Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week, Part 1

children in the hospitalLast Tuesday, I got the call that every parent dreads getting from their kid's school - the sick call.  But this call was different than the others.  He couldn't breathe.

I called J's pediatrician immediately, and got him an appointment.  Thank God his daycare is connected to the hospital.  I went, and picked him up and walked straight to his doctor.  The nurse looked at his stomach and saw the strain that was involved in every labored breath and sent him straight to the ER.

I took him downstairs where the ER is located and spoke with reception.  The waiting room was overrun.  I looked around at the coughing, hacking people sitting every other seat, to avoid one another, and thought, My kid can't breathe!  I can't wait for these people to get through first.  Luckily, the woman sitting at reception agreed and he was pushed to the third person to be seen.  My H arrived right as they called J into the ER.

The ER was so busy, we had to walk sideways and scoot through people.  The nurse placed us in a "room" divided by curtains with a TV playing claymation Christmas movies.  'Tis the effin' season.  The nurse showed me how to give J a breathing treatment.  I had to hold him down, like he was in a psych ward, and hold the dinosaur breathing mask over his face.  It looked like I was trying to murder him.  And, in my head I kept thinking, is he going to be scared of me after this?  We did this, one, two, three, four times.  The breathing treatments weren't working.  X-rays were taken.  Blood was taken for tests.  Then we heard the sentence that made my stomach drop, "We need to call an ambulance and have him go to Lurie's Children's Hospital."  It was real.  This was really happening.  This was really happening.  It was the most helpless I have ever felt.  Why can't I fix you? I screamed in my head.  But my face remained blank as I nodded.

While waiting for the ambulance, the nurse needed to put in an IV because he was getting dehydrated.  I thought I felt helpless before, but I didn't know what helpless was.  I had to hold him down as he screamed with a rubber band around his arm.  I placed my forehead against his and started singing Riptide, so he was only looking and paying attention to me.  The nurse jabbed his vein.  I felt evil.  This is a song I sing him to sleep with and now I used it to distract him so some terrible nurse could make my son bleed all over the bed (which he did).  She missed once.  She missed twice.  She missed a third time.

Finally, the ambulance for Lurie's Children's Hospital arrived.  They checked him out and decided he needed to go to the PICU.  The H and I carried him to the ambulance and watched them strap him down and place the breathing mask over his face.  This is when I broke down.  As the wet snow started to fall, Christmas lights from our house could be seen across the street (yes, we live that close), and Kyle whispers, "Did you ever think we would see this?"  I broke down.

To Be Continued.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Top Tutorials for Holiday Hairstyles and Make-up

With holiday parties creeping up on us faster than we realize, it's time to start thinking about our holiday party looks.  I skipped across the internet this fine afternoon and searched for my favorite holiday hair and make-up tutorials.  Enjoy!

The first is Bethany Mota's No Heat Holidays Curls + 3 Updos (I'm trying the third style!)


This is a fun, funky hairstyle that works on short and long hair by Kayley Melissa.


Here is a holiday make-up tutorial from Ingrid Nilsen.  She uses products great for oily/shiny skin (my main pain-point!).  Also, I like her tricks on covering up under eye circles (Am I right, mamas?)



Please Note:  Because I have videos embedded in this post, my subscribers will have to click on the original post, depending on their email provider.  Thanks!


What I listened to while writing:

Go by the Civil Wars

Two Hands p by OAR

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Monday, December 8, 2014

The Power of Words

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="284"]Writing to reach you Photo credit: Wim Mulder / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA[/caption]

My keyboard is my piano.  When I'm writing, no matter how eloquent the topic or "voice" is, I feel like I am composing something bigger than myself.  When I get to tell you a story about dancing and screaming the lyrics to Centuries because my baby is driving me absolutely insane, I know that some of you have gone through exactly the same thing and that you might feel a little better knowing that I went insane too.  You aren't alone.

Being a mom can feel isolating sometimes.  A lot of my friends don't have kids, so we have suddenly gone into different stages of our lives.  I can't blame them for not calling when they go to the bar anymore.  That's a learned behavior for them because I can't.  They have gotten enough, "I'm sorry, I can't" responses to know what my answer is 90% of the time.  I can't be spontaneous anymore.  I need a ridiculous amount of notice in order to get my life in order enough to leave my routine for a night.  So, naturally, sometimes I feel a little isolated.  When I feel like a shut in, writing is my therapy.  Writing to you helps me feel not so alone anymore.  I'm not alone.

