What is your Go To Meal?

gotomealEveryone has that go-to make at home meal, the one they know that (almost) everyone will like, that is easy to make and hopefully somewhat nutritious. We’ve got a few family favorites here ourselves and I want to share a few with you, and I want YOU to tell me your family favorite! A chosen recipe will be used in the upcoming Spring Issue of Mamatoga Magazine! xoxo

Our family favorites:

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My Mom Life: Julie D.

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I am Julie, I am a 27 year old mother of 4. Current ages, 5, 4, 2, 1. My life is crazy, I work part-time as an online math tutor, my husband is in the Navy, currently working a day shift, the first time in our 8 year marriage we have seen each other every day. I am very thankful for my job, and love the controlled chaos of my house.

What is your typical schedule like during the week?
6:30-7:00 I wake up. My husband usually leaves 7-7:30
7:00-7:30 I try to work-out, I have started T25 and shower before my kids get up.
7:30 all 4 usually wake up, (if I am lucky they have slept this long, if not I usually turn on tv before I am ready.)
7:30-8:45 All 4 eat get dressed and ready for the day. My oldest two leave for school.
9-11 two days I have my 2 year old going to preschool so this is time I do stuff like groceries, plan meals, try to catch-up on work.
11:30-1- Lunch for the youngest 3 and some play time.
1-3 I have a work meeting every day at 1pm so I have to have the 2 younger boys sleeping, and usually my daughter 4 is taking a nap or doing quiet time stuff.
3:30- my oldest gets home from school.
5:00-5:30 my husband gets home and dinner
7:00-9:00 I work in my basement office and usually come up to do books and bed

What do you find tricky about your current set-up/schedule? What would you change if you could?

I always wish I could dedicate time for work- I think a lot about getting a sitter for a couple hours each day, but there are some days I do not need anyone, and other days I am swamped, so I guess I just do not like the inconsistency. My work schedule is weird, but flexible.

I find it tricky there is never enough time for anything, I feel that we are always in a rush in the morning, but I do not want to wake my kids up earlier.

What do you like best about your current set-up/schedule?

I love that I have time with my kids each individually throughout the day, even if it is my daughter playing quietly in my office while I work- it is time she gets to spend with just me, I always worry I am not giving them enough of me, they grow so fast I do not want them to look back and remember how I worked.

kids fallDo you have time for yourself? What do you do during that time?

I have very little time to myself, lately I have been trying to put myself first more, I like to unwind and catch-up on my DVR and workout, maybe take a shower or a long hot bath with no littles coming in.

What are some of your top must have products for the parenting part of your life? What are some non-mom must haves?

For parenting it is very hard for me to answer this, for my first son, I could not live without my Boppy pillow, but I didn’t even use it with my youngest son, my youngest he lived in the Ergo whenever I went anywhere I had to have it, I was chasing other kids. I also really love my snap and go stroller when my kids were a bit younger and my video monitor! For toys my kids love the busy box thing from Bee purchased at Target, and I love all the Leap Frog videos, and they are also into stamping sets from Melissa and Doug.

For me:T25 workout is making me feel productive with only dedicating 30 mins to working out.  I am also loving scarfs from old navy right now. My amazing sister got me some for christmas and they make me feel so put together even though I shower and throw my hair in a bun, Every. Single. Day.

What advice would you give to other moms about how to balance work and life?

I do not think I have any advice for this, I am currently working part time from home during nap-time and when my husband is home, it is a constant struggle, although I love my job, I am always feeling like I should be doing more, both for my job, and my family. I try very hard to have set times that I dedicate to work, 1-3pm (nap time) and then 7-9pm some weekdays.

halloween picDo you ever wonder how other women manage the juggle? Do you think people are open about it?

I have a good group of friends, so yes we are open about it, we confide in one another about the unhealthy food we are feeding our children some days, and the school snack we forgot to pack. No one can do it all, and it helps to hear other moms having the same struggles as me.

What is one thing you’ve realized/learned about motherhood that no one ever told you before you had kids?

In motherhood, and life in general I just feel like I am never doing enough, reading enough books, cooking enough healthy food, spending enough quality time, it is a struggle a lot of moms feel, or at least I hope I am not alone in this, and something I never knew before I had kids. Everyone says your kids grow so fast, this I knew before I had kids, but not really, my oldest will be 6 next month and it feels like he was just a baby.

