Thursday, January 31, 2013

In Need of a New Blow Dryer

My apologies for the unexpected week departure of posts.  Our house was struck with the stomach bug.  It was nasty but thankfully everyone is healthy and the house has been disinfected once again.  I've been noticing that my blow dryer is starting to die out on me.  It's not as powerful and definitely doesn't get as hot as it once did.  I'm debating on whether or not to stick with the one I've loved or try a new one.  I love this blow dryer because it was affordable, did a great job, was lightweight and I could get it on Amazon Prime (fast).  This guy has lasted me almost two years.  I use it almost every day so at around $30 it's the perfect one for me.  I'm definitely willing to try something new but I don't want to spend a fortune.  So tell me...what's your favorite blow dryer?  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Why I Love

Since I've had Ella I've done several posts on so I thought I would do a compilation post sharing with you all the reasons I love  And as a special gift to all of you, is giving my readers 20% your first purchase at and all their other sister sites (,, etc.)  Simply use the promo code CHRI968014.  Happy Shopping! 

1.  Convenience - As a working mom I'm all about convenience.  I love that I can place an order and it can be sitting at my door almost overnight.  Yes you have to spend $49 or more but I normally do - whether it's baby food pouches, diapers, wipes or formula.  I'm always in need of something.  And since I can use manufacturer coupons, Ebates and Pampers Gifts to Grow points, I'm saving money too.  More on the saving below.   

2.  Ebates - They participate in Ebates which is a huge win for me. You can get up to 5% cash back on your purchases.  For those of you new to the blog or don't know about Ebates - it's by far the easiest way to earn FREE money by shopping online.  All you have to do is go to, sign up/log in, search for the store you plan on shopping at, click the link and voila you are taken there and all you have to do is shop.  Each store has corresponding percentage of cash back.  Just watch the money add up (especially around the holidays).  Every quarter Ebates will send you a check and all you have to to is cash it.  I definitely recommend signing get $5 for just signing up.  Click here to get started.

3.  Pampers Gifts to Grow - If you are using Pampers products then you must enroll in their Gifts to Grow program!  It's a free program that allows Pampers users to collect points that can be redeem for various products and coupon codes.  The one that I've been using is $5 off at  Here's how the program works.  Simply sign up here and collect the codes from all your Pampers points.  Enter the codes either via the website of iPhone app.  Then you can redeem the points for items in the rewards catalog.  Having trouble finding a here for help.  

4.  Coupons - You know that there are certain things I will NEVER buy without a coupon.  Many of those things are baby necessities like diapers, wipes, diaper cream, formula, etc.  One of the great things about is that they take manufacturer coupons.  It takes some work because you have to mail them in but it's totally worth it.  Here's a link to a post I did on how to mail in your coupons.  

5. 5% Back Program - Great program to reward you on products you buy the most -
diapers, laundry supplies, paper products and pet food.  Earn 5% Back on products from these categories - every brand, every time you shop - and once you've earned the 5% Back, will automatically apply those earnings to your next order on any of their sites.  The best part of this program is that it's totally automatic. No sign-up. No codes to remember. No complicated redemptions. Every purchase of eligible products will earn you 5% Back.  The 5% Back rewards will be deposited in your customer account within 48 hours after the order has shipped. The discount will automatically apply on your next order.  Here's a list of product categories that qualify -  

  • all diapers (including cloth) 
  • all laundry and paper products (e.g. laundry detergent, fabric softener, paper towels, bathroom and facial tissue, napkins) 
  • all pet food 
  • all green diapers, pet food, laundry and paper products

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Some recent OOTD

Here's a recap of some of my outfits last week.  It's was a crazy week and I went a bit casual.  Check out the surprise appearance with the last outfit.  :)

Sweater: Ann Taylor LOFT (similar here)
Shirt: GAP Pure Long Line Tunic (LOVE!)
Leggings: Banana Republic (similar here)
Scarf: J.Crew (similar here)