That's what writing is to me.  When people ask me why I write a blog on top of all the other responsibilities I have, this is my answer.  I love to feel connected to people through words.  I love to hear back from my readers and know that they feel better because of something I wrote.  We aren't alone.

So, for those wondering why I write this blog when I work full time and have a family to take care of and some semblance of a social life to maintain, I refer you to this: The power of words goes beyond stringing a subject, verb, and object together into a complete sentence.  A single sentence can rock you to your core.  A single sentence can change your mind.  A single sentence can make you believe.  A single sentence can change your mood.   And having the power to touch people in that way is addicting.

What I listened to while writing:

Bad Romance by Lissie

Happy by Gardiner Sisters

No One's Gonna Love You by Band of Horses

Wonderwall by Ryan Adams

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Holiday Season in Chicago

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="347"]Nights Before Christmas Photo credit: player_pleasure / Foter / CC BY[/caption]

Let me begin by saying, yes, I am bias.  Now, to the first sentence of this blog.

Chicago is the best place to live during the holidays!  The holiday decor and lights are painted all over the streets and skyline.  It is a beautiful city, no matter the season, but the holidays just feel that much more special here.  Take advantage of the amazing season, and go to the fun events around Chicago.  Every month, I write a monthly bucket list of things I want to do.  December, my bucket list gets so long, I usually only get to touch on a few of them.  Here is my December bucket list!

1.  Watch a holiday movie once a week with J

2.  Get a real Christmas tree from a tree farm - the chop your own kind.

3.  Go to the Winter Wonderland at Navy Pier and take J to see Santa there

4.  Shop State Street - I love the animated lights and music! (and the guy in front of Old Navy who yells about pot smokers going to hell....)

5.  Zoo Lights at Brookfield Zoo

6.  Take J to the Children's Museum during my time off at the end of the month

7.  Make Christmas crafts with family and friends

8.  Plan a Chicago-rific New Years Eve

9.  Make Christmas cookies with J

10.  Take J on the holiday el ride

11.  Go to the German market downtown

What I listened to while writing:

The War Within by Churchill

Riptide by Emblem3

Poison and Wine by The Civil Wars

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Finding Time for a Workout

[caption id="attachment_129" align="alignleft" width="300"]Photo credit: Ed Yourdon / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA Photo credit: Ed Yourdon / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA[/caption]

Sorry for the absence!  It has been incredibly busy with the holidays, work, baby, family, events, etc, but I'm making time for you, my lovely readers now.  Let me first just say how thankful I am for you.  I started this blog as a way to 1) Let mamas know that they aren't alone. 2) Practice my writing.  I write for work daily, but writing in my work "voice" is much different than my own "voice," but as I wrote and continued this blog, I have begun to see a community forming around me and I am happy to be able to be a part of it.

I digress.

Finding time to workout when you have children is hard, especially when you're a working mom.  You feel guilty enough for being gone so much.  However, if you give up on yourself, you aren't being the best that you can be for yourself, your child, your husband, your friends, your family, and the list goes on.  I workout during my lunch at work, but not everyone is able to do that.  Maybe you don't have a close gym.  Maybe you don't have a long lunch.  Either way - maybe a lunch break workout doesn't work for you.  Second option, gym with a daycare after work.  My gym has a daycare included, but I work so much that I try to spend my nights with J.  Third option, gym after baby goes to bed.  This works well for those with a later work time.  I'm in the office by 6:30am, so, no.  I am firmly in bed by 9pm.  If you try and mess with my bedtime, I'll cut you.  Fourth option, workout at home!

Working out at home is not always easy.  Motivation is hard to come by.  However, I found an app that is AMAZING and makes your at-home workouts easier!  VimoFit on Android phones syncs with Android Wear.  You can set up the app, so it personalizes a workout for you based on your fitness level and the type of workout you want to do.  The workouts that the app sets up for you are all things you can do at home (the only equipment needed is dumb bells).  The app actually has a video of how to do the exercise with audio.  It syncs with your Android Wear and counts your reps, alarms when it is time to go to the next exercise, and vibrates when it is time to switch sides.  I have transitioned my GF diet to Primal, and with the Primal diet, HIIT workouts are recommended.  I did an HIIT workout yesterday with the app and it kicked my butt.  A definite recommend!

