Archive | Clothing

Three Things for Me and Two for Baby: Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Time!

So….today is the first day of public access to the annual Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and I wanted to share with you five things I purchased last night.

I don’t know about you, but I love love love the Anniversary Sale. It’s great brands and items that I normally buy…but on sale! And shipping and returns are free, like always!

For me:

I am trying so hard to not buy maternity clothes for this pregnancy mainly because this time is so fleeting, you know? Also, I’m 23.5 weeks and still buttoning my pants (but barely!) and I think I should be able to get away with the rubber band trick through the button hole or leggings ’til the end (fingers crossed).

Here are three items I bought for myself that will work before Baby B. and afterwards.

Barefoot Dreams Lite Circle Cardigan (I got mine in ‘stone’). Y’all this thing is the softest thing in the world–it’s like being wrapped in a cloud. I promise it’s worth the price…and it’s $40 off which never happens (which means you better order in the next couple of days or it will sell out!).

Zella Live In High Waist Leggings. I already have two pairs of these (and have posted about them multiple times) but they are fabulous. They don’t fade. They don’t get little fabric balls all over them. They’re not see through. They don’t get saggy. You can wear them out or to the gym. And both the black and the burgundy are on sale. Best. Leggings. Ever.

Caslon Long Sleeve Crewneck Tee (I got mine in ‘Pink Stone’). I love this brand from Nordstrom and their tees never disappoint. And it’s $19.90. Sounds like perfection to me.

Zoli New Bot Sippy Cup (I got the red and grey pair). One of Lawson’s milk donors (Hi, Katie!) told me about these when I was weaning him from a bottle. He was having the worst time learning how to use a sippy cups. I paid $12 for one back then, but during the Anniversary Sale you can get two for $15.90. I’m already stocking up for the next baby (and letting Lala use them).

Little Unicorn Three-Pack Cotton Muslin Blankets (I got the Farmers Market set). I’ve been eyeing these for awhile on another site and when I saw them on sale for $8/each I just had to bite the bullet. I love the unique prints!

So, tell me, what are Y’ALL getting from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale?! I’m all ears!

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Friday Five: Daffodils, Birthday Sweets, Clothes, a Recipe, & Cheese Faces, Oh My!

1. Daffodil Pictures.

Every year I take pictures of my kid(s) in a daffodil field of an old family friend that lives near my family’s farm. Looking through the pictures {click here to go down memory lane yourself} is very bittersweet–watching your babies grow is such a gift, but what I wouldn’t give to hold each one–tiny and squishy again–for just a few minutes more.

2017

2. C.’s 37th.

We celebrated C.’s birthday last weekend. Aqua Terra and creme brûlée. Bowling and Mexican and chocolate cheesecake. Hals and triple chocolate cake. A giant banana-chocolate chip bread {recipe found here}.

Poor guy, I don’t think he was shown enough love for his birthday…or got enough sweets, HA!!! 😉

3. Swirly Cinnamon Roll Cake.

Speaking of sweet things, y’all, you have GOT to try this new recipe. I made it this past week for a work treat {always a risk trying a new recipe for other people!} and it was GOOD.

Click on this link for a printable Swirly Cinnamon Roll Cake recipe (4×6″ size)!

4. This top…for less than $15!

The other day I was in JC Penney of all places with MM {she was Pinkalicious for book character day and we were looking for a pink dress} and I found this top (I’m wearing a medium). I wore it to C.’s birthday dinner the other night and I am in love with it. It’s currently $19.99 {with an extra 25% off with code: 8FORYOU (30% off if you have a JCPenney card)}. C. couldn’t believe it was such a cheap top–it REALLY is well made and cute in person!

Jeans (which look funny around the ankles here, but I promise they are a normal bootcut) here. Similar leopard print heels here.

5. ‘Cheese!’ face.

One of my favorite stages of childhood is when they start mimicking you or doing what you ask. This is Lala’s ‘Say Cheese!’ face. He’s so sweet I could eat him up with a spoon I tell you!


Hope you all have a great weekend! We’ve got my father-in-law’s birthday and that’s about it. I’ve been battling sinus crud the past week so I’m happy for a weekend at home hopefully filled with lots of sleep (and no pollen!).

 

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A Few of My Favorite Things: Friday Edition

Because just some days you feel like bullets, you know? {This week and the painting and the furniture/fabric/art/mirrors/dodads acquiring has left my brain like #woah }

But first, let’s talk sales real quick:

~Cost Plus World Market is having their amazing Friends & Family – Save an extra 30% in-store and online plus free shipping on online orders totaling $100+ ! I may have gotten this outdoor rug for just $14 for the back porch yesterday. Such a steal!