Blazer: J.Crew Factory (similar here)
Shirt: Banana Republic (similar here)
Jeans: Citizen's of Humanity (similar here)
Boots: J.Crew booties (similar here)

**a sweet guest appearance by Miss Ella sporting a Carters fleece outfit (on sale right now)
 Sweater: GAP (on sale now)
Shirt: Old Navy Chambray shirt (on sale now)
Pants: Banana Republic (similar here)
Boots: Cole Haan Air Talia booties (on sale now)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Somewhat back on track...Ella is SEVEN months old!

I know I say this every month but I can't believe my baby girl is SEVEN months old.  She's growing up so fast.  She's got two teeth, eats three "meals" a day and is now holding her bottle on her own.  It's all going too fast.  Here are some of the products that haven't gotten us through month seven. 

Last month was all about the feeding and this month is all about the toys.  Ella is really into toys now.  She's crawling up a storm so we lay a bunch of fun things on the new floor (middle, top row) in her play room.  Let's start at the top row - she LOVES Sophie like most babies.  I really didn't think she was going to be into as much as she is...she loves her so much I got a second one (cheaper on Amazon) so we have a back up.  Since she's on the move we decided to create a playroom (pictures to come).  It's hard wood in that room so we need durable, cushioned flooring for it.  I picked up two packages of foam letters that we put together and it looks great (similar here).  As I mentioned, Ella has gotten two teeth.  She's been gnawing on everything and anything she can get her hands on.  Per a friend's recommendation, I picked up these great teething rings.  They are easy for her to hold and have different types of ridges so she can pick which feels best on her gums.   

Second row is one of Ella's new best friends, Fisher Price's Laugh and Learn Puppy.  It was a gift from her Godfather and aunt.  She loves "playing with it" meaning she wrestles it and chews on the different limbs.  Eventually she'll start understanding the different features.  Another favorite toy is a classic from when I was growing up, the Rock a Stack.  She can't put the rings back together but she loves taking them off and surprise, surprise putting them back in her mouth.  A product we used with her when she was little has returned, the piano playmat now has been brought back into rotation but this time as an actual piano.  She sits at it and pounds away on the keys.  It keeps her attention for a good amount of time.     

Finally, the last mom bought this toy for Ella a while ago.  It's a sensory toy from Sassy that has become a big favorite.  This was actually the toy that Ella went to the first time she crawled.  It's nice and small, doesn't make a lot of noise so it's one of my favorites to pack when we are out and about.  We started pulling out some basic bath toys (last items) and we need something to store them in so we've been using this suction cup storage net.  So far so good. 

Here are some older posts of my favorite baby products from Ella's first six months and a look back at how she's grown.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Hunt for the Perfect Mascara

I'm on the hunt for the perfect mascara.  For the longest time I've used Favorite Thing #173 but lately its been flaking off and leaving black specs under my eyes at the end of the day.  Instead of running out and buying a bunch of mascara, I thought I would start with the samples I have been collecting.  So far nothing has completely won me over.  Here's my reviews of the first three I've tried.

First up is Clinique's High Impact Mascara. I liked this mascara a lot because it gave a very natural look.  It definies lashes really well (no spidery look) and it gave me just enough length (I'm lucky because my Italian/Portuguese heritage has given me long lashes).  What I didn't like is it didn't give me the volume I'm want.  I don't want anything too dramatic but still want a little boost.  If you don't care about volume and are looking for a natural look then I definitely recommend this mascara.  And the price point isn't too terrible at $16/tube.
Next is Bobbi Brown's Extreme Party mascara. The nice thing about this mascara is it's "buildable" meaning you can do a layer for a day look and then a couple of layers for a more dramatic evening look.  In my opinion its an ok mascara.  It did its job but didn't wow me or give me an extra volume that I was looking for.  And I'm definitely not a fan of the $25 price tag. 