What do you do to stay in shape with kids at home?

What I listened to while writing:

Bloom by The Paper Kites

Pumpin Blood by NONONO

Billie Jean by The Civil Wars

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Toddler Boy: Hipster Style.

Toddler Boy Hipster Style

1.  Fair Isle Sweater, Gap | 2.  Waffle Sweater, Gap | 3.  Jack Spade <3 GapKids Jeans | 4.  Straight Cords in Worker Brown, Gap | 5. Plaid Flannel Shirt, Gap | 6.  Sherpa Animal Hat, Gap | 7. Warmest Snorkel Jacket, Gap

Now, you may be wondering, "Why all the Gap?"  Well, besides the fact that it is my absolute favorite toddler boy store, they are also having a sale!  Use the promo code "CHEER" at the checkout for 40% off!!

What I listened to while writing:

J pulling papers out of the filing cabinet....thanks, dude.

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Blogging About Glogging: A Perfect Winter Cocktail

GloggMulled Wine!

When it's freezing outside and you just want to be warm, there is nothing better than Glogg simmering on the stove top (obviously, the warmth comes when you drink it.  It's potent!).  For those who haven't heard of this mystery heaven drink, it is a spiced red wine cocktail, served warm.

It snowed for the first time yesterday, and nothing sounded better to me than Glogg.  The H busted out in the cold and picked up all of the ingredients for the deliciousness.

What you'll need:

  • 1 Bottle of Red Wine

  • .5 Liter Brandy

  • 10 Cardamom Pods

  • 1 Cinnamon Stick (we just put some ground cinnamon in)

  • 1/2 Orange Peel (we didn't have any oranges, so just put a dash of orange juice in)

  • 1/2 lbs of Sugar

  • You can also add dates, cloves, raisins, almonds, or figs

Making of Glogg

What you need to do:

Easy!  Put it all in a pot and let it simmer for 45 minutes.  Boom.  Glogg.

Now, just imagine sitting next to a fire, in cozy PJ's, sipping on Glogg - pretty perfect winter night, if you ask me.

What I listened to while writing:

The Bears game...

And J squealing as he tried to pet the puppertons.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

No Happy Endings?

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="271"] Photo credit: † mexico rosel † / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND[/caption]

"There are no happy endings. Endings are the saddest part. So just give me a happy middle and a very happy start." - Shel Silverstein

Why is it that there are no happy endings?  Even when we want something to be over, there is a sense of nostalgia that overtakes us.

While I was in college, I kept saying, "Ugh!  I can't wait until I'm done and making actual money."   Fast forward 8 years, three jobs, two houses, two careers, one marriage, and one baby later and I laugh as I turn to the H and say, "Remember when we were in college, sharing your futon, and using that yoke covered wicker table?  Those were the days!"

I have everything I want now:  the marriage, the baby, the house, the career - so why do I look back and think, "Those were the days?"  I think it boils down to simplicity.  As busy as we were, we had no real responsibility.  Now, we are grown ups.  I never thought I'd ever feel like an actual adult, but now I do.

There are many endings in life:  the ending of a job, the ending of a relationship, the ending of an era (that's for you, Jenn).  It doesn't have to be the saddest part though.  It's all about perspective.  While things end, and it's sad, it is also the beginning of something new.  So, think of the ending as a "very happy start" and enjoy the "happy middle."  Get out of the mentality of looking forward to the next thing or looking back on the past when you have the current thing right in front of you.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Work Week Style Inspiration Board: November, Week 3

Work Week Style Inspiration Board, November Week 3

1.  Cowl Neck Sweater, Express | 2.  Wool Fedora Hat, Express | 3.  Midi Ring (kind of obsessed right now.  It's a shame my fingers look like pugs.) | 4.  Help Me I'm Poor Mug, eBay because who doesn't need a giggle at work? | 5. See 4826, SEE - I love fun glasses, and I'm craving some!

