Friday, August 29, 2014

Too Many to Choose!

Again this week, there were so many good posts out there!  And so many more I'm sure that you will share with me.  I look forward to Friday's for many reasons - but finding new blogs shared by you is one of them.  (And having my husband home for two days and sleeping in is up there)

"The Past Has Passed (It's Time to Twirl)" by Ember Grey. If you read one post from this past week, read this one.  It's all about finding the one thing that pushes you along.  I'm sure Emily's post is going to make a few lists this week!

"Perspective - Get Some" by The Florkens.  YES.  Even when things seem awful and you can't go on, someone has it worse than you.  One of my favorite quotes: "Right now, someone is praying for the things you are taking for granted."  This post speaks to that, and is always a good reminder.

"I Was Scared to Have a Boy" by The Contented Wife.  Chelsea spoke about what I was thinking when I was pregnant with both A and E.  I don't know how to "do" boy things!  Secretly, I was afraid of having boys.  But, after reading her post, it struck me - a mother's bond is unbreakable, no matter the sex of the baby.

"What Are Your Twitter Habits?" by Seriously Sarah?  Confession: I never used Twitter before having this blog.  I have a personal account, but never really went on it, and only followed celebrities anyway.  Sarah's tips are good to have!  Did you know that if you reply to someone, you can use a period before their handle?  Then it shows up in your feed!  (If I understood that right, haha!)

"2014 Fall Trends for Your Sun Sign" by Simply Sun Signs.  I loved this post - Desiree breaks down the trends for Fall by your sign - what you should wear, or what you would be most comfortable in.  I love horoscopes and learning more about myself so I loved reading this post as well.

So, what were your favorites?  Link up below and share with us.  A few rules: Please link to at least one other post (not written by yourself) to highlight another blogger - share the love!  Use the button if you'd like and click around to find some other new-to-you bloggers!

All The Joys Friday Favorites

I hope you all can enjoy a three day weekend - be safe saying "goodbye" to summer!

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dear Bride and Groom

Tim and I were the first couple in our group of friends to get married, seven years ago.  I didn't have the luxury of Pinterest as my wedding planner, but it was still one of my favorite days of my whole life.  As you can imagine, since then, we've been to a lot of weddings - some with Pinterest inspiration, some without.  Some family, mostly friends, and all very lovely.  Each wedding always has a different feel, and I'm certainly no expert, but there are some things that I always appreciate.

- I am a true romantic.  Hopeless, perhaps.  Small things can make me cry in a second.  When the bride walks down the aisle - I am usually the only person not watching her.  I'm watching the groom - I love to see his expression - and often times, it's the most emotion I will ever see from that man. 

- The bride gets my attention next.  Of course, I drool over the dress she picked out, her flowers, her hair and makeup.  But the one thing that gets me every time?  The bride that doesn't break eye contact with her soon to be husband.  So much emotion there! 

- A short ceremony!  Or, if the couple chooses to do a religious ceremony, a message about love and marriage is always appreciated.  I've been to a few weddings where the priest, pastor, officiant goes a little off topic and I always leave confused.  Why are we talking about divorce rates at a wedding?  (That actually happened!)

- I love a good cocktail hour.  I don't love a long cocktail hour with not enough appetizers.  You can't go wrong with apps - load 'em up.

- An open bar is nice, and usually expected.  But, I know how expensive they are, so I'm going to go out on a limb here.  At least have complimentary beer and wine, and if you must, have alcohol for purchase.  An all cash bar is a total buzz kill, in my opinion.

- Wedding reception dinners aren't known to be amazingly delicious - so I don't expect much here.  As long as it's served quickly and we aren't sitting for hours, I'm happy.

- MUSIC.  I love to dance.  With that said, nothing disappoints me more than a reception that doesn't have a good mix of music.  Pop, Hip Hop, Country (if you must), Oldies - mix it up to appeal to all of your guests!  Sticking to one genre usually isolates most of your guests.

