Friday, September 28, 2012

Time to Break Out the Boots!

And I did just that this week.  Since my feet grew after having the baby I've had to restock my shoe closet...slowly.  I recently picked up these boots at DSW (actually the inner bargain hunter in me saw them in the store and then decided to go online use a coupon code and Ebates).  I love these boots they are by Audrey Brooke in the Adley design.  Super cute, comfortable and not too tight in the calf area.  I really like my outfit...first official fall ensemble.  I got lots of compliments on my outfit at work and wanted to share the details.  The dress and sweater are both Mossimo for Target...great prices!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Beauty Review - Loreal's BB Cream

I've been looking to shorten the time I spend beautifying my face because as you know with a new baby there aren't enough hours in the day.  My friend recommended that I try a BB cream.  For those of you not familiar with BB cream, it's supposed to do it all - even skin tone, illuminate, perfect, moisturizes and protect skin.  I wanted something affordable (new baby + daycare = stricter budget) so my friend recommended Loreal's Youth Code.  It was over the summer when I first tried it so I went with the medium skin tone since I was tan...not a good idea.  It was WAY too dark...I don't think I will ever be tan enough to wear that shade.  The light was a much better fit.  So far so good on the product.  I still have to wear concealer to hide the dark circles under my eyes but other than that I feel like it gives great coverage, it's light weight and you can't beat the under $20 price tag.  I definitely would recommend.  If you have a bigger beauty budget try Bobbi Brown's BB Cream...Andee Layne at The Honeybee just did a review on it.  What about you use a BB cream?  If so, which one is your favorite?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pinterest Wednesday - Healthy Breakfast Treat

Another recipe I love thanks to Pinterest.  These are very healthy breakfast sugar and egg, flour and dairy free.  I know what you are thinking...probably no taste.  That's what I thought too but wanted to give it a try because I need something easy to eat in the morning and healthy at the same time.  And these turned out pretty good.  Thanks to Watching What I Eat for the recipe!  Check out her blog for other great healthy recipes.  

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked oatmeal, quick or old fashioned 
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed with fork until creamy
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup raisins, or to taste ((optional ~ you can add in some dried cranberries (replacing the raisins)   Trader Joe's makes a really good one.))
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (or regular, if you prefer or none...I'm not a nut person so I opted for none)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (or more, to taste) 
  • Preheat heat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Mix vanilla extract & cinnamon into the applesauce.  
  • Blend applesauce mixture with all other ingredients & let sit for 10 minutes 
  • Drop cookie dough, by spoonfuls, onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet & flatten cookies into rounds. 
  • Bake approx. 30-35 minutes, or until golden & done. 
  • Remove from oven & let rest on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then move to cooling rack. 
  • Store in a covered container when completely cool.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Recap of Some OOTD

I'm starting my third week back at work and getting dressed each morning has been somewhat of a challenge.  I'm not fully back to my pre-baby body so I spend a lot of time trying on clothes and figuring out what in my closet fits.  Here are some of my OOTD since I've been back to work.  It's been kind of fun to shop my closet but not so fun when you try things on and they don't fit right.
Dress:  BCBG via Rue La La
 Shoes: Banana Republic (probably 5+ years old)
Accessories: Diamond earrings, Stella & Dot bracelet, Invicta watch

 Top: Tucker via Rue La La
Pants: J.Crew Minnie Pant
Shoes: Tory Burch Patent Revas
Accessories: Michael Kors Watch, Stella & Dot bracelet 

 Dress: Banana Republic (last season)
Sweater: Banana Republic (last season)
Shoes: Bandolino 

Sweater: Banana Republic (last season)
Shoes: Tory Burch Eddie Flats

*A big thanks for Fresh Produce for sending me their Effortless dress to review.  I really, really like this dress because its versatile for both work/play and seasons.  You can get wear out of the dress almost all year long (depending on the color).  Since I went with navy its a great transition dress to spring with a cardigan.  It's lightweight enough to wear in the summer.  And for the fall transition I think I will pair it with some flat brown boots, scarf and heavy cardigan.  It's very flattering and so comfortable.  I definitely recommend.  It comes in a wide variety of colors too!  I'm going to get LOTS of wear out of this one!  I think I might have to buy it in a few other colors. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

My New "Normal"