What I listened to while writing:

J laughing in the other room, playing with dada.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Appreciating the Moment

Baby HugsI was reading a post from the blog, "The Waiting," about a fact she saw on one of those dumb lists we can never resist.  The fact was, "At one time, your parents set you down and never picked you back up."  Something about that just kicked me in the feels - which was pretty much my exact comment on her post.  It just gave me yet another reminder to appreciate the small moments with my son.  He's fourteen months, and growing more independent everyday.  I have a faint memory of when he actually wanted me to snuggle and hold him.  Now, he struggles and twists out of my loving death grip.

Yesterday, J was sick and I finally got those snuggles I wanted so desperately.  He laid down with me, cuddled, slept, and hugged me.  He even gave me his little baby slobber kisses.  It's rare these days.  He is sick a lot, so normally I work from home when he's sick, but yesterday, something made me want to call in (maybe because I wasn't feeling great either), but I took a personal day instead of working from home.  I took the time to cuddle with him, play with him, pay attention to him.  When he's sick, all he wants is love, but I just want to get my work done.  I took the time to give him my full attention yesterday, and it made me happy.

My point to all of this is - yes, we have our work, we have our partner, we have our social life, we have our need for me time - but don't forget to appreciate those moments with your child.  They won't always want to hang out with you.  They won't always want to be affectionate with you.  Take that love, they're willing to give now.  Absorb it.  And then, when they're pushing you away later, don't let them.  Love them more.  Provide more affection.  Listen to what they have to say.  Appreciate them -  for every moment of their life is fleeting and every moment must be cherished.

Hold your baby now.  F*** the back problems.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

An Open Letter to the Mom to Be: Everything is going to be alright

pregnancytestSo, you just saw that plus sign and you have a mixed bag of emotions.  You go from happy and excited one minute to a full on panic attack the next.  I get it.  The H and I tried to get pregnant for 6 months before we were able to finally see that "Pregnant" sign on our test.  There were many tears following the "Not Pregnant" sign.  However, when I did finally get pregnant, the reality set-in.  How the hell do I do this?  I'm too selfish.  I'm too poor.  I'm not good enough to make someone else good.  In my mind, I always thought by the time I became a mom I need to get my shit together.  I need to learn to be more selfless.  I didn't.  I still catch myself being selfish.  I have thoughts that I never want to voice, but I will for you.  Do I have to drive all the way out there to visit?  Do I have to wake up an hour earlier to go to an early meeting because it's more convenient for {insert name here}?  I can be selfish.  I really wanted to kick that before a brought another person in the world, so I could teach him or her to be selfless.  But here's the thing....

You don't have to be perfect.  That baby will love you and change you in ways you never thought imaginable.  You'll learn to be selfless because you have no choice.  Yes, in your head you might think, "Ugh, no.  I do not want to be awake at 2am on a workday because you're coughing." (That was me two days ago).  But, you do it.  Isn't that selfless?  You don't want to be awake at 2am, but you do it because someone needs you to be awake.

Another thing, upon conception, you are needed.  You will never again feel that you don't matter because you do.  Your baby needs you and relies on you, and that will make you a better person because you need to be.  When you're pregnant, you are needed to take care of yourself and your baby.  You need to nourish him or her.  You need to exercise to strengthen your baby's heart (some studies have even determined that exercising during pregnancy can increase your child's IQ).  When you're baby is born, he/she will need you for the obvious things - food, care, love - but he/she will need you to teach him or her to be a good person, have good values, and to be responsible and respectful.  You're needed to be a good role model, and you will learn to be.

Last thing, you will never be more loved.  You are the world to your baby to be.  You will never be more loved and you will never love more than you will now.

Everything will work out the way it needs to.

You will adapt.

You will figure out your shortcomings and fix them.

Everything will be alright.

What I listened to while writing:

Glycerine by Bush

Big Eyed Fish by Dave Matthews Band

Animal by Neon Trees

Sarah Smirks, documenting baby's accomplishments

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I'm all about the knits, 'bout the knits - no treble.

HalloweenMy weekend was so busy, and I didn't have time to plan my posts!  This week will be a little wonky, all.  Sorry!  Let me start off by telling you about my non-stop weekend - then we'll get into the awesome knits I bought!

Friday:  On Friday, poor J had to get shots on Halloween.  Don't worry, I took his costume off beforehand, so he wasn't scarred.  It was freezing that day, so we only got 4 trick or treaters (you'll probably see a post about what to do with all that extra Halloween candy, considering the amount of left overs I have!).  We made the most out of the crappy Halloween though.  J trick or treated with his school at the hospital that his daycare is connected to.  Later, my brother and his significant other and her daughter came over to hand out candy.  The H made a delicious cocktail to celebrate too!