- Don't spend a lot of time or money on favors, in my opinion.  These are usually forgotten at the end of the night, or not used if taken home.  One exception (and my favorite option): Donations.  Make a donation in honor of your wedding day to one or two of your favorite charities.  It is meaningful and a great way to give back.

- Other honorable mentions: Photobooths, late-night snacks, transportation (if reception and hotel are at different sites), toiletries in the bathroom, cocktails for the (short) ceremony, pictures of each table with the bride and groom, hotel welcome baskets and the first dance.

What are your favorite parts of a wedding?  Do you have any guest tips to share?

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mom Confessions and A Wish

Some days, being a mother is really hard.  It seems as though my girls are either both really great - or both really cranky.  My girls definitely like to test me - and, sometimes they win.  And I'm ok with that - no one is perfect, and I'll be the first to admit that I do not have this parenting thing figured out 100%.  (But really, who does?!)

I confess....

... that sometimes, E is allowed to have a few marshmallows in the morning before breakfast.  Because, well, it keeps her quiet for at least half an hour so I can get ready.

... A will only drink water from a big girl cup, and even though it all ends up on her and the floor, I give it to her anyway.  Kids need water!

... I didnt breastfeed either child.  I tried (for a few days) with E.  It was horrible so I moved to formula.  I felt guilty for months!  When A was born, I went straight to formula and didn't feel guilty for a second.  "Breast is best", but formula made both baby and this mom happy so, win-win. 

... occassionaly E watches more tv than is suggested per day.  This was especially true last week when I wasn't feeling well.  A took a great nap, and I needed one too.  So - E watched a few episodes of Team Umizoomi while I dozed next to her.

... The only vegetable E will eat is carrots.  So she has them almost every day.

... Every once in awhile, I will put A down for a nap with her bottle.  Two shames here - giving her the bottle in bed, and giving her a bottle.  She is "supposed" to only have sippys now.  But, well, see above about those.

... I sometimes tell E that I'm going straight to bed too, so she'll go to sleep right away.  I then stay up for at least 2 more hours.

... I don't feel guilty about having time away from either of them.  Leave for the day and shop alone?  Yep.  Go to an overnight wedding and leave them with their grandparents?  Absolutely.  A girls weekend?  Sign me up.  A week-long beach vacation with one of our couple friends, sans kids?  Yes please.  Sure, I miss them.  But time without them is crucial for me - and they get quality time with their dad and grandparents too.

The last confession brings me to this - I need more patience.  I find more and more that I need to remind myself to take a deep breath and act rationally.  Two girls, ages 4 and 1.  You wouldn't believe it but the drama is already present in full force.  Some days I struggle with patience between the whining, attitude and screaming.  So, today I am wishing (and praying!) for more patience.  To calmly react to their demands, and to be able to smile instead of break down.  I am trying to remind myself that they are only this young once - and to cherish every moment, even the not so pleasant ones. I wish that on days when I am losing my patience, to remember this - and to know that someday, I'll wish they were four and one again.

Any tricks to survive the toddler/preschool years?  I'm alllll ears.

 Linking up with Anne for Wednesday Wishes.

Love the Here and Now

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Monday, August 25, 2014

What DId I Sign Up For?

If you've been reading for any amount of time, you would know by now that my husband loves golf.  I sometimes refer to myself as a "golf widow" - but thankfully, we live in a climate that only really allows him to golf 4-5 months out of the year.  (Except when we go on vacation, but I'll save that for a whole other post!)

Last week, he casually emailed me while at work and asked if we had plans this Friday.  I got excited thinking he was planning a super fun date for us or something!  No.  He had signed us up for a couples golf night - a foursome, in the dark, with light up balls or something.  (Can you feel my excitement?)  Only problem = aside from mini golf, I've never golfed before. 

Luckily, the couple we are going with is super fun and I won't be incredibly embarrassed when I can't hit the ball.  But, the one thing I'm nervous about?  What to wear!

