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Motivated.

3 Aug

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale happened to coincide with my 2 week bootcamp anniversary. Naturally, a celebration was in order. I snagged these.

As much as I enjoy fashion, workout clothing is something that I’ve never really been in to. Before I spend $45 on some running shorts, I’d rather get some real shorts that I can wear out. But I have to admit, within a few weeks I succumbed to the fitness fashion peer pressure and invested in a few essentials. I’m still partial to the Hanes A-line tanks (better known as wife-beaters) but at least I can now pair them with some actual running shorts or dri-fit leggings (instead of my pajama bottoms and target capri length leggings).

I’m even more ashamed to admit what finally pushed me over the edge. I usually attend the 6:00am class. It’s full of regular people (like me). But I slept in a few days and attended the 8:30 or 9:30 class. It’s full of models and trophy wives. Gorgeous Chanel bags. Perfectly coordinated LuLu Lemon gear. Styled hair. Flawless make up. All of it ridiculous but these women look good. So I caved. I will absolutely not be putting anything more than Chapstick on and pulling my hair up but I can avoid looking like such a rag-a-muffin with my clothes. I must also admit, real workout clothes are actually functional. The shorts don’t ride up and who knew that dri-fit technology serves a legitimate purpose!

Off the registry.

23 Jul

I’m that guest. I rarely purchase shower or wedding gifts off of the couples’/parents’ registry. I always like to find something more unique and personal. This is especially true when I know the person/couple well.

Baby and wedding season are in full swing. I have several friends that have recently had babies or are expecting. Not to mention a few upcoming weddings and showers. So not only am I on the hunt for unique gifts but I’m also trying to find some cost-effective options as well.

Since I go off the registry, I feel added pressure to make the gifts really special (to justify my defiance). When it comes to babies, you just can’t go wrong the personalized/keepsake items. When I had Myles I had all sorts of grandiose plans about how I would memorialize and commemorate his birth and subsequent milestones. Not surprisingly, none of it got done. So now I like to give something to new parents that has the key birth stats.

Recently, I’ve come across some great finds on Etsy. The customization options are endless and I think this is the type of gift “that keeps on giving.” These prints can be used for years. In fact, I ordered some for Myles as well!

I love just about everything at Etsy Shop, Mateo & Tobias.

But I settled on these two adorable prints.

Personalized Alphabet ABC Wall Art via Mateo & Tobias

Each print is $16 (frame not included). I will explore custom framing options but worse case I should be able to find something at Michael’s or even Ikea.

Opaque Name Modern Birth Announcement via Mateo & Tobias

Another cute birth announcement type gift is this pillow. These run about $50 each. Not terribly expensive but I have no less than 5 shower/baby gifts to buy and I just don’t have $250+ to spend.

The colors are so vibrant and the backside can be made with a fun print like, Chevron!

Birth Announcement Pillow from ThreelilStitches

I’m also loving these customizable onsies. I think all moms are obsessed with clothing that has their baby’s name on it (or is that just me). These simple white onsies have a great pop of color and would be perfect for pictures! And how cute would it be framed?

Personalized Onesie via SundayRookery

For bridal showers I really like to get something personal for the bride. This is my new favorite and as I bride-to-be I certainly wouldn’t mind getting one of these for myself!

available at Nordstrom and katespade.com for $78

Not only do I stray from the registry but I’m notoriously bad at getting wedding presents prior to the wedding, although etiquette says you have up to 6 months after the wedding to send the gift. But after the wedding the registry is usually  slim pickings so I’m forced to go rogue. I have a few tried and true items from Crate & Barrel but new to my arsenal are these Mr. & Mrs. pillows.

$49 from Pillows4Fun on Etsy

There is nothing like having your first child or getting married to bring out your most sentimental side. My hope is that these gifts add something to those sentiments.

Dinner Winner!

12 Jul

I really enjoy cooking! I would not call myself an amazing cook but I know my way around the kitchen. But a huge problem for me has been getting dinner prepared in a decent amount of time. It’s not unheard of for me to spending upwards of 90 minutes or even 2 hours on a simple lasagna or enchiladas. I didn’t believe that you could actually prepare a full meal in 30 minutes or less (partly because I’m not a fan of Rachel Ray, just saying…). So last night I decided to give this recipe a try from Bon Appetit.