1 shot of apple pie moonshine

1 shot of Fireball Whiskey

Cream Soda


Saturday:  The H and I helped our in-laws move while J hung out with his cousin, great grandma, and great aunt.  We're so blessed to have family that love him so much!

Sunday:  We did a rush winterizing during J's nap.  Seriously, we moved all of our summer stuff (sigh) together and put a tarp over it, cleaned out the garage and shed, and put away Halloween decor all during J's nap - go us!

Now for the knits!

I'm loving sweaters with everything this season.  When you live in Illinois, you have to have a WRP (warmth retention program).  However, at the same time, I want to follow my WRP while being stylish.  I layer like crazy.  I'll wear fleece lined leggings under my pants, sweaters over dresses, anything to make warm look good.  These sweaters from Old Navy will definitely be a staple this winter.

chunky knit sweaterClick here to shop!










Click here to shop!












Click here to shop!

[caption id="attachment_236" align="alignleft" width="210"]crew neck sweater Today I am wearing this over a dress[/caption]













I styled the navy blue crew neck sweater over a dress today.  If you go back to my first post ever, you'll notice I'm wearing this same dress at my son's birthday party.  Don't mind the terrible picture!!

Layering for fall











What I listened to while writing:

Get Away by OAR

Good by Better Than Ezra

Sarah Smirks, documenting baby's accomplishments


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween Adventures for Toddlers

Link Lovin ThursdayIt's hard to find toddler friendly Halloween events.  Taking the babe trick or treating seems a little pointless when they can't eat candy.  BUT, you're a relatively new mama and you want to celebrate with him or her, so what do you do?  I did some research and found some age appropriate events for my one year old.  He loved getting dressed up and people watching.

Here are some Halloween events appropriate for a one year old:

1.  Boo at the Zoo! - I live outside of Chicago, not too far from Brookfield Zoo.  They have a Halloween event the last two weekends of October with a costume parade, pumpkin chuckin, face paint, and pumpkin decorating.  Check out your local zoo for something similar.  Plus, dressing up is encouraged.

2.  Business Trick or Treating event - This weekend we went to the Lincoln Square (Chicago neighborhood) trick or treating event.  There was face painting, bands playing, and the littles could go trick or treating in a safe environment at local businesses.  Any town with a downtown area probably has a similar event.

3.  Library Halloween Events - The Evanston Public Library has fun Halloween craft and story time for the young ones.  Check out your local library for events.

4.  YMCA Healthy Halloween Night - This event is for the whole family.  It encourages movement and fun with a Halloween theme.


Halloween events for toddlers


What Halloween events did you do with your toddler?


What I listened to while writing:

The Bears game in the background; plus, the H yelling at the TV.


Sarah Smirks, documenting baby's accomplishments


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Homemade Cleaning Products

[caption id="attachment_218" align="alignleft" width="225"]Photo credit: elycefeliz / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND Photo credit: elycefeliz / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND[/caption]

When I learned that I was pregnant, I decided to move away from harsh products around the house.  As the child of ultimate hippies (they traveled around the country in a van with their dogs, need I say more?), I learned from an early age that products from nature can be just as effective as chemical products, but better for you.


Sore throat:  Gargle cayenne pepper in warm water, almost instant relief.

Facewash:  Baking soda and water as a face scrub (my skin is never so smooth as when I use that).

Irritated Eye:  potato cut in half and placed on the eye - just kidding!  That was a fail.  My dad did that when I got a contact stuck in my eye and it hurt like hell and did not help.

Back to the cleaning products

All purpose cleaner:  Mix white vinegar, water, dish soap, and maybe just a little essential oil scent.  It will clean anything beautifully.  My stove shines when I use it.  Plus, safe to use on any of your baby products.

Window Cleaner:  Use white vinegar and water, leave out the dish soap.

Wood floor cleaner:  Use the mixture for the all purpose cleaner and add a splash of olive oil.

Stuck on mess?  Use baking soda and water as a scrub.

This is tried and true.  I use these recipes for my cleaning products, exclusively.  Side note:  If you're concerned about the white vinegar smell, as soon as it dries, you can't smell it anymore.

