Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pinterest Wednesday - Great Recipe for Cauliflower Soup

Thank you to Closet Cooking for these fabulous recipe for Cauliflower soup.  I pinned this earlier in the week and was so excited to make it because I had gotten cauliflower in my Washington Green Grocer order.  I made it in prep for Hurricane Sandy (we faired well considering and never lost power) and it turned out delicious.  I've included the recipe below.  It's the perfect comfort food for fall weather.  For a lower calorie option I'm going to make it without the milk and see how it turns out.  I think it will be just as good.


1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tablespoons oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
3 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups aged white cheddar, shredded
1 cup milk or cream
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Toss the cauliflower florets in the oil along with the salt and pepper and arrange them in a single layer on a large baking sheet.
  2. Roast the cauliflower in a preheated 400F oven until lightly golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat.
  4. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and thyme and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
  6. Add the broth and cauliflower, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
  7. Puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency with a stick blender.
  8. Mix in the cheese, let it melt and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Mix in the milk and remove from heat.

Happy Halloween!

 My little watermelon at her first Halloween Party! 

Someone is all ready for "school"

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

One Dress - Three Ways

I recently picked up this navy and white striped dress from GAP.  It's a great dress and I really like the way it fits me (runs on the smaller side...I got an XS).  What I like most about this dress is the versatility.  I was able to change the look by just adding a layer - sweater or blazer.  Here's a look at the three different outfit ideas I plan on integrating into my fall wardrobe.


Dress: GAP
Boots: Audrey Brooke via DSW
Jewelry: J.Crew necklace (similar here)
Dress: GAP
Sweater: J.Crew Factory (similar here)
Boots: Audrey Brooke via DSW
Jewelry: J.Crew necklace (similar here)
Dress: GAP
 Blazer: J.Crew Factory (similar here)
Boots: Audrey Brooke via DSW
Jewelry: J.Crew necklace (similar here)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Gift Idea Friday - Baby Blankets AND a Giveaway!!!!

When Ella was born she got A LOT of blankets from people...some homemade, some bought, some for snuggling and some for swaddling.  We have a few favorites and there's one that I wanted to share with you.  My good friend Kristen bought Miss Ella this adorable navy blue blanket with pink and white chevron detail (her initial on one side and dragon (2012 is year of the dragon) on the other side.  They are from etsy seller My Little Mookie and probably the most comfy blanket she has.  One side of the blanket is t-shirt jersey and the other side is a soft cuddle fleece.  We use it both to snuggle with and also have her lay on because it's got a little cushion to it.  My husband loves the blanket so much that I caught him snuggled up it...well his legs anyway because it's so small.  I decided he deserved a blanket for himself so I contacted the seller and she made me a custom family blanket and I was just over the moon excited when it arrived.  It turned out so good.

In addition to selling these fabulous blankets, she also has super cute bibs, burb cloths and onesies.  She was very generous and sent some goodies for me to giveaway to my blog readers!  I have three giveaways to share and I'm keeping them somewhat a secret so you can be surprised if you win.

1) Toddler Shirt

2) Small Baby Blanket

3) Diaper Covers

To win, all you have to do is the following -

1) Be a follower (see right hand side)
2) Leave a comment that you are a follower and your email address
3) For an extra entry, follow my blog on FB and leave another comment letting me know you follow

Giveaway closes Friday at 9pm ET and I will announce the winner sometime next week.  Good luck! 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pinterest Wedneday - Hair Brush Product Review

I saw a pin about this Goody brush and was super excited to try it because it's suppose to reduce water in your hair by 30% to help dry it faster.  I have a ton of hair and I'll try anything to help minimize drying/styling time.  I was VERY disappointed in this brush.  The "absorbent microfiber bristles" did nothing.  I didn't feel a change in my hair at all.  It was still very wet and took the same amount of time to blow dry.  I don't recommend this brush at's not worth the $12.99 price tag. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fall Must Haves with OOTD