As many of you know having a baby completely changes your life and my how my life has changed since having Ella.  I don't usually open up about my personal life on my blog but I really want to share with my readers what's been going on with me and why there has been such a lack of posts lately.  My life is a constant balancing act.  I'm trying to find the right balance of wearing many, many hats in my "new normal."  It's been really, really hard...much harder than I ever thought it would be.  Thankfully I have an amazing husband, understanding boss and great support from family and friends.  When people ask me, "how are you doing?" I say I'm adjusting to our "new normal" and every day gets better.  I thought I would share with all of you how I'm adjusting to wearing many hats and what has helped me get back to some sort of routine/schedule.  Prepare yourself...this is a looong post.  

Mommy - My new number one priority is wearing my mom hat.  I want to be the best mom I can be for Ella and be there for her at all times.  It's been a challenge now that I'm back at work but its also helped me make the most of our time together.  During the week is the hardest because I only get a couple hours in the morning and at night with her.  Thankfully she's in daycare at my work so I use my lunch time to go down and check on her and get in a few hugs and kisses.  I also cherish morning time now.  She's always so happy and giggly when I go get her in the morning.  There's nothing better than seeing her smiling face when I walk in her room.  Seeing that makes it all worth it. 

PR Professional - I went back to work a couple of weeks ago and it's definitely been a transition and adjustment.  I'm a different "employee" than I was before maternity leave.  The old me would work 10 hours days, constantly on my blackberry and able to take on any new project.  The new me works 9-5:30, doesn't have time to check her blackberry unless before 7am or after 9pm and trying to juggle it all.  I've found being organized and getting out the door in a timely fashion is key.  I get up around 5am every morning to either go to the gym or get myself together.  The best thing my husband and I did was establish a routine.  On MWF, I'm at the gym then home to get myself ready for work and Hubby takes care of Ella and vice versa on Tu/Th.  And we do everything the night before - make her bottles, prep anything she needs for daycare, make my breakfast/lunch, etc.  We've gotten into such a good rhythm that I'm able to get out the door every morning without feeling stressed.  It's all about being a team and organized.    

Housekeeper - I like a very clean and organized house and I HATE clutter.  It's been a challenge to keep up a clean and organized house when you have an infant at home and both you and your husband work fairly demanding jobs.  First thing is, thank goodness for my cleaning lady who comes every two weeks.  She is seriously a lifesaver!!! I would give up Starbucks, pedicures, shopping, whatever it took to keep my cleaning lady!  And then as far as the day to day and keeping things neat a's all about putting things away right away and implementing some new organization methods like the Kitchen Command Center.  I also have a very helpful husband that also hates clutter.

Cook - With the first three "hats" really who has time to cook?!?!?!  Again, it's all about the organization.  I plan my meals out ahead of time (thank you to Pinterest for the helpful planning sheet), grocery shop for those specific meals and cook as much as I can first.  For example this is our weekly menu (I don't usually plan Sat/Sun because there's actually time to cook and I don't have to worry ahead of time)and how I prepped ahead of time -
  • Turkey Tacos - Prepped the meat and everything that goes with it yesterday.  Just have to heat up the meat and tacos shells and put my tacos together. 
  • Roasted Tilapia - Decided to do this meal on a day that my husband goes to the gym in the morning.  He gets home from work before me so he can be in charge of dinner and have it ready for when I get home. 
  • Slow Cooker Pot Roast - Key word in this meal is "slow cooker".  I prep everything the night before and then in the AM all I have to do is throw it all together and turn on the crock pot.  Voila - dinner ready when I walk in the door.  
  • Slower Cooker Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup - Again prep the night before, throw everything in the crock pot and dinner ready to go when I get home.

Blogger -  This has definitely fallen to the back burner as you can see by lack of posts.  It's not that I don't have lots of things to blog about...really I do...but between all the other hats and keeping up the family blog I really have little to no time to work on Favorite Things.  I've decided that I want to start setting aside a couple hours a week (once during the week and a couple on the weekend) to take time to blog.  I love my blog and the community I've built.  I want to keep growing and meeting new bloggers.  So here's my promise to you - at least one or two blog posts a week and all I ask is for your patience. 