If you had an extra hour in the day, you would spend it…?

This is a hard one, I have not taken a long hot bath- something I truly enjoy in a while so if you were asking me today I would say that. However although I feel completely overwhelmed I also feel as though I can do anything! So if there is something I want to commit time to, I do.

Do you find it hard or difficult at all to stay connected to friends/people in your life now that you have kids? Do you find there is any gap or gulf in between you and the friends/people in your life that don’t have kids? Any tips on how to stay connected to those people?

I started having kids when many of my friends were having kids. Then moved and became friends with people who had kids here, or people my husband knew through work that were used to being around kids. My friends and I are used to seeing each other when there are kids around talking over us, or climbing over us, or interrupting.

Is there anything you find yourself doing as a parent that you swore you would never do before you had kids?

There are many! Even when my oldest was a baby, I swore he was not going to eat food walking around my house, as I write this all 3 older children have various food, oranges, graham crackers, walking around, spilling crumbs everywhere! I thought I would read books to my children every single night, now my oldest sometimes reads to the younger ones, I thought I would never get annoyed with them telling me useless information, I guess I just overall thought I would have more energy, I swore I would have more energy.

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#1 Winter Skin Tip {DIY}

indexThis super duper easy DIY is great year round (love it in summer) but it’s especially needed in winter when skin can get dry and itchy and just downright neglected under all those layers. The recipe couldn’t be simpler, but it makes your skin feel like you’ve just gotten back from a spa.

Ingredients and Directions:

1 cup granulated white sugar

A few tablespoons of coconut oil to blend the sugar and the oil together (this amount is adjusted to make the scrub blend just smooth enough to scoop into your fingers without being too liquid to make it slip through, make it grainier if you need more exfoliation)

A few drops of essential oil for fragrance, I love the Body Shop’s Vanilla perfume oil but any scented oil you prefer will do, jasmine is also really pretty

Just add these things together, mix it in a shatterproof cup (no glass in the shower with oily hands!) with your fingers while you are in the shower and scrub everywhere. After you rinse off you won’t even need a moisturizer because you’ll have super soft skin already scented with your favorite fragrance. Be sure to rinse the tub after you use this though, if you make it too oily it can make the tub a little slippery. xoxo

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Baby to Big Girl Bed: Kids Style

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Make the transition from baby to big girl bed as sweetly as possible with these gorgeous girl’s room decor picks. Clockwise from top left:

I WISH they had this sneaker print sheet set when I was a little girl, OMG I would have loved this. Serena and Lily

Okay add this rainbow pillow to that list as well, 6 year old me would have treasured this happy little room accessory. Land of Nod

These tiny hippos will keep her new book collection all neat and organized (and bonus, they can double as some little friends to play with). Serena and Lily

I recently bought these wall decals for both my girls and they are so well made with such a great color selection. Etsy

If you have a girly girl like I do who loves bows, this Bibie Bow Holder can be hung on the back of the door (where Leven has her’s hung) or on the wall and it is C-U-T-E, let me tell you (and actually holds a lot of bows). Beaufort Bonnet Company

Another recent addition to my 6 year old’s room is this swan laundry hamper. On the sides are two handles which can actually be folded down to make tossing clothes in easier. Fold the handles back up to carry. It is light enough to carry for my little girl and she can help out and bring her laundry to the laundry room herself (still working on having her fold and put it away though…) 3 Sprouts

This pretty purple quilt has tiny details like the running contrast stitch that take it from basic to simply beautiful. Serena and Lily

Stock up on some great girl reads, like old school Nancy Drews and new school Ivy and Bean (both awesome mysteries for girls). If you need help finding age appropriate books for your little reader, ask one of the super friendly booksellers at Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga (Jennifer is the one who directed us to Ivy and Bean and now Levy is obsessed!)

Ugh this dip dyed stool, I want like ten of them. Find it here or find a DIY here if you are crafty like that.