After posting my Fall Must Haves, I wanted to share with you how I incorporate them into my daily wardrobe.  Here are three OOTD that showcase almost all my "must haves".  What are some of your favorite fall looks?
This is one of my favorite fall looks. It's comfy and perfect for the office or hanging out on the weekends.  
Sweater: J.Crew Factory (similar here)
Shirt: J.Crew
Shoes: Target Merona flats (similar here)
Jewelry:  J.Crew Factory earrings, Michael Kors watch, South Moon Under/Stella and Dot combo necklace
 I love the colors of this dress! 
Dress: Banana Republic Factory (I wish they had an online factory store like J.Crew)
Boots: Audrey Brooke via DSW 
Loving these nude pumps from Target.
Sweater: Banana Republic (similar here)
Shirt: Anthropologie (similar here)
Pants: LOFT trouser jeans (similar here)
Shoes: Target Merona pumps

Monday, October 15, 2012

Drybar Comes to DC Area!!!

I'm so excited that Drybar is coming to the DC area!!!  I've been seeing the posts from bloggers in CA raving about how much they LOVE Dry Bar and I've really been wanting to try it out.  For those of you not familiar with Drybar, the concept is simple it's a blow dry bar - "no cuts. no color. just blow outs for $35"  They have all different types of blowouts from the Straight Up to the Cosmo to the Mai Tai.  Definitely something I'm going to have to treat myself to in the next couple of months. 

Note to Hubby - Hint Hint...perfect gift idea for me :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

My Fall Wadrobe Staples

I love boots, layering, blazers, etc so fall is by far my favorite season for fashion.  I thought I'd share with you some of my fall wardrobe staples.

Ballet Flats - I LIVE in my ballet flats in the fall.  They are so comfortable and easy to throw on.  I have a wide variety of brands - anywhere from Tory Burch Revas (personal favs) to a selection from Target.  My new favorites are the Cole Haan Air Bacara flats.  Very comfortable and go with almost any outfit. 

Trouser Jeans - I usually wear these at least once a week in the fall (and winter).  They are the perfect dressy jean and go with almost any top.  It's my go to choice of jean when I wear jeans to work because they are a little dressier.  One of my favorites is Banana Republic's trouser jean...they fit me great. 

Long Cardigans - Perfect for layering almost any outfit in fall.  I probably wear one every other day.  Whether its with a pair of pants or keeping me warm with a dress, they are must have in your fall wardrobe so you can transition your summer wardrobe into fall.  My personal favorite are the classic merino cardigans from J.Crew.

Blazers - I love blazers in the fall.  It's the perfect layer for the cooler weather.  I already have a pretty good collection of them in my closet but decided to add two more to the mix (both in the navy family) that I will post about as soon as they arrive.  I also love wearing a blazer to dress up casual Fridays.  I don't really buy trendy blazers...just simple, classic ones that will stand the test of time.   

J.Crew Minnie Pant - I absolutely LOVE this pant.  I wear it at least once or twice a week.  I usually end up wearing it with a long cardigan and ballet flats.  One of my favorite looks is a chambray shirt, long cardigan, these pants and a cute flat (be on the look out for an OOTD soon). 

Boots - I love me some boots in the fall.  I've had to buy some new brown boots because my feet have grown since pregnancy.  I've been living in my recent DSW purchase Audrey Brooke boots and just purchased a pair of Corso Como boots that I'll review next week.  I still need to update my black boots - any recommendations?

What are some of your staples for fall? 


Help Save a Life

I'm posting this today for my friend to help one of her friends who has Hodgkins Lymphoma and needs to find a stem cell donor match to keep her alive.  For those of you local in the DC area there is a donor drive this Sunday from 9 to 2 at the JCC in Rockville.  For those of you not here, there are other drives going on around the country.  To find a donor drive near you like Smiles for Shira on Facebook for more information.  You can help save Shira and others.  

Here's a video featuring her beautiful children -

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Must Have Baby Products - Four Months Old

I can't believe that my baby girl is four months old already.  Since the "gear" and my "must haves" are constantly changing, I thought I would share the latest and greatest must haves for this stage.

First row of favorites have definitely come in handy the last few weeks as Ella was battling her first cold.  This snot sucker is amazing!  It works so much better than the one the hospital provides.  I know it seems gross that you are the one to "suck out the snot" but there's no way it can end up in your mouth.  Pair this with some saline drops (third item in top row) and it will really help with your baby's congestion.  And lastly for the cold, we broke out the Boogie Wipes to prevent a really red nose every time we wipe. 