Just being Christina - This "hat" has by far been the hardest one to balance...I'm always last on the list.  And I know that's how it should be most of the time but sometimes I really just want some "me" time.  I've been desperately needing a haircut and manicure/pedicure but unfortunately its always last on the list of things to do and as you can see from all the other "hats" my to do list is VERY long.  I'm getting much better about it and thanks to my amazing husband I'm able to have some "me" time.  I also try and have time to myself when Ella is sleeping.  On Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday I get up at 5am and head to the gym.  I'm home in time to see Ella wake up.  It's not easy getting up that early but I end up having more energy if I get a quick workout in.     

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Please vote for My Sweet Daughter

So I am totally being that mom that has entered her daughter in multiple photo contests.  I can't help it, I think she's the cutest thing you've ever seen and totally deserves to win.  I was hoping I could get my readers help in this one contest.  I entered her in the American Baby cover photo contest. Here's the photo I entered.
How stinkin cute is she?!?!  Please vote for my sweet pea here.  You can vote once a day, every day for the rest of the week.  If she wins this week she could have the opportunity to appear on their cover.  Right now she's in 389 place...long way to go to number one.  Thanks for your help!!!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Must Have Baby Products - Three Months Old

My sweet little girl is three months already and I thought I'd share with you some of my must have baby products that I can't live with out.  I did a post like this just after she was born...check it out here.

The Summer Infant Video monitor still continues to be a must have.  Now that she's starting to sleep longer and I get up earlier to get ready the monitor is a must to check on her.  The quality is so good that I can see if she's just stirring or really upset.

Ella is completely on bottles now that I'm back at work.  I'm still pumping so she's getting breast milk but it's all from a bottle and I have to say I'm in love with the Dr. Brown's products.  The warmer is so nice to have and has been put to good use each time we feed her.  So easy to just put it in there instead of trying to warm water and then warm the bottle.  The bottles themselves are fantastic.  She isn't very gassy and rarely spits up.  Highly recommend.

The Fisher Price piano play mat was a recent purchase and she absolutely LOVES it.  Now that she kicks her legs this play mat was perfect because every time she kicks that piano it plays a note or song.  I HIGHLY recommend this's such a hit in our house and it will grow with her as she gets older because it converts into a piano when she's ready to sit up.

Another "toy" is the Sassy' floor mirror.  We set this up anytime we lay her down on the floor and she just loves to stare in the mirror.  She's really into mirrors lately so putting this in front of her really occupies her time.  And it's super portable so its great for travel.

Nuk pacifiers are a lifesaver when Ella needs some soothing.  We are slowly trying to take it away but when we need something to help calm her down this is a definite go to.

For bedtime the last three things have been crucial.  Poor thing has pretty dry skin so before bed we lather her with Aquaphor.  It's really helped.  I've seen such a difference in her skin.  We also put a humidifier in her room because she was waking up a little stuffy.  The Crane brand is the one we bought in the elephant shape and it's so quiet and helps her congestion and dry skin.

Finally she's moved on from being swaddled at night to a sleep sack.  She transitioned really well.  I'm a big fan of the Halo brand's cotton sleep sacks.  They fit her great and she sleeps really well in them.  We also have an Aden and Anais one that's ok.  It's really soft but I don't think it's as cozy.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pinterest Wednesday - Meal Plan Organization (and free printable)

I'm back to work next week and need a way to stay organized with our dinners (leftovers for lunch) so we don't eat out every night.  Daycare is going to be a big expense for us so I want to save $$$ where we can and meals is the easiest way (we do take out too much).  This was the first thing I found on Pinterest where I pinned it and immediately checked it out.  Thanks to Life in Yellow for creating and blogging about this.  Like her, every week I would always have good intentions of meal planning and sticking to it but never did.  This new system will allow me to organize our meals to find recipes that have similar ingredients and also prepare some meals ahead of time.  I decide what meals for the week then check out the fridge and pantry to see what ingredients I need.  I add the other groceries for the week at the bottom like milk, eggs, etc.  I take this one step further because I do some grocery shopping at Target and some at the grocery store so I transfer this to a master list with the household items.  On the master list I "star" the items I have coupons for....makes it easier for Hubby when he goes shopping for me.  Be sure to check out her blog for the free printable.  Not only did I find a new organization system but I also found a great new blog to visit regularly.  Check out some of her other organization posts here.


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