So, I turn to you blogland.  My husband can't be trusted with answering fashion related questions, and Pinterest is only halfway helpful as I have no idea what women golfers actually wear.  Do they wear skirts like these:


Or shorts like these?:

source I wish I looked this good in shorts!

Or pants, like these?:
source Not loving the shirt and hat, but pants?
And furthermore, do I have to wear a collar?  Get golf shoes?  Let's not even talk about the fact that I don't know how to swing a club! 

On this Grateful Heart Monday, I'm grateful for my husband - even with his lack of fashion help and less than stellar romantic date planning skills.  Any time with him that is spent doing something other than "home" or "kid" things is rare, so I'm excited to have the night with him.  Who knows?  Maybe I'll be really good at golfing. (Ha!)  I'm grateful for our babysitter, whom we love and trust completely with our girls.  I'm grateful for patient friends - whose patience will really be tested Friday night.  And, I'm grateful for you - and your help on what I should wear! 

Grateful Heart Monday linkup
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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Pretty Little Beauty Swap #2

Every couple of months, Sleepy Single Girl, and Southern Beauty Guide host the Pretty Little Beauty Swap.  After signing up, you are matched with someone that has similar beauty tastes as you.  I loved my first swap so much that I just had to sign up for the next round. 

This month I was matched with Krista Kristie's Blue Jeans.  It was so fun getting to know her - and we absolutely have the same taste in beauty products!

Bodycology Sugar Scrub, Sexy Hair Argan Oil, Maybelline Color Whisper (in One Size Fits Pearl), Julep Nail Color (in Kayla Bombshell), Wet n Wild Defining Marker (in Blackest Black) and L'Oreal Eyeshadow (in Amber Rush)
Krista got my style perfectly!  I told her that I like to keep my eyes and lips neutral, but will play with nail polish and she delivered just that.  I haven't tried any of the products yet, but am really excited to try the hair oil.  The eyeliner and eyeshadow are perfect additions to my makeup bag, and I am loving the shade of purple in the nail polish.
If you are interested in signing up for the next swap, follow the lovely ladies above.  Also check out Krista's blog - she is hosting a new swap as well!

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Finally Friday

Friends - it's been such a long week!  After my weekend of nothing last weekend, it was hard to get in to the swing of things.  Plus - Tim had work events both Wednesday and Thursday nights, so I had a few long days this week.  Today is a "normal" day - so Tim will be home after work and we don't have any plans for the night.  I can't wait to see him!

#BloggerLove has quickly become one of the highlights of my weeks.  I really enjoy seeing the blogs you all recommend, and I've found a few new faves from your links.  Of course, it's always nice to share the love and highlight other bloggers here too!  So, let's get to it.

"Confessions: 100th Blog Post Edition" by The Kay Times.  Krystal always has the best confession posts because she is so honest and keeps it real for us.  Her gifs are hilarious and always include at least one housewife - my fave!  Plus, let's not overlook the fact that this was her 100th post! 

"#samanthaslastdoedown" by It's All in the Details.  Samantha went to Nashville for her Bachelorette Party and had the best recap!  I am planning a girls trip in October with some friends, so I was seriously taking notes.  After commenting, she even sent multiple emails with more suggestions.  So sweet.  Except now I wish it was October.

"On Opinions, Ice Buckets and Saying No to Fear" by The Rachael Way.  Rachael said what I was thinking.  I think the Ice Bucket Challenge is becoming annoying.  Not because of the effect it is having - which is amazing, but because of the people only dumping water on their heads.  Why don't we save the water and donate, as well to a charity that we truly believe in?  I was nominated and donated to the ALS organization as well as two others.  I grew up in the non-profit world (my Dad has run one for 35+ years) and my entire professional career as been in non-profits, so I get it.  Maybe that's why it bothers me so much.  Oh, and the fact that I personally knew someone that passed away from ALS and some "challenges" I see on facebook make it look like a joke.  Ok, rant over.  (Thanks Rachael for giving me the strength to go on this rant!!)