What I listened to while I wrote:

Football, my H yelling, "Yes!!"  I guess da Bears did something good?

Sarah Smirks, documenting baby's accomplishments

Monday, October 27, 2014

Super Smoothie! The super food awesome list.

As I write and schedule my posts for the week, I realize, this week is pretty hippie-dippy.  It's all about health and natural fixes this week (and a little Halloween!).  Today, I am talking about the awesomeness that is super food smoothies.  I started making them last week, and the first day I already felt more alert.  They make you more alert, give you more energy, healthier immune system, and even can fight depression.  To be honest, life is a little stressful right now, and this week is the first week I haven't been stressing over everything.  AND, it was a damn stressful week.  My little was sick again, and I didn't feel comfortable asking to work from home more than usual, so we were vying for sitters for a few days and trying to help our baby boy get over his illness.  With all of that, I didn't stress, and I have to thank the awesome smoothies for that.

super foods

First, let's discuss the benefits of the super foods I have tried this week.

Maca:  Supports adrenal glands, helps your body deal with stress, supports hormone system, and provides energy.

Camu Camu:  High on vitamin C (500x the amount in OJ).  Here is an Amazon offer for Camu Camu with a special 20% off discount.

Flaxseed: Reduces inflammation, protects against forms of cancer, essential fatty acids, and fiber.

Cacao:  Fiber, good for the heart, beneficial for high blood pressure and glucose levels.

Chia:  High in Antioxidants, full of nutrients (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, zinc), and a good source of omega-3s.

Coconut Oil:  Fatty acids, provides healthy energy, therapeutic for brain disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer's, helps you burn fat more efficiently, kills bacteria, viruses, and fungi (I rubbed this on my son's rash when he had hand, foot, mouth disease), lessens your appetite, lowers your risk for heart disease, and protects against skin damage.

Elderberry:  Antiviral effects and promotes good circulation (I only use it when I can feel an illness coming on or when people around me are sick, to try and lesson my odds of getting it).

Apple Cider Vinegar:  Antioxidants, amino acids, kills many forms of bacteria, lowers blood sugar levels, helps with weight loss, heart health, protects against cancer, clears skin, and reduces acid reflux.

There are many super foods, but these are the ones that I have been using in my smoothies every day.  Also, there are many more benefits to these superfoods, but I just noted the benefits I found to be the most helpful.

How do you make a super food smoothie?

Step one:  Choose a base - I use coconut milk, but you can use that, almond milk, regular milk, water, or coconut water.

Step two:  Choose a veggie - I use spinach, but you can pick any high vitamin veggie you would like.

Step three:  Choose a fruit - I choose whatever strikes my fancy.  I almost always add banana for consistency, but sometimes I add pumpkin (not sure what food group that is!), strawberries, blueberries, apples, or pineapple.

Step four:  Choose your superfoods - Pick whatever you like.  I add all of the ones above and can't taste any of them.  In fact, I can't taste the spinach either.  The only evidence of the spinach is in the green color.

Step five:  Blend!  I use the Oster blender.  You blend in the container you drink out of - very convenient.  Here is a similar one from Amazon.

[caption id="attachment_225" align="aligncenter" width="660"]how to super food smoothie How to Guide: Super Food Smoothie[/caption]

Do you make super food drinks?  What recipes have you tried?

What I listened to while writing:


Sarah Smirks, documenting baby's accomplishments

Thursday, October 23, 2014

How do I style this vest!?

Link Lovin ThursdaySo....this is embarrassing to say.  I am a vest virgin.  I know.  I know.  They had a big moment in the early 2000's.  I didn't partake.  I just didn't have it in me.  I was still wearing baby tees and flared jeans.  I wasn't ready for the vest just yet.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I did it.  I bought a vest and I have no regrets!!

This is the bad girl that I bought.

fall fashion I bought it yesterday from Target.  It's glorious!


Being the girl who skipped this trend the first time round, I didn't know exactly how to style it.  So, Pinterest saved the day.

How to style the fall staple:  the VEST:

Button-down shirts

Striped button down and polka dot puffer

Herringbone Vest

Crew Neck Sweaters

Really loving the vest and beanie I'm suddenly ok with cold weather lol

45+ MORE Fall Outfit Ideas - This Silly Girl's LifeThis Silly Girl's Life

And here is a variety of ways to style

Check out this post for some serious puffer vest inspiration!