So far I'm 0 for 2 but it's just the beginning of my mascara journey.  What are some of your favorites? 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

And the winners are...

My apologies for the delay in getting this email out.  The winners of the Stella and Dot promo code giveaway are -


Congratulations.  Please send me an email ( and I can put you in touch with Kim to get all the details.  Since I got this post up so late and you are a winner, please feel free to reach out to Kim directly.  Remember you have until tomorrow to use the code.

Kim Huntington
Email -
Website -
Phone - (301) 518-6531

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Stella and Dot Giveaway!

I've become obsessed with Stella and Dot jewelry thanks to my friend and Stella and Dot stylist, Kim.  I did some major shopping over the holidays because they were running a promotion to earn Stella and Dot dollars.  I can't use them all so I wanted to do a giveaway and award four lucky readers a $25 off a $50 purchase promo code.  The giveaway will close tonight at midnight and you must use the code by this Thursday, January 10.  I will do the drawing and post the winners info first thing tomorrow morning.  There will be FOUR winners!

Rules of the giveaway -

1. Must be a follower
2. Must follow my blog on Facebook

Just leave a comment letting me know what is your favorite Stella and Dot piece. 
Here's a sneak peek at the new spring collection.  If you are interested in hosting an in-person or virtual party, please contact my friend Kim.  Below are all the ways to get in touch with her. 

Kim Huntington
Email -
Website -
Phone - (301) 518-6531

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Purchases via OOTD

I love sharing my new purchases with you but its so hard to do a recap of a shopping trip.  I've found its easier to just share them with you as I wear them so here's a look at some recent purchases and gifts.  As I mentioned in earlier posts I have some new rules when I'm shopping - one in, one out (stay tuned for a big ebay sale) and must be able to be worn a couple different ways (ideally in different seasons) with items already existing in my closet.  So far so good.

Shirt: Banana Republic Gingham (on sale right now!)
Sweater: Banana Republic Grosgrain Cardigan (on sale right now!)
Jeans: Joe's Jeans (similar here)
Jewelry: Michael Kors watch, Stella and Dot bracelet, Stella and Dot necklace

Shirt: H&M Sheer Black Tunic (similar here)
Tank: J.Crew Tank
Boots: Audrey Brooke via DSW
Jewelry: Michael Kors watch, Stella and Dot necklace, Stella and Dot bracelet

Cardigan: J.Crew Merino Cardigan
Boots: Audrey Brooke via DSW
Jewelry: Michael Kors watch, Stella and Dot necklace, Stella and Dot bracelet

Friday, January 4, 2013

Ella's 6 Months Old...well she was last month.

I've been behind on posting Ella's monthly pictures.  She was 6 months old last month.  I can't believe it.  Time is just flying by...she turned 7 months on Wednesday.  As I've done in months past, here were the most have products we used (and still do) during her six month of life.

First Row - I started making 90% of Ella's baby food and here are my must have essentials - OXO has the perfect storage containers for fridge or freezer.  Beaba's Babycook has been the perfect gadget to steam and puree, it does it all.  It's not cheap (mine was given to me as a gift) but I think its totally worth it.  Beaba also has these freeze containers.  They are great for storing a lot of food but you need to have another container to let it thaw out in.  I like them because it helps maximize my freezer space.  Not the most affordable but I used a 20% off coupon to purchase them.

Second Row - Ella loves the Taggie blanket.  She loves to play with the tags and put them in her mouth.  I noticed she was playing on the tag on the blanket I lay down for her so I have her this blanket and she loved it.  The Bumbo has served multiple purposes.  It's been great for her to practice sitting up but we also use it when we travel to use to feed her.  One of her other favorite toys is the Baby Einstein piano.  She can play with it on her tummy or while sitting up.  It has so many different settings that it keeps her entertained for a long time.   

