enjoy sucking on an ice cold wash cloth. I dampened it with water and put it in a plastic bag in the freezer. When I noticed he was extra fussy, I would pull it out and let him suck on it. As it warms up, just rotate it to a cold spot in their mouth so the baby gets continued relief.

Teething pain relief ideas from Infants' Advil #TeethingTruths


- DON'T get too panicked or stressed out. Remain as calm as you can through the teething fits. Kiddos read and emulate your energy; if you're getting high strung because your infant is constantly fussing, they will continue to be constantly fussing. If you need a break, take a walk or run an errand! Henry is always calm in his stroller. If that's not the case for your little one, ask your partner to take a shift so you can catch a break.

- DO administer pain relief, like Infants' Advil. I found mine in the pain relief aisle at Walgreen's Pharmacy. I love that it helps Henry with the pain and because it's ibuprofen, it reduces swelling as well. It's dye-free and appropriate for children beginning at six months, right when teething pain can be a real pain for everyone! Infant Advil offers parents a simple, effective solution to relieve their babies' pain with up to eight hours of relief in just one dose. I like to give Henry a dose at bedtime if he's showing teething signs so that he can sleep well. A well rested baby helps tremendously with overall fussiness!

Infants' Advil can be found in the pain relief aisle of Walgreen's Pharmacy
#TeethingTruths #ad
Infant pain relief for poor little teethers!

Good news! Want to try Infant's Advil to help your little teether get some pain relief? Click here for a $1.50 off coupon!


Friday, August 7, 2015

5 Month Bumpdate, Friday Five Style!

I was going to hold on to this post until Monday, but do you know what I'm not good at? Keeping secrets. Do you know what we found out yesterday? The gender of baby 2.

Drumroll please! (I'm pretending like you're reading my intro as opposed to what you're actually doing, which is skipping to the good stuff.)

Gender reveal idea

 
Gender reveal: paint sibling's hand in color of new baby and make a print on your tummy
Otto William Stewart Leitch will be joining the family this December!

Yay for my studmuffin! Word cannot express how excited I am for another boy. Y'all, I was MEANT to be a #boymom! Everyone (literally, everyone) thought this baby was going to be a girl and assumed I wanted a girl. I did not. Gimme all the trucks and dirt and sports and sweet baby boy-mama kisses; you can keep your bows and cute clothes and crazy-estrogen-ridden-teenage girls, please and thank you. I was #teamblue, through and through. I can't wait to hold baby Otto this December!

And since this is a Friday post AND 5th month bumpdate, here's the lowdown Friday-style:

1) Mood: I have been so irritable! I'm blaming the heat (haven't seen anything less than triple digits since... I don't even know when, last winter?) This week H and I were driving home from his physical therapy appointment way out in the burbs, and it was like every d-bag driver in Dallas was out. Then on our way back home, we were stuck on the Tollway for nearly two hours (just sitting with no way to get off the freeway) because one of said d-bags wrecked. I nearly peed my pants. Henry then refused to nap. It was a douzie of a day.

2) Craving: Oddly, nothing, but my AVERSIONS have come back full force. No chicken, turkey, seafood, pork or anything besides veggies and an occasional small amount of beef. Hubs ordered a grilled chicken salad at a fancy Uptown restaurant we went to for lunch last weekend, and my mouth and eyes started to water like I was going to lose it right there in the restaurant. I kinda wanted it to happen because it would have been fun to gross out all the uppity, persnickety, obnoxious Dallas 20something socialites day drinking there. Ha! Man, I'm getting old...

3) Missing: Not much! I don't have the desire to do extreme workouts like I did with Henry. I'm quite satisfied power walking and yoga-ing. After the day I described above, I really wanted an entire bottle of wine. But mostly, I'm just chillin' (HAHAHAHA JK JK I'M SWEATING) in the "glory days" of the second trimester.

4) Weight: I'm exactly halfway through this pregnancy and I'm up 5.5lbs. I should be able to keep the obnoxious baby weight to around 25ish pounds, right where I want it. #goals

5) Excited for: FINALLY starting to make some purchases for the second baby and getting these nursery plans off the ground. I'll need some winter clothes for 0-3 months and a second crib... That's it. SO EASY! We ordered Henry's nursery stuff so late, it didn't come until he was about nine weeks old. Granted, he came a month early, so part of that was on him. But now that we know the gender, I feel like I can full-out nest up in this house! I'm also really excited to decorate for fall, but that's unrelated to this baby... Unless I come up with a great costume for myself this year involving a massive belly.

Have a great weekend y'all! Per usual, linking up with Amanda, Karli, Liz and H54F!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Beef, Snap Pea & Mushroom Stir Fry

A new favorite tradition I've started is watching the Pioneer Woman on Food Network Saturday mornings while I drink coffee. I grab a pen, stationary and my phone (for Pinteresting during the commercials) and meal plan for the upcoming week.

Hubs is out baby-wearing Lil' H while they walk the dogs. The. Whole. House. To. Myself. With Pioneer Woman and Food Network. Pretty sure this is SAHM heaven!

Anyway, this last weekend she made her version of chicken and cashew stir fry. Baby 2 has decided that all poultry is off limits for the foreseeable future, and I can't follow a recipe verbatim to save my life anyway, so this is my spin on what she aired!


Beef, Snap Pea & Mushroom Stir Fry
- 1C uncooked brown rice (cook to the directions on the package per that serving)
- 1lb stir fry beef strips (I additionally cut mine into smaller pieces)
- 1.5C snap peas
- 1C broccoli florets (fresh, not frozen)
- 2C button mushrooms, quartered
- 1T ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4C oyster sauce
- 1/4C plus 2T sesame oil
- 1/4C water
- 2T rice wine vinegar
- 3T soy sauce
- 1T brown sugar
- 1T flour
- 2T olive oil
sliced green onions/scallions (to top/ganish)
chopped fresh parsley (to top/garnish)
sesame seeds (to top/garnish) 
Optional: several tablespoons of your favorite chili-garlic hot sauce, such as Sriracha 

Fresh ingredients for Beef, Snap Pea and Mushroom Stir Fry

After prepping all your veggies and starting your brown rice, heat olive oil in a large skillet on high. Salt and pepper the beef, and add to the searing hot pan. Turn on your hood/vent, because you want this so hot it smokes! Don't stir or move the beef, but instead let it develop a dark brown color. Brown both sides, then remove from pan.


Let the pan sit to cool for a few minutes, but don't wash or clean out the beef drippings. After it's cooled, add 2T of sesame oil along with the mushrooms and broccoli. Cook on med-low heat. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, water, oyster sauce, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, optional hot sauce and brown sugar.

One the veggies are al dente, add flour to the pan and cook for about a minute, sopping up the oil. Add the snow peas and beef back to the pan. Pour over the sauce you just mixed. Combine and simmer to thicken.

Serve over hot brown rice. Add green onions, parsley sesame seeds to taste and to garnish.

Beef, snap pea and mushroom stir fry


Enjoy! Do you like making your own stir fry at home? It's SO much healthier than takeout!