Blablas just make me happy. Blabla

Do you have a little pony lover in your house? This pillow cover has the sweetest horse print on it (they have a whole line with this print too). Little Augie Home

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Best Baby Feeding Item EVER

indexBaby Talley is turning 6 months tomorrow and is ALL ABOUT food, she seriously eyes me as I eat a sandwich and just baby food isn’t cutting it. So I went to Target and got one of those mesh bag feeders, the kind where you stuff food into it and snap it closed and they get to eat it through the mesh. Sounds great, right? She enjoyed it, got her banana fix in, but then I tried to clean it and remembered why I HATE those mesh bag feeders. There is literally NO way to get them totally clean. I hand washed it, I used the sprayer, I scraped each bit of banana off of one by one, I put it in the dishwasher, and it was still gross. There was just no way to get them totally clean, and I eventually threw them out. Sorry Talley, no more banana till you can eat it by yourself I guess.

A few weeks later I was at The Bundle Store and saw the Boon Pulp Silicone Feeder and immediately grabbed it off the shelf. “Is this like those mesh ones?” I asked Amber excitedly as I waved it in front of her face. “Yes, but better”, she said, as she explained that the silicone is way easier to clean and feels better on your baby’s mouth. Sold. I couldn’t wait to bring it home and let Tal have a go at it.

First, the pros. The ergonomic handle is easy for babies to grasp, and the holes are big enough that whatever you put in there doesn’t actually have to be pureed. You can stuff little slices of banana, peas, chunks of avocado (the banana + avocado combo is Talley’s favorite), berries, whatever inside the silicone pod and then the silicone and a ring shaped piece snap back on to the handle (you can also use it with frozen food for teething babies!). The handle has a part that pushes the food up into the pod and through the tiny holes.

boonsYou can even use this to make baby popsicles, just put the cap in a plastic sandwich bag and hold the plastic snug against the holes and fill with a little yogurt or smoothie, insert the handle, freeze and remove the plastic bag gently with warm water. Nice and cold for those sore teething gums!

The only “con” isn’t really a con, more of a tip, that if you overfill the pod the ring won’t snap back into place. When I first tried it I really overfilled it and the pod came off as Talley tried it and I thought I was doing it wrong, it turns out you need to really hear the snap of it going back onto the handle to know it is on there securely, and it is just a matter of putting a smaller amount in. Once it is on there securely it is on there though, so it really isn’t a problem and once you know the right amount it is super easy to use.

avoThe pulp feeder is BPA, PVC and Phthalate Free and the best part might be how easy it is to clean. In like a tenth of the time it took to try and clean the mesh bags I got this thing perfectly clean, really just by rinsing it and rubbing it gently with my fingers. It is dishwasher safe, and the slicone mesh can also be boiled or sterilized.

Two thumbs up from me and from Talley, she absolutely loves her little snacks and I love the relief it gives her poor little teething mouth. Find them locally at The Bundle Store! xoxo

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Do You Have a Threenager?

Screenshot 2015-02-23 11.21.33If you’ve seen me in Target, the grocery store, basically anywhere in public lately with my three year old most likely he was lying on the floor. Face down, kicking his legs, and I was most likely at a safe distance, pretending to walk away and “leave him” there. Maybe we made eye contact and you silently commiserated with me and gave me an “I’ve been there” look, maybe you looked at me like “Hey lady, maybe pick your child up off of the Home Depot floor, huh?”, either way, I have a threenager and pretty much anywhere we go involves this super fun battle of wills.

First, let’s deal with the nap thing. Remember NAPS?!?! Weren’t those so awesome! You could plan out calling a friend, getting work done, catching up on Vanderpump Rules, whatever floated your boat because that naptime was your oasis and you were the captain. No longer. Act like your threenager when they flush the potty and say bye bye as that goes down the tubes because the transition to no more napping is happening. The worst part about it is that you foolishly think that no nap means early bedtime. HAHAHAHAHAHA no. It does not.

Remember when you couldn’t wait for your baby to say their first word? Now that they are three they say all of the words they know all the time without stopping constantly and most of those words are Paw Patrol and Can You Put on Paw Patrol?

Food? What food? If you don’t have the right type of granola bar at exactly the right moment when the sun is at the right point in the sky and the planets have aligned for food consumption then they will go on a threenager hunger strike that will leave you wondering how they can even survive on chocolate milk alone.