Second row includes a Munchkin basket to wash all her bottle parts (we run the dishwasher all the time now).  I really like how this one has a special section for the nipples, it really gets them clean.  Next up is her favorite Baby Einstein toy.  It's plays music and flashes bright lights which really entertain her.  I love that she's starting to take an interest in toys.  Finally we've got the Nuk teething rings.  I know she's not going to get teeth for awhile but she is in the very early stages putting anything and everything she can in her mouth. 

Last row are two of my very favorites.  First are the Mustela facial wipes.  We don't bathe Ella every night but since she's in day care I do like to give her a good clean and these work great.  On the nights we don't give her a bath I just wipe down her face and neck with these.  And lastly the Munchkin formula divider.  This is perfect for when we are out and about.  I measure out her formula and have it ready for three bottles.  The divider system allows the formula to stay in each section and you can easily move from section to section.  Perfect for when we are on the go. 

What are some of your favorite baby products for the 3-5 month stage? 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Revisting the How I Wish Post

I wanted to revisit the post I did last week titled Oh How I Wish.  I got a lot of feedback on the blog and on Facebook and I feel like my post came across a lot more negative then I intended.  First and foremost thank you to everyone for the lovely comments about being there for me, letting me know it gets better, etc.  The post wasn't supposed to be a "poor me" "I can't handle it" type post but rather a release of some pent up feelings and share things that I know a lot of moms feel but don't necessarily express.  So to clarify a little bit - I absolutely love my new life with my family and fall in love with my daughter more and more every day but I'm not going to pretend that I'm super mom or our life is perfect because I'm definitely not and it certainly is far from it.  Things are constantly changing and Hubby and I are trying to figure it all out and make it work for us.  I plan on continuing to share this journey with all of you - the good, bad and occasional ugly.  Hopefully I can share some lessons learned to help make your crazy lives a little easier.  Thanks again to all my readers for the support and advice.  Keep it coming!  And because she's so darn cute I had to share a picture from our recent trip to Florida. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Oh how I wish...

...I could have one entire afternoon to myself to get my hair, nails and eyebrows done all in the same day!  I know it's selfish but

...I had more time to read.  I used to read ALL the time but now by the time I crawl into bed I'm so exhausted that I can barely keep my eyes open. 

...there were more hours in the day.  It's been really hard to spend quality time with miss Ella during the week but with work, commuting and her sleep schedule I'm lucky if i get two hours of solid snuggle time.  I'm a mess inside thinking about it.   

...I could shed these last 5 lbs of baby weight.  I know it took nine months to put all the weight on and it's only been four months since I had the baby but I'm sick of trying to squeeze into my old clothes. 

...Hubby didn't have to travel for his job.  I was on my own again for a few days this week and its so hard to balance baby, work and everything in between.  I just don't know if I can keep doing it.   

Just a few things I'm thinking that I haven't been able to verbalize.  I have a feeling my blog is going to be my new therapy.  I already feel better just typing everything out! 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Healthy Alternatives - Chicken Nuggets

Since having my sweet baby four months ago, I've been trying to lose the baby weight.  Most of it has come off with breastfeeding and working out but I'm struggling with the last five pounds.  It's hard because I love food so I've been trying to find some healthy alternatives.  First recipe to try was a success - healthy chicken nuggets.  They taste great and the panko was a great trick.  Perfect for a football Sunday.  Thanks to Gina's Skinny Recipes for the recipe. What are some of your favorite healthy alternatives?

Healthy Baked Chicken Nuggets
Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 4 • Serving Size: 1/4th of nuggets • Old Points: 4 pts • Points+: 4 pts
Calories: 164.9 • Fat: 4.6 g • Protein: 22.1 g • Carb: 7.7 g • Fiber: 0.9 g Sugar: 0.1 g

  • 16 oz (2 large) skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into even bit sized pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 6 tbsp whole wheat Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp panko
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • olive oil spray 
Preheat oven to 425°. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray.

Put the olive oil in one bowl and the breadcrumbs, panko and parmesan cheese in another.

Season chicken with salt and pepper, then put in the bowl with the olive oil and mix well so the olive oil evenly coats all of the chicken.