"A Letter to New Moms" by The Rambling Llama.  A million times yes.  Melissa hits the nail on the head with this one.  There's so many things about motherhood that you can never read about or learn until you experience them!

Don't forget if you are linking up: Make sure your post includes at least one link to another blog from this week.  If you tweet, please use #bloggerlove!  Have a great weekend friends!

All The Joys Friday Favorites

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Easy Egg Muffins

I am really bad when it comes to breakfast.  By the time I get up, dress and feed my children, I can sometimes sneak in 15ish minutes to get ready.  Then I'm either off to work or doing things with the girls.  I rarely remember to eat breakfast, and when I do, it's something quick like a (sugar loaded) granola bar. 

Then, one day, to the rescue came one of my besties, Cara.  She had made egg muffins for the week and they looked delicious.  She sent me the pin and I finally got around to making them.  (Original recipe found here)

6 eggs
chopped veggies of your choice (about 1 cup worth).  I used brocolli, red pepper and yellow and green onion.
1/4 c shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
cooking spray
12 cupcake liners
-Preheat the oven to 375. 
-Chop your veggies of choice.
-Line a cupcake pan with two liners each - 6 cupcakes total.  The two liners is key because the egg will soak through just one liner!  Spray each set of liners generously with cooking spray.
-Divide the veggies in to each liner, then the cheese.
-Mix up the eggs in a seperate bowl and then pour evenly in to each liner, shown below.

-Slightly stir, just to mix up the egg with your veggies and cheese.
-Bake for 30 minutes, until the tops just turn golden brown.
After cooling, I put these in the fridge and plan to eat one each morning.  Finally - something quick, healthy and protein packed to keep me full until lunch.
If you make them, let me know which veggies you use!
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

When Peanuts Attack

One of E's favorite snacks is peanut butter crackers.  I'm pretty sure she would eat them every day, for every meal, and snacks in between if we let her.  The other day, per usual, she asked for them and I said she could have a few.  We hadn't given A nuts of any kind - not because of known allergies, or allergies in the family, but just because I wanted to make sure I was home with her when she had them for the first time, you know, just in case.

Just in case turned in to alarm after I let E share her snack with her sister. In just a few short moments, the skin around A's face became red, raised and splotchy.  She was grabbing at her face, and I panicked.  After calming myself down and telling myself to think rationally (I think this is a Mom superhero quality, as I don't really know where it came from), I checked in her mouth, listened to her breathing, and realized that her tongue was not swelling and she was breathing normally.  Thank God.

Not the best pic - 13 month olds don't sit still - ever.

I quickly gave her Benadryl (again - superhero Mom told me to do this) and called her doctor.  It was before hours so I had to wait the longest ten-ish minutes in my life.  Once she called back, we had a quick consult over the phone and we both agreed that the reaction was not life threatening.  The plan of action was to keep giving benadryl for the day, to have a blood test to figure out the severity of her allergy, and of course, keep her from eating nuts of any kind until then.

We are no stranger to food allergies.  E was allergic to strawberries from 12 months - 20 months.  Thankfully, she outgrew it.  But peanuts?  This is a whole new set of complications.  I'm terrified.  What if she doesn't outgrow this, but it in fact grows more severe?  What if she can't even be around nuts, let alone eat them?  Will I have to read every food label in search of a possible "peanut allergy" warnings?  How would I be able to send her to a friends house, a birthday party, anywhere, in fear of her coming in to contact with nuts? 

Today my wish is this: that A's allergy is so minimal there will be no long term concerns, and even better - that she outgrows it. 

Love the Here and Now

Have any of you dealt with a nut allergy - either in your children or yourselves?  Words of encouragement are very welcomed!