Speed is a major factor. Hand holding, not so much, so get those hammies stretched and ready for some threenager sprinting, usually riiiiiiight on the borderline of getting close to the street so you must break from a conversation in a panic to retrieve your child, or chase them around the house with a jacket so you can make the doctor’s appointment in time.

Clothing options become extremely limited, if you are lucky they will keep the clothing on after using the potty (not the case in my house). If I was cool with it my threenager would only dress in Thomas the Tank Engine clothing and Mickey Mouse underwear, but no, not THOSE Mickey Mouse underwear, the one pair where Mickey is on a scooter. THAT PAIR. THAT PAIR NOW!!!!!!

You have an opportunity to work on your patience though, as you wait for them to buckle their carseat belt (NO I DO IT) while refusing absolutely zero help getting into the carseat, finding the buckles, closing the buckles, making sure the buckles are on right, oh wait now this one buckle is twisted ever so slightly and we can’t have that so let’s start all over again while I get out of my carseat and whine on the floor of the car about the buckle getting twisted.

Get used to seeing one show, even one episode all the time. Every time. In our house there is a “Spongebob Golf” episode that our threenager loves where Spongebob plays mini golf with the starfish dude (yes I know his name is Patrick I’ve seen it eleventy billion times) and it MUST BE THAT EPISODE or back to the drawing board we go. Such is the case as well with going to bed. There’s a routine, and you must follow that routine if you are hoping to get some shuteye. We have a complex system of starlight turtles, a sound machine that must be on the right melody, a “Blast Off” sequence that is performed with three different stuffed animals, and a thorough de-wrinkling of all blankets before sleep can perhaps take place in the next hour or so. Don’t look at me like that, you know you do it too.

The thing is, being a parent to a threenager is difficult but also so fleeting. They will only be this super duper cute and small while also being able to talk and dance and pick out crazy outfits for so long. They are the perfect mix of tiny and funny, and when the sweetness comes through and those little arms go around your neck all of the threenager craziness is forgiven. Until dinner time, because you had better get that hot dog cut properly or you are screwed. Good luck mamas! xoxo

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Mamatoga’s #BUSTling Guide to Breastfeeding {aka how I made it work for me}

indexAfter four kids I have had a long and not always smooth (to put it mildly) relationship with breastfeeding. I certainly am not one of those women that it came easily to, that is for sure, but along the way I have picked up some tried and true tips on making it work and overcoming obstacles.

First off, a good nursing bra is a MUST. At first I just found a few online, sort of guesstimated my size and went with it. They were uncomfortable (partly from being the wrong size and partly because they just weren’t made well) and well, sort of ugly. Then I tried buying “cute” nursing bras, which also didn’t work out because they were itchy and impractical and the underwire was uncomfortable. Finally, this time around, I wanted to make sure I did everything right to help me and Talley be successful at nursing so I went in to the Bundle Store and actually got fitted for the correct size. Amber actually gave me a few different options and I chose which one felt the best (the Melinda G one pictured above on the left) and it has made a HUGE difference.

First, it’s actually pretty. It is the best working nursing bra I have found that doesn’t even look like a nursing bra. I have the black and the cut is surprisingly flattering (in a drastic change from the other one I had that was so high cut it was practically a tank top). The cut actually allows for each breast to be lifted individually, giving more support. The clips are super easy to undo but stay nice and tight as well, and it looks great under clothes. Getting it fitted is key though, since the sizing isn’t easy to figure out on your own. Amber had one woman come in that was a G cup and wanted the Melinda G Smoothly Divine, which only goes up to E-F, but by going up a band size it gave her enough room to fit the F. NOT something I would have figured out by guesstimating, you know what I mean? Every set of breasts is different, even from nursing one baby to the next baby, and every body type is different, so by getting a fitting you’re going to be sure you have something that is going to be comfortable.

Anyway, I loved the Melinda G so much I wore it 24/7, even to bed, and the next time I went in Amber gave me the Melinda G sleep bra which I ALMOST like even more. So then I started wearing the sleep bra all day too, they are both so great. The sleep bra doesn’t have clips, you just pull the seamless cups to the side and nurse and it has a nice lower cut criss cross front (breast pads fit perfectly too).