I had some chicken thighs marinating because I had planned on just throwing them in the oven but we really prefer the skin to be crispy which never seems to happen when I bake chicken. So I was very excited to make this:

Perfect Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs via bonappetit.com

Unfortunately, because my chicken was too wet from the marinade my thighs came out like this:

However, they were still delicious! In the future I will forgo the marinade for just salt and pepper and be sure to “air dry” the chicken in the fridge for a few hours. I paired the chicken with a roasted vegetable medley from my recent farmer’s market trip. Some olive oil, salt, pepper, a dash of balsamic vinegar and about 25 minutes in the oven – so simple!

All in all this was about a 35 minute meal. Chicken thighs with the skin is certainly not the most healthy cut of chicken but it’s an inexpensive option and with recipes like this, a very tasty option too! Bon appetit!

Wedding Details: budget friendly favors

4 Jul

6:45 a.m. I waited in this insanely long line. 5 hours and 2 stores later, I had the goods. My goal is to create a “shoe valet” with creatively displayed flip-flops available for guests. A friend did this at her wedding and I thought it was such a thoughtful and fun touch!

via Love Is All You Need

Score! 35 pairs of flip-flops

line in front of Old Navy at 6:45am!

I battled the crowds at the Old Navy One Day Wonder $1 Flip Flop sale. It was madness. I had no idea so many people got so hype about flip-flops. There was a limit of 5 per customer so I had to get creative. I dispatched my mom and aunt to Old Navy stores in their city and I headed out on my own at 6:30am. I recruited a group of 14 year olds that were only getting a couple of pairs each to help me max out the limit. I got all that could from the first store, picked up my family and headed to store number 2.

But for needing 50 pairs, I never would have endured these shenanigans for the 5 pair limit, I’d rather just pay full price and avoid waiting in line for over an hour.

Up next I need to add a decorative label and figure out how to display them. More importantly, I have to figure out the best way to transport them all the way to Mexico.

After all this drama I better see a packed dance floor full of flop-flop clad guests! This is any easy to do and affordable favor that I hope my guests will use again.

Red Tricycle Goodness

19 Jun

I’m a BIG fan of Red Tricycle Los Angles. This site is full of family fun including local activities and events, helpful articles and sometimes some great contests! I love the variety of activities they detail and that many of them are free or at least low-cost. We probably wouldn’t have discovered Underwood Family Farm and the awesomeness that is picking your own fruit if it wasn’t for Red Tri! Even if your city isn’t featured, there is still plenty of good stuff.

Right now they’re running a contest where you could win the ultimate family vacation. With Disneyland ticket prices now skyrocketing to $87 each this is actually a pretty valuable prize package. I know what you’re thinking, “I never win anything.” I used to think the exact same thing until we won an Orbitz Stroller System at an event at a local baby store. So now I enter everything because it really is true that you have to be in it to win it.

So yes, I was hesitant to share this contest with anybody – I don’t want to decrease our chances of winning =) – but it’s so easy to enter and the prizes are great so what the hell. Check it out and enter by clicking here.

Good luck!

Anybody else a Red Tricycle fan?

Save v. Splurge: toddler (water-friendly) shoes

18 Jun

We could build a castle with all the sand Myles tracks home everyday. I’m amazed that there is any left at the playground. Moreover, even on the warmest, driest days, he manages to find some water and create a sticky/muddy/sandy paste. This mess is always caked on his shoes. So for the summer, I set out on finding something that was more protective and easier to run in than flip-flops but that I could still rinse off daily. And they absolutely could not be Crocs (despite my aversion to Crocs, the entire family actually has a pair but I still hate them).

I obsessively get Myles’ feet measured because I once went about 10 weeks in between and his foot grew 2 sizes. I he never once complained about his two-sizes-too-small shoes and I still feel guilty about it. Anyway, during our May trip to Brooks Shoes for Kids I saw these Native Jefferson shoes but was very hesitant to spend $35.99 on plastic shoes. However, they do come in some fun and bright colors!

A couple of weeks later I was in the Gap and saw these perforated slip-ons on sale for $12! I got them in red (see Happy Birthday Myles photo). He is obsessed with his “wawer (water) shoes” and wears them all the time. They usually retail for $19.95 so you’re still saving over the Jefferson shoes (and Crocs) and getting the same functionality. Plus, in my opinion, these are stylish, fun and look adorable with shorts!

 

It’s worth mentioning that the Native Jefferson shoes can be found cheaper, depending on the retailer. They’re currently on sale at Zappos.com for $26.99.

Once again, the budget buy wins out!