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Monday, August 18, 2014

A Weekend of Nothing

You have no idea how good it feels to actually write that.  We didn't have any plans for the weekend and it was great!  Well, actually, we did have plans to go to Sheboygan, Wisconsin to spend a few days on the beach with the girls.  But, after travelling every other week all summer and always having something on our schedule, we thought that we needed a weekend of nothing.  And it was glorious!

Friday Tim went golfing and got a hole in one!  If you follow me on Twitter, you already read that he wants to blog about it.  He won't stop talking about it is pretty proud of himself.

Saturday morning was spent at the park.  The girls played on the equipment and swang for over an hour - and we had the whole playground to ourselves!  There is something so special about watching your children find joy at a playground - swinging, going down slides, climbing on ropes.  Saturday afternoon we played outside and shopped for a big girl bike for E.

Sunday, Tim and the girls spent some time with my in-laws (while I shopped at Trader Joe's and Target, solo - win!)  Sunday night we played outside again while Tim grilled a delicious dinner for us.  The fact that summer is almost over was evident by the jackets that had to be worn - but I'm not ready to say goodbye quite yet.

Trying out her sister's scooter!
Today I am grateful for time.  Time with my family.  Time to just be together, to play, to love.  I think that we need to "schedule" a weekend of nothing every month - it was so refreshing!  Today I'm linking up with Ember Grey for Grateful Heart Monday.

How was your weekend?  What are you grateful for today?

Grateful Heart Linkup with Ember Grey

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Friday, August 15, 2014

It's a Great Friday!

It's Friday again and I couldn't be happier this week.  We don't have any plans, which hasn't happened in a really long time.  No travelling, nothing set in stone - just time to hang out as a family.  I needed this!

This week's favorites were hard to choose from.  Each week I am finding more and more blogs that I love.  This is good and bad, and only bad because my bloglovin feed is out of control.  As soon as I'm caught up, there are new posts to read!

"A New Idea" by Not Entirely Perfect.  Not only did I figure out that Stephanie lives in Chicago too, but her dog's name (Hawkeye) tipped me off that she went to Iowa as well.  Her new link up is a great idea too - monthly goals, based off of a category that is provided in the beginning of the month.  I love how you can make this your own - and I hope that it helps me tackle more of my 101 in 1001 list.

"Lazy Guide to Eating Healthy" by Jade and Oak.  I've already admitted to being lazy, but also wanting to be healthier - so this post was absolutely written for me.  I can actually use Jackie's tips and apply them to my every day life!

"Fall 2014: New Shows I've Got My Eye On" by Becoming Adorrable.  It shouldn't be a secret by now that I love tv, and my DVR.  Fall is exciting because of all the new shows and return of my favorites.  Becca reviews some new shows for this fall - and I'm excited about "Stalker" and "Manhatten Love Story". 

"Free to Be" by Ember Grey.  Emily writes what I've always felt, but was unable to say.  Why do we let our jobs define who we are?  We are free to be whoever we are, and it's not defined by what we do day to day.  This post was a good reminder to "just be me".

"I Met Brad and Angelina" by Dancin' with a Dolly.  First of all, this post would be amazing if it were true.  But that's just it - it's a post reminding us that not everything we read online or see on tv is real.  Before making decisions and judgements, do the research and find out the truth behind what you are seeing and reading.  Couldn't agree with Jenny more!

 If you want to link up this week, here are the guidelines - share at least one post by another blogger that you loved from this past week, so you can participate in as many Friday link-ups as you'd like. The link-up closes Sunday night. Grab the button too! Also, don't forget to click around below and check out some new-to-you bloggers!

All The Joys Friday Favorites
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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Currently... Round One

Some of my favorite posts to read are the "Currently" posts, that basically give a quick update without too much detail, most recently on Seriously Sarah? and a hundred tiny wishes.  I feel like my life has been a little scattered lately - with the wedding, work stuff, planning trips and working on house things so I thought I'd stop for a moment and embrace what is currently happening in my life.

Currently I'm...