Click on the images for the original websites and beautiful fashion blogs that put together the styles that inspired me.

What I listened to while writing:

Either Way by Beta Radio

Sofa Song by The Kooks

The Girl by City and Colour

Sarah Smirks, documenting baby's accomplishments

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Gross Pregnancy Questions Answered!

[caption id="attachment_210" align="alignleft" width="300"]Gross Pregnancy Questions Answered Photo credit: bettina n / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA[/caption]

When you see the little "pregnant" sign on the digital display of your pregnancy test, all you can think is, "I'm going to be a mommy!"  That lasts about 4 seconds before all of the questions pop in.  How am I going to afford childcare? What is this going to do to my body?  What am I going to wear for 9 months?  The biggest question you will have is, "Is this normal?"  All first time moms have weird pregnancy questions, and some are embarrassing.

I have compiled a list of questions friends, family, and the internet has provided me that might be a little embarrassing to ask.  And, I am going to give you the embarrassing answers.  Every mother goes through it.  You are not alone.  I promise.

Question:  Is it normal to be really gassy?

Answer:  Um....yes.  It gets worse the further along you are.  Your intestines are more sluggish when you're pregnant, and the more pregnant you get, the harder the baby pushes into the intestines.  Sorry.

Question:  Is it normal to have more discharge than usual?

Answer:  Um...once again, yes.  And, once again, it gets worse the further along you are.  Third trimester you see the most because the mucus plug comes out.  And, sometimes it comes out over time, instead of all at once.  Use a panty liner.

Question:  Were you really thirsty?

Answer:  Yes, and that is probably a good thing.  Lots of water is good for you, your baby, and your skin.  Keeping your skin hydrated helps reduce the odds of stretch marks.

Question:  Did you leak when you laughed/sneezed/coughed?

Answer:  Yes.  Woot, woot.  There's a lot more pressure on your bladder and it can cause you to pee when you didn't mean to.

Question:  I sweat more!  Why?

Answer:  When you're pregnant, you're body is working in overdrive.  Therefore, you sweat more.  If you don't want to use an antiperspirant while you're pregnant, be liberal with the baby powder you get at the baby shower.  It'll help absorb the sweat.  The lavender scent should cover up any odor as well.

Question:  I am drooling.  Are you effin' kidding me?  Why!?!?

Answer:  Pregnant women produce more saliva.  A lot more.  Suck it up, buttercup.  Welcome to motherhood.  All glam.

What I listened to while writing:

Shake by The Head & the Heart

Emily by The Mowgli's

Home by Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros

Sarah Smirks, documenting baby's accomplishments

Monday, October 20, 2014

Work Week Style Inspiration Board | October, Week 3

I've been in a shopping mood lately!  My purse literally cried this weekend.  I called a news station.  It wasn't natural.

I am always looking for good pieces that are transitional.  I need to be able to par down a work outfit to work for the weekend, or bring it up a notch, so it is appropriate for a formal occasion.  I'm cheap, and if my separates can't get enough runway time, then I don't bother.  This week's inspiration board is all about items I can transition for different occasions.

office style1.  Baublebar Statement Necklace | 2.  Express crew neck sweater | 3.  Gap Dress | 4.  Express black midi skirt

To transition these pieces:

  • The statement necklace I would wear with t-shirts, crew neck sweaters, or this awesome Gap dress

  • The Express crew neck sweater can be worn with skinny black pants, jeans, or the midi skirt pictured

  • The Gap dress pictured can be worn to work with a blazer or worn to a cold-weather wedding with black tights and patent leather heels.

What I listened to while writing:

Clean Lights by The Mowgli's

Nice Try by I am Arrow

Out of my League by Fitz and the Tantrums

Sarah Smirks, documenting baby's accomplishments

Thursday, October 16, 2014

How do you like them apples? How to use up your overzealous apple orchard trip supply.

pumpkin patchI have two apple trees in my backyard that were very...fruitful this year.  Seriously - I have so many apples, I am researching and researching what to do with them all.

My top choices were applesauce, apple butter, Paleo pancakes, apple pork chops, apple pie filling, and rum infusions.