So I was going along loving these two bras and happened to have them both in the wash at the same time so I dug out one of my old uncomfortable nursing bras for the day. For one day. ONE DAY was all it took and I got mastitis from an ill fitting bra. For those of you that have dealt with mastitis you know how horrible it can be, and my milk supply went way down. I was so so so close to giving up, but a combination of tons of water, these cookies, this smoothie and these Motherlove More Milk Plus Capsules did the trick and we were back on track in no time.

The Motherlove brand in general is really great, their nipple cream has a zero rating (zero toxins) on EWG’s skin deep database and is made with 100% certified organic ingredients and doesn’t need to be washed off before feeding.

Finally, the key thing that has made this round of breastfeeding for us has been support. If breastfeeding has been a breeze for you that is awesome, but if you are having difficulties and don’t want to give up, you can find support at The Bundle Store. Click here to find a Q&A from Amber on mastitis and how to get through it, and click here for my Nursing Mama uniform.

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My Mom Life: Jennifer Armstrong

Eight years ago I adopted my daughter, who was eight at the time, and I became a single mom to a scared small person who didn’t speak much English. Being a children’s book author meant I was home all the time, and for the first few years, my main job was helping her adjust to her new life in a new country. Now she’s in 9th grade (at the Waldorf High School), and I work four days a week as lead bookseller in the children’s department at Northshire Bookstore. I had a long and successful career as an author but now I prefer a more social role. I do think it was becoming a mom that did that – it made me less focused on myself and my own thoughts, and made me more outward-looking.

firstofallOur first photo, first time I held her hand. We are following the director of the orphanage and my daughter is looking in the window at her first grade classmates.

What is your typical schedule like during the week?

My daughter and I have breakfast together around 6:45 on school days – I’ll review what’s on the horizon for the next few days with her, and if we need to coordinate transportation for something, we’ll work that out. She’s almost 16 and we live in a walkable town, so for a lot of her activities she can get herself where she needs to go on her own (to school, to the orthodontist, to her friends, to downtown, etc.) . If I have an event at the bookstore in the evening or I’m working late, we’ll figure out if she’s going to get dinner started for us to have together or if she’ll be eating alone, or if she’s going to meet me downtown for dinner out. I’m usually at the bookstore until 6 or 7. I don’t work on Mondays and Tuesdays, so those are two days I’m available for driving to ski club or voice lessons or the Y, the after school activities she can’t walk to. I work Saturdays but not Sundays, so Sunday is a day she and I can hang out. It’s not often she wants to hang out with me (she’s 15, after all), but I’m here if does. She did once refer to me on Facebook as her “cool mom,” so when her other options for socializing are unavailable, apparently I’m an acceptable substitute.

What do you like best about your current schedule?

It works!

Do you have time for yourself? What do you do with that time?

Monday and Tuesday during school hours are mine. My job requires endless reading, so that’s usually what I do on my days off. I also am on my feet all day when I’m at work, so I often spend one of my days off lying on the sofa, surrounded by books, tea mugs, and dogs. According to my FitBit, I walk about five miles a day while in the store! Sometimes I listen to audio books at home so I can do other things at the same time- art projects, chores, cooking. I go to Reform Pilates once a week. If I’m really on my game I’ll arrange to see a friend for lunch or coffee on one of those days. I’m in a book club (surprise!) and I play cards once a month with a gang of women friends, mostly other moms.

If you had an extra hour in the day you would spend it…? Reading.

Do you find it hard or difficult at all to stay connected to friends/people in your life now that you have a child? Do you find there is any gap or gulf in between you and the friends/people in your life that don’t have kids? Any tips on how to stay connected to those people?

For me, it’s really more that my attention and my goals have shifted. I’m not interested in reproducing the lifestyle I had before I adopted my daughter. It was great at the time, but now I have a different lifestyle, one that I chose very deliberately. I don’t want or need my life to be the way it used to be, just with the addition of my daughter. That being said, it is definitely easier to have an adult social life when your child is old enough to leave at home alone. I couldn’t be in a book club or a regular poker game if I needed to get a sitter.
I also have friends who don’t have kids, and it is often uncomfortably obvious that they don’t understand this shift in attention. When you are a mom, there’s no “out of sight, out of mind.” As for staying connected – at the risk of sounding painfully cliche, I think Facebook serves a very useful function for this. Sometimes months go by between visits with friends – but I do try to like and comment on pictures or updates of good friends just to say “I’m still here, I still love you, we’ll reconnect eventually.” It’s not ideal, but it’s better than nothing.