Reading: Bossypants by Tina Fey.  I'm trying to read more, and have 18 books to go on my 101 in 1001 list.  This is an easy read and I'm enjoying it so far!

Writing: Besides this post, I have a whole list of post ideas I am working through - including a series that I am pretty excited about.

Listening: Nothing at the moment.  Complete silence - which is really ok with me, considering I'm used to screaming, whining, and word for word reinactments of Frozen.

Thinking: About my sister and new brother in law, and how they are relaxing on the beach right now.  They deserve it!

Wishing: Summer would hold on just a bit longer.  Yesterday was in the 50's and I was cold.  There are parts of Fall that I like, but Summer is by far my favorite.

Hoping: For a smooth transition when E starts pre-k next month. 

Wearing: This adorable necklace I got as my bridesmaid gift.  Absolutely in love with it!

Loving: The fact that my husband will watch Big Brother with me.  We don't agree on most shows, but I know that he secretly really likes this one.

Wanting: Big scale = A new house.  Small scale = a nice camera.  #firstworldproblems.  Both big purchases, so if I were to get something right now that I wanted, it would be a diet coke.

Needing: A good night's sleep.  I'm still tired from last weekend, and A has been waking up way too early these days.

Feeling: Content.  Sure, there are always things that could be improved, but overall I am happy.  I am healthy, my loved ones are healthy, and we have everything we could possible need, and then some. 

Missing: Quality one on one time with my husband.  Even when we get time alone, we always feel rushed to get back to the girls.  I'm itching for an adult-only vacation!

Today is Wednesday, which means I am linking up with Anne for Wednesday Wishes.  What are you currently wishing for?

Love the Here and Now
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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Here Comes My Bride

I know that this title is misleading... I didn't get married, I wasn't the groom, my only participation in the wedding this past weekend was bridesmaid.  But, for some reason, I felt like I was giving her away.  Let me explain.

My parents were divorced when I was in 7th grade.  When I was a freshman in college, my Dad remarried.  With my new stepmom, I gained a stepsister.  I grew up with an older sister and had always been the baby.  But all of a sudden, gaining a little sister and becoming the middle child happened.  And you know what?  It wasn't traumatic!  I fell in to the role of big sister almost immediately.  Three years later, my little sister came to the University of Iowa with me and from then on we were real sisters, no "step" relationship at all.

We both live in Chicago, she is A's godmother, and I couldn't be happier to have both she and her mother in my life.  I am truly blessed.

Now, on to the wedding!!

It was a whirlwind of a weekend.  Friday, we went for mani and pedis and out to lunch.  After a quick rehearsal, we had the dinner.  Delicious! 


 The dinner and hotel were in Iowa City, home of University of Iowa, aka my college town.  After dinner we corralled people to go out to the bars with us - which was really fun, but just sort of made me feel old!  After a few rounds of shots, we decided to call it a night.

Fireball for the win

 If you have ever been to Iowa City, and in the PedMall after 10pm, you know what Marco's Grilled Cheese is.  (If not - it's a grilled cheese cart and it's as amazing as it sounds.  Full disclosure - I've never had this sober, so it might not actually be that delicious.)

Saturday morning came and we took our time getting ready, drinking mimosas and eating a light lunch.  The bride and groom got married in a beautiful winery - but unfortunately I was so busy chasing my children around that I don't have any pictures of the location.  Once we get some from the photographer, I will share them!

Almost time :)
For those of you who gave me suggestions on how to avoid sweating in my dress, I went with Clinical Strength Suave and it worked!  Also, the alterations worked ok so overall, my dress wasn't a total disaster.  And really - who cares, how beautiful is the bride?!  Her dress was completely open in the back, with buttons all the way down.  Stunning.

There were four moments I cried: when my Dad walked her down the aisle, when E walked down the aisle as a flower girl, when she said her vows, and during my Dad's speech.  Remember, I'm a self proclaimed Daddy's Girl, so I knew these would be emotional moments!