I already made a batch of applesauce.  Anyone who regularly reads my blog knows that I don't cook unless it is as easy as can be.  If there is more than 5 ingredients in a recipe, it is way too high maintenance for me.  The apple sauce recipe I found and tried had two!  Two!  Two ingredients!  Do I need to repeat myself again?  Okay - TWO!

apple recipes

applesauceHere is what to do to make crock pot applesauce:

  • Get the slow cooker ready

  • Peel and core as many apples as will fit in your slow cooker

  • Add a little bit of water on the bottom

  • Place apples in the slow cooker

  • Add cinnamon

  • Stir occasionally

  • Note:  I had mine on high.  The apples were in the slow cooker for about 4 hours.  I stirred for a minute or so once an hour.  The apples will break down on their own, but you can mash them a bit to help them along.

  • Note two:  Sooo effin' good.

You can find the food recipes on the Pinterest board below.

Here is a link to how to infuse alcohol with apples and cinnamon!  While this recipe is for vodka, we are using rum.  Our plan is to put them in Mason jars with apple cider for Christmas gifts.

What I listened to while writing:

Broadripple is Burning by Margot & the Nuclear So & So's

Wasted Time by Vance Joy

The Great Divide by The Mowgli's

Sarah Smirks, documenting baby's accomplishments

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease: What to do when it happens to your baby.

[caption id="attachment_193" align="aligncenter" width="408"]hand, foot, mouth disease Photo Credit:,_foot_and_mouth_disease[/caption]

Jax was hit with hand, foot, mouth TWICE.  It ain't the chicken pox.  There is not a one and done policy with hand, foot, mouth.  The first time he got hand, foot, mouth, he started to show symptoms at his first birthday.  It was sad.  He wouldn't eat, he had a high fever, and all he wanted to do was sleep.

The symptoms of hand, foot, mouth are blisters/rash usually on the hands, feet, or mouth (including throat, tongue, gums, lips).  This strain that has been going rampant in Evanston, IL - where I live - contains a body rash.  Jax had the body rash, blisters in his throat and on his tongue for the first round.  Before the rash and blisters, the baby will get a fever for a few days, which Jax had.

[caption id="attachment_192" align="alignleft" width="300"]hand, foot, mouth When Jax had hand, foot, mouth, he would fall asleep on the floor out of nowhere.[/caption]

The hand, foot, mouth knocked him out so bad the first time, his immunity system was fighting it big time.  He ended up getting pneumonia immediately after because his immunity was done from fighting the hand, foot, mouth.  About two weeks after the pneumonia was cleared up, he got hand, foot, mouth again!  This time it was a more tame strain.  He had blisters on his lips and throat and a low grade fever.

The first round, he had it for about 5 days.  The second round lasted about 3 days.

There is no medicine to make hand, foot, mouth go away, so when Jax got it again, I began researching ways to make him comfortable and ways to make the symptoms more tolerable for him.

The first thing I tried was coconut oil.  You can rub it into the rash and blisters to help heal them.  Coconut oil has a lot of immunity boosting properties.  I put it on his blisters twice a day and rubbed it all over his body in the bath.  After day one, he didn't seem to be bothered at all.  He was eating again.  His blisters weren't bothering him at all.

I also found recipes for anti-viral toddler soup - recipe here on the blog Ring around the Rosies.

After researching hand, foot, mouth, another item I will be adding to my medicine cabinet is Elderberry syrup.  It strengthens the immune system and is safe for toddlers.  I learned about that, plus other homeopathic hand, foot, and mouth treatments on the blog From Faye.  See them here.

Your baby may not want to eat while he or she has hand, foot, mouth.  What I did to get Jax to eat is make him plenty of bottles with formula.  Although he is off formula, I didn't want him to miss out on important nutrients, so we went back to formula for a week.  We also put Pedialyte in his water, for a boost of electrolytes.  Lastly, I would give him the baby food pouches with a variety of fruits and vegetables, because they were easier on his blistered throat.  I could usually get him to eat a little something when I gave him a pouch.

Did you ever experience hand, foot, mouth?  How did you deal with it?

What I listened to while I wrote:

Believe by The Bravery

Who the Fuck are the Arctic Monkeys by Arctic Monkeys

Mr. Maker by The Kooks

Sarah Smirks, documenting baby's accomplishments

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