What are some of your top must have products for the parenting part of your life? What are some non-mom must haves?

A big freezer and Ziploc bags. Seriously. I precook a lot of our dinners and freeze them. I’m like a food hoarder – two fridges, one upright freezer. And it’s just two of us! Dinner time is important to me, and I don’t want the excuse of working until 6 to prevent me from putting a good meal on the table for me and my daughter to share. And no surprise: my cell phone and my daughter’s cell phone. Her ring-tone for me is an obnoxious voice screeching “Pick up the phone! It’s your mother!” I allow her a lot of independence, but I have to be able to reach her. Non-mom? There’s a scented candle I buy at Schuyler pond all the time from the Trapp Candles collection – it’s called Water. I love the scent, very clean, very serene. It helps restore my equilibrium after work. My other current obsession is smoked salt from Healthy Living Market. I put it on everything, even apples. I use coconut oil for hair, skin, cooking – you name it. I’ve even used it on wood furniture. And lastly, Gimme Brow – the only makeup I never leave the house without using.

What advice would you give to other moms about how to balance work and life?

Plan ahead. The more advance work I can do, the fewer at-the-last-moment moments there are. Some people thrive on a hectic, high-energy dynamic, but not me. I look at the next week on the calendar and ask myself, what can I do now to make that event smoother when I get there? Being a single working mom means that there are realities about running a family and a household that I cannot escape, and I have to fit them into everything else in the time I have or things can start falling apart – literally and figuratively.

Do you ever wonder how other women manage the juggle? Do you think people are open about it?

I do often find myself wondering how a mom with a Monday through Friday work schedule does it. I have two weekdays for scheduling doctor’s appointments and furnace check ups and business calls and vet visits and anything else that can only happen in the workweek. I can only assume that it requires a lot of asking for time off for those women. I also sometimes wonder how other moms manage to raise kids while maintaining a relationship with a husband. So many interpersonal dynamics to maintain! On the one hand, being a single parent can be challenging logistically, but on the other hand, when I see parents who are not in agreement about fundamental parenting issues I think I’m the one with the easier job.

What is one thing you’ve realized/learned about motherhood that no one ever told you before you had kids?

I actually found managing my daughter’s social life when she was younger very stressful. Sometimes she liked kids I didn’t particularly like, or whose parents I didn’t particularly want to hang out with on the playground. So from time to time I had this ethical dilemma on my hands – do I let her choose her friends, or do I manipulate those relationships to suit myself? I was actually quite taken aback by this issue.

Is there anything about making a family through adoption you wish people understood?

Don’t ever tell an adopted child she’s lucky. Adoption always begins with loss, usually with tragedy. If I could change the past, I would wish my daughter was still in Ethiopia with the mother who bore her and loved her from day one, and that she had never suffered that primal loss. But I can’t retroactively protect her from that, so I’m trying to do my best as the consolation prize. Like all moms, I am making it up as I go. Mothering is largely a job of getting out of the way, isn’t it? I just need to create the space for this wonderful person to become herself.

DSCN2164Many thanks to Jennifer for sharing her story. I can’t tell you guys enough how much I love this series, to read more from the My Mom Life series, click right here.

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Go Ahead, Treat Yourself (Current Wish List)

indexYou deserve a little treat, we all do. Here is my current wish list (including some items I’ve already picked up just because…)

First off, can we just FORGET about low rise jeans?! Enough tugging pants up that are falling below the line of decency. I’m embracing the high waisted (normal waisted? I don’t even know anymore) jean and this is my first pair into the brave (more comfortable) new world.

I am not a water drinker. Like, I don’t do it at all. But I SHOULD (hi I spent a week in the hospital with kidney stones, what did they keep saying? DRINK WATER). The other day at Spa Cascada I picked up a bottle of Pure Inventions Health and Wellness water (the tranquility version) and I am so hooked. Just a dropper into a plain glass of water makes it not only totally drinkable, it makes it totally enjoyable and totally good for you.