Third Row - One of my favorite bloggers, Life After I Dew turned me on to Children's Place stretchie PJs.  They are so easy to put on and because they are so strechie she's not growing out of them right away.  I absolutely LOVE this hat from GAP.  It's fits her huge melon head and gives her maximum coverage over her ears.  It's soft but very durable.  Another great cold weather item is the JJ Cole Bundle Me.  It's goes over the car seat and Ella is all bundled up and need to worry about having a blanket. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Favorite Thing #231 - Sonia Kashuk Instructional Eye Palette

My makeup routine is very minimal because I don't have much time in the morning.  I found this Sonia Kashuk eye palette and instantly fell in love.  It has all the basic neutral colors that I wear in one easy palette.  The colors are great and last all day.  I haven't used the instruction booklet yet because I just don't have time.  I highly recommend this palette.  It's great for at home or travel use and you can't beat the price ($19.99).  Between this and BB cream, it takes me no time at all to "put my face one."  What are your favorite and easy make up solutions?   

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year, New Goals!

I took an impromptu break from the blog last month.  I needed it.  Things where crazy with my work and home life.  Since my last post, I survived my first trip away from Ella (wedding in New Orleans), I survived my first business trip (sucked that it was right after my personal trip), celebrated Ella turning 6 and 7 months old, now have a crawler on my hands (here's a video) and celebrated the holidays with family and friends.  It's been a crazy month and I'm ready for things to settle down and enjoy quiet weekends at home.  As we start 2013, I've thought about what I want to accomplish and have decided to take a different approach this year.  Instead of focusing on specific goals of losing a certain number of pounds or gaining a certain number of blog followers, I want to focus on ways to overall improve my life and here's how I plan on doing it.

1.  Be healthier...and maintain it!  This year I want to do more than just lose the 10 remaining pounds to get to my goal weight.  I want to change my family's lifestyle so we are fit and healthy all year long.  Hubby and I enjoy working out and overall are healthy people but we get into these moods where we let it all go....we stop everything (no working out and eating like s*@t) and then try and get healthy again.  So this year my goal is to stay consistent - eat well, work out, get sleep (or at least try), take vitamins, drink more water and overall be more active.   

2.  Finish outstanding organizing projects....and stay organized! I LOVE to be organized and for the most part I'm a very organized person and run a very organized household.  However, I have a lot of outstanding organization projects that NEED finished.  And there are several rooms, cabinets, closets in the house that I find I'm constantly reorganizing.  This year no more of that.  I'm going to finish what I started and it's going to stay neat and tidy. 

3.  Make time for me! Now that my baby girl is seven months old (where has the time gone) and is more on a routine, it's easier for me to take time out on the weekends to do things for me.  Top of my "me" list for 2013 is read more, regular beauty treatments (pedicure, massage, etc), hang out with my girlfriends and get more sleep.  Hubby really wants me to focus on this so we'll see how it goes.    

4.  Focus on what I love to  I love this blog and I constantly have a million ideas on things to post running through my head.  It's always been the first thing I put on the back burner and this year, I'm really going to focus on it again and make it a priority.  I already have a few series in the works that I know you are going to love.  Let me know what you want to see more of in 2013. 

5.  Learn to let go.  This is a big one for me.  I need to remember that not everything is going to be perfect and it doesn't have to be.  Laundry can wait, dishes can wait, organizing can wait, etc.  I ordered this book to hopefully help me to learn to let go. 

6.  Save, Save, Save! Hubby and I are fairly frugal but I know we can do more.  We budget and coupon but I know there are places we can cut back.  Food is a big one...whether its eating out or over buying at the grocery store.  We need to plan better and stick to that plan.  Even if we only save an extra $100 a month...that's $1200 extra dollars in one year.  I will be sharing all my budgeting/saving tips during the weekly Thrifty Thursday posts.  Help me kick off the year with your do you save extra money?

So, what are your goals?  Any suggestions for how I can accomplish mine?  


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