Put a few chunks of chicken at a time into the breadcrumb mixture to coat, then on the baking sheet. Lightly spray the top with olive oil spray then bake 8 - 10 minutes. Turn over then cook another 4 - 5 minutes or until cooked though.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pinterest Wednesday - Nail Polish Essie's Demure Vixen

I've been on the hunt for a transition nail color because I'm not quite ready to go dark on my nails.  Where else do I turn but Pinterest.  I'm a big fan now of Essie's Demure Vixen because it's got some color to it but not too much.  It didn't turn out as shiny as the Pinterest photo (right side) but it is the perfect mauve shade for this time of year.  The photo on the left is my actual nails (two days after my manicure).  What do you think?  What are some of your transition colors? 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

30% Off at GAP, Old Navy and Banana!

Today's the last day to get at least 30% off at GAP, Old Navy and Banana Republic.  All you have to do is enter THANKYOU at check out.  If you use your GAP, Old Navy or Banana Republic card you can get 35% off.  I didn't get anything for myself this time but I did pick up a few things for the little one. 

Best deal for me was the fleece bunting from Old Navy for under $20!  Are you going to pick up anything?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Organization Monday - Getting Out the Door On Time

The biggest challenge for me is getting out the door in the morning on time and not frazzled.  So far its been going really well.  Hubby and I have a system and it really seems to be working so I thought I'd share it with you.  When he's not traveling we have a rotation - MWF I go to the gym at 5:30AM and Tu/Th he goes to the gym at 5:30AM.  When it's your gym day all you have to do is worry about easy right! When it's not your gym day it's not so easy.  Here's my morning routine (non gym days) -

5:15 AM - Alarm goes off...hit snooze
5:25 AM - Out of to the shower
5:45 AM - Time for morning coffee, empty dishwasher and prep whatever is for dinner the night before.
6:00 AM - Get ready for work, make bed and switch out laundry (if necessary)
7:15 AM - Get Ella up and ready for "school" (diaper change, lotion applied and dressed)
7:30 AM - Feed Ella (she's still only on bottles)
8:00 AM - Bottles in Ella's bag, gather my breakfast/lunch
8:15 AM - Must be out the door...try to get out the door earlier

So how do I make this morning routine go smoothly...a few ways:
  1. Bottle Prep - We went out an bought several more bottles so we would have enough on hand to make bottles ahead of time, have bottles for the day and not have to run the dishwasher every night.  I think we have at least 10 bottles.  Hubby or I make all of Ella's bottles for the next day the night before.  All of her day care bottles must be labeled with tape and the date so it's much easier to prep ahead of time.   
  2. Ella's Clothes - I set aside Ella's clothes for the week ahead of time in the closet then before we put her to bed I pull an outfit set it along with coordinating socks/bows on the changing table for the next day. This saves so much time trying to figure out an outfit, find socks, etc.  
  3. Food Prep - Since we had Ella we are trying to save more money (especially with daycare costs) so we try to eat out as little as possible.  This is a new thing and so far its going great.  The night before I make sure my lunch is ready to go and then all I have to do is grab it before I leave in the AM.  In order to save time in the evening and spend time with Ella, I've been doing a lot of slow cooker meals so before bed I prep any ingredients for the next days meal (season meat, peal and cut potatoes, etc.) and then before Ella wakes up I put everything together and turn the crock pot on right before I leave.  
  4. Use Time Wisely - I used to love jumping back into bed for 10-15 minutes after my shower to catch up on the news.  Not anymore.  I allow myself one snooze (which I really shouldn't) and then it's up to start my day and really no stopping till I go to bed that night.  Some things I've done to maximize time is:
    • throw a load of laundry in the night before, do a switch out the next morning and fold when Ella goes to bed
    • prep as much food over the weekend as I can
    • work together with Hubby as a team...split up the tasks...I am not super mom and can't do it all. 
It's SO exhausting at times but it's all worth it.  Looking at this it seems very structured and move from one thing to the next but that's not always the case.  Getting up super early and having a plan allows me time to enjoy some of my favorite times like when I do get Ella up and get to spend a few minutes laughing and playing with her or when I get home from work and the three of us just sit on the couch and hang out. 


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