Forget thinking spring, I’m already thinking summer with this tunic top from J.Crew. Throw a blazer over it for now and wait for those ginormous snow mounds to melt.

Readers, meet Justin’s Maple Almond Butter. It will change your life slash make you a total addict who makes a trip to Healthy Living Market and Cafe just for a jar because you NEED a spoonful.

Speaking of Spa Cascada, I am in love with my pedicure, I went with a green which wasn’t my usual style and I think I’m going to do it again (Essie’s Fall in Line).

These cuff bracelets are spring. Those pastels, I could just put them on a cone and eat them up.

Maybe it’s the whole high waisted jeans and tunic vibe, but I am digging this leather headband.

Sparkling Cabernet Sauvignon? Oui, s’il vous plaît! (Mas de Daumas Gassac Rose Frizant from Healthy Living Market and Cafe Divine Wines, perfect for V-Day, no?)

I love my slouchy woven bin from Target so much (in our house it holds baby pajamas) I might just go back and snag another one, since it also comes in turquoise, so, you know…

Baby Talley and I had such a relaxing and just downright pleasant afternoon at baby yoga yesterday I can’t wait to go back. The space at Rise Yoga & Movement Arts Center is just beautiful (see their plant wall installation in the photo below and just breathe in) and the class had the best laid back vibe, exactly what you want from a mommy (dads are welcome too) and baby yoga class. Essentially, it was exactly what I have needed after a not so great past few months. If you have a baby (or are expecting one) and want to come try it come by on Thursdays at 3 and see what I mean.

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My Little Local Valentine’s Picks

pop-corn-valentineI have to admit, I love Valentine’s Day. It comes right at the exact moment that I am SO OVER WINTER and itching for spring, it is like a little pink chocolate coated bright spot amidst slushy grey snow skies that reminds me how lucky I am to have so much love in my life. And a day that is all about love is something we need more of in this world.

I also love to give little gifts, little surprise tokens of my affections, nothing major or overdone, just a few sweet little things to brighten the day. This year I have my sights set on a few local goodies, first here are some great book choices from Jennifer at Northshire, and below find my absolute favorite little love tokens, all can be found locally in Saratoga Springs…xoxo

It’s okay to fall over from cuteness overload when you look at this Maileg mouse in a box. I bought one of these for my daughter years ago, a little matchbox “bed” complete with a tiny mattress, pillow and blanket and you tuck the little mousy into bed, OMG SO CUTE. File this under “Toys I Wish I Had Growing Up”. I would have cherished this! This one is on my list for her because of the ridiculously adorable floral print and tutu the mouse is wearing. Seriously it’s like 6 year old me dreamed this up and delivered it so I could give it to my own daughters. Lex & Cleo has an assortment of little Maileg mice (including some “boy” mice as well and some “baby” mice for those of you with a soon to be big brother or sister, Jack is a huge mouse fan too). This is the kind of toy you remember having when you grow up, trust me. Oh and the mouse is wearing tights. TIGHTS, people.

flowermousegetimage.aspxNext up I have two food items, one for the whole family and one I suggest you “save” for just you and your sweetheart (aka eat after the kids are in bed with a nice glass of champagne). First, these customizable sweetheart cookies (also come in a gluten free version!) from Healthy Living Market and Cafe. Get the kids names put on them for the cutest little surprise. You MUST order these by Feb. 12th though, click here or call them at 518-306-4900.

10906353_745647238876605_6651237555888186888_nFinally, this is the one you’re going to want for yourself and your sweetheart. If you STILL have not tried the macarons from TC Paris Bakery, make this Valentine’s Day macaron day because these are the best macarons you will find this side of Paris. They are unlike any other sweet treat out there and just thinking about them right now is making me want to stop everything and drive over there. Plus these are just the loveliest little things with the sweetheart messages on them. Might I also suggest the Rum Celebration Cake (you are welcome and I’m sorry because you will be an addict like me). Pre-Order your Valentine’s Day gifts by calling the store at 518-306-4315.

10471569_848436655218702_6300243036086665338_nSending you all so much love…xoxo

 

 

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