On this Grateful Heart Tuesday (?) I think it goes without saying that I am grateful to have my little sister and her mother in my life.  I am grateful that we all blended right away, and haven't had any of the awful issues that I hear about way too often.  I am grateful for an amazing weekend and beautiful wedding - and cannot wait to watch their lives grow together.  (And maybe for some nieces or nephews, but I'll try to be patient!)

Grateful Heart Monday w/ Ember Grey

How was your weekend?  Also, if you want more pictures of the wedding, check out my Instagram.

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Happy Friday!

This weekend is a crazy one for me, but I couldn't skip #bloggerlove - there were so many great posts this week!

"The Blog Auction" by Helene in Between.  Little known fact - when Tim and I go to charity events, you can always find us at the silent auction tables, and we always go home with something. I like the thrill of it - and this is such a fun idea!

"So You Want to Take a Barre Class" by Meet @the Barre.  I took years of dance when I was younger, and it's something I've always wanted to get back in to.  My sister just started doing barre classes in St. Louis and I have been itching to try it.  Amanda breaks it down and makes it seem a lot less imitating.  Anyone in Chicago want to join?

"All of the Information" by Venus Trapped In Mars.  I always thought that this slice of the internet wasn't read by anyone I know in real life.  I mean, I don't use my full name, so how could they find me?  It's probably a lot easier than I think, and Sarah breaks it down.  If any of you know me in real life, show yourselves!!

"Find Your Blogging Soulmate" by Emily Finta.  I've said before, I'll say it again - I've found some great friends from blogging.  I love this idea - fill out a quick survey, and Emily will find you a great match.  Win win for finding new friends and blogs to read!

"Virtual Assistants - Paying for Comments" by Seriously Sarah?.  Sarah is so right with this - at what point do you need to have others commenting for you?  Doesn't that take away from your blog, make you less personable?  Couldn't agree more!  For the record, I don't know any bloggers that do this, that I'm aware of, but I'd be pretty upset if I was chatting with an assistant.

So there it is!  If you want to link up this week, here are the guidelines - share at least one post by another blogger that you loved from this past week, so you can participate in as many Friday link-ups as you'd like. The link-up closes Sunday night. Grab the button if you'd like to! Also, don't forget to click around below and check out some new-to-you bloggers!

All The Joys Friday Favorites
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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Drink with Me

Some of my favorites in blogland are the "if we were having coffee" posts.  I have a lot of random thoughts running through my mind so I thought I would do my own version.

If we were having coffee at happy hour, I'd tell you...

... my little sister is getting married this weekend.  I'm full of emotions about it and my mind is totally scattered.  (hence this random post!)  E has a flower girl, me standing up, my Dad walking her down the aisle and his speech.... I will be a hot mess.

... I picked up my bridesmaid dress that had to be drastically altered.  I went to a new place on a whim and a prayer.  They did a great job bringing in the bust area, but the way the dress is cut I feel like it's a little weird in the armpits.  That, paired with an August afternoon and the type of material, I'm totally freaking out that I'm going to get sweatmarks.  Suggestions on avoiding this are highly welcomed!

... Grab another cocktail.  I fully plan on taking advantage of being out of the house with alcohol, sans children.

... I'm stressing out about some things going on at work.  I just wish things would work out the way they need to, but it's totally out of my hands at the moment.

... Even though we decided to wait to move until next Spring, I can't help myself from looking at new houses on Redfin. 

... I tried a new workout last tonight - Tabata.  Ummm, friends?  That was intense.  It didn't seem too awful at the time, but just an hour later I was already feeling sore.  Doing that again for sure.

... Even though I worked out last night, I've been really bad about eating right and working out regularly.  My sweet tooth and the fact that I'm just plain lazy is really working against me these days.

... Cocktail's gone?  How about a shot?  Then we can call one of our husbands to pick us up.  Perfect Thursday afternoon if you ask me.

... I really need new pants for work.  Even though I only go there two days a week, I feel like I wear the same two outfits each week.  I just don't want to spend the money on pants!

So there you have it.  I wish I really was out at happy hour!  Although I'm sure I'll have more than enough cocktails this weekend.   I can't wait to share my favorite posts from others with you tomorrow for #bloggerlove - I hope you link up too!

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Stitch Fix - August

This month, I took my time going through my pieces and carefully wrote down each brand and price, since I didn't think to do that before sending them back last month.  I really feel like the stylists are starting to understand what I like and don't like - this is largely in part to me leaving comments on each piece that I don't keep.  Let's get to it, shall we?

Market and Spruce Torin French Terry Stripe Blazer - $72.  I didn't think I would like this, mostly because of the stripes.  When I tried it on it was so cute - and made my waist look really small (no easy feat these days!) but when buttoned, it was too tight.  Sent Back.

Collective Concepts Lizette Chevron Print Long Sleeve Belted Shirt Dress - $88.  I really liked this on - I pictured it with tights and boots.  The only problem was that it was a bit tight in the thighs, a forever problem of mine.  My top and bottom are not the same size, making dress shopping usually a disaster resulting in tears and a mall soft pretzel to make me feel better.  (That's absolutely counter productive, and I know it :) ) Sent Back.

Dainel Rainn Bilson Dot Print Pleat Detail Blouse - $68.  At first glance, I thought I wouldn't be keeping this.  Mostly because I have a thing for polka dots, and neutral colors, thus my closet is full of them.  Once I tried it on, I was smitten.  It tapers in a bit in the waist and is so cute.  I can already picture it with skinnies and flats in the fall.  Kept.

Bay to Baubles Mckensie Natural Stone Pendant - $32.  (Nail polish to show size.  The color is Essie Playdate if you are interested!) I sort of liked this.  It is simple, understated and would go with most of my clothes.  I wasn't crazy about the color - it was sort of a mauve, trying to be pink.  Sent Back.

Market and Spruce Abi Colorblock Maxi Dress - $88.  I love a good maxi.  But this one was too long (I'm 5'7) and the gathering in the waist area was not a good look for me.  Sent Back.
So, what do you think of my choices?  Anything you would have kept that I sent back? 
If you are interested in signing up and would like to give me referral credit (bless your heart!), here is my link: Sign Up for Stitch Fix.

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Monday, August 4, 2014

I Like Your Blog

Although I've only been writing this blog for a few months now, I started reading blogs a long time ago.  It started with wedding blogs, then mommy blogs, and now I read all kinds of blogs.  One of my favorites was StyleLush, where a collaboration of bloggers wrote about their current favorites - from clothing, travel, products, etc.  I found a lot of new things that way - but sadly, it is no longer active.

Throughout the years of reading different types of blogs, some things have remained constant.  The reasons I keep coming back for more.

- Visually, your blog is very pleasing.  It's centered, has a nice layout/design, isn't super busy and isn't cluttered with ads.

- Your About Me page is concise and to the point.  I find at least a few things that we have in common, and find myself wanting to know more.

- Usually, I've found your blog from another blogger or link-up, so once I've read the featured post (and like it), I'll go to your most recent post.  If that speaks to me too, I'll find you on bloglovin and keep reading!

- Your posts do one of the following for me: make me laugh, make me cry, make me want to do what you're DIY-ing and/or inspire me to do something better for myself or others around me.

- You write freely, I can hear your "voice", and don't feel like an outsider looking in on your life.

I'll be the first to admit that I am not an expert blogger - but really, who is?  We all have different preferences and reasons to follow each other.  The above are just things that make me want to come back to your piece of the internet again and again. 

Today is Monday, which is Grateful Heart Monday with Ember Grey.  Today I am grateful for the relationships that blogging has brought me.  Never in a million years did I think I would make friends from blogging, but I have.  And even though I've never met any of you in "real life", I am grateful to know that taking that leap of faith and starting this has brought me more than I ever imagined. 

Ember Grey
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