~Old Navy is 15% off All Pants & Shorts merchandise + 30% off the rest of your order. Use code ENJOY at oldnavy.com. Online only. Restrictions apply. Ends 3/11. This would be the perfect time to get my new favorite sports bra for yoga I showed y’all last week. It’s awesome.

And now here’s those bullets I was talking about. 😉

  • This Outfit. Gimme a super soft turtleneck AND a skirt with elastic and I’ll love you forever. And if all three pieces shown are on major sale…sign me up.

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Tissue turtleneck {I’m wearing a large}. Here’s the skirt {I’m wearing a 6}. If you’re looking for a more spring version–I have a cream version!, click here. Frye Melissa button cross body {and on sale!}.

  • Mommy & Me outfits!  These coordinating tunics from the Joanna Gaines line for Matilda Jane are so soft and well-made and not too matchy matchy. I love that MM still wants to dress like me.  And this is such a throwback picture (MM’s birthday in January!), but since it’s getting cold again next week I thought I would share these.

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Harvest Days MJ top for me {large}.  Best leggings EVER {medium}. Ugg Vinson Boots (40% off!).

On MM: Shiplap MJ top for her {16}. My favorite leggings/jeggings for girls EVER.

  • These hair elastics are amazeballs. I’ve been using them about six months and I will never ever go back to the cheap Goody ones again. They keep my hair up ALL DAY. I can do Zumba and it stays. I can try on shirt after shirt at the mall and it stays. I can sleep in them {but I don’t} and they stay.

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Here’s a link to them in clear. Here’s a link to them in brown. (There are other colors too, I think.) I’ve been using the same pack of 12 for six months now. And I wear my hair in a ponytail at least once a day, every day.

  • Gift wrap organization! Oh y’all, the amount of gift wrap–wrapping paper, gift bags, tissue paper–I own is unreal. And living in an old house means we have like negative closet space, haha. I bought this affordable under-the-bed gift wrap storage after Christmas and now three months later I still love it because it holds everything and because it’s under the bed it’s easy to get to.

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january 1. 4.croissants. products i love. laundry helper_0003_edited-1

  • And last, but not least, Rodan + Fields Lash Boost.

I started Lash Boost right before Christmas. I applied it every night after I washed my face, but before I put on my moisturizer. These are my 12 weeks results and I’m amazed. Random strangers (usually when I’m all sweaty post-gym, go figure) ask me if they are my real lashes. You betcha!

And I’m not going to lie, I thought it was gimmick. But the proof is in the lashes!


I hope you all have a great weekend!

Tonight we’re going out with my family for C.’s birthday {it’s next week}. Tomorrow morning I’m going to my first SoulCycle class with my bestie {pray for me!}. And Sunday I’m painting with friends…and we’re getting our new bed delivered. Pictures to come! {Follow me on Instagram for sneak peaks!}

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What I’ve Been Wearing Lately

‘Cause I know y’all are just dying to see more iPhone photos of me. HA!

I don’t know how all those fashion bloggers get such good pictures. Do they just have a photographer with them all day? Because unless my five or eight year old can take the photo {which may or may not be out of focus with my camera when they use it}, it’s a selfie. And y’all know I can’t make a normal selfie face to save my life.

Outfit 1.

This shirt (and these booties!) I posted back on my Valentine’s Day Wish List. I love it, especially the subtle bell sleeves. It runs a tad small through the back for me and in the arms so I’m wearing a large. (Note: you know how we all have that one body part that is not in proportion to the rest of our body? Well, mine is my arms. #whyIdontdosleeveless)

Gap Eyelet Three-Quarter Blouse (40% off with ‘HAPPY’) J.Crew jeans (20% off everything AND free shipping! RARE!). Lucky Brand booties.

Outfit 2.

Our weather is so wacky here. One day I’ll be in nothing but a short-sleeve top and the next day I’m wearing a jacket and all bundled up. What gives, Georgia? This was one of the colder days last week.

J. Crew gingham shirt (similar color). J.Crew vest {I also have it in bright green. And red and blue plaid. And a black and white print. I have a problem clearly.} J. Crew jeans. **All 20% off and FREE SHIPPING**Lucky Brand booties {which I’m loving so much I wear them like everyday. Clearly I have a problem there too.}

Outfit 3.

This outfit is great for running errands {hence the tennis shoes} or lounging around the house. So comfy–and look at the cute back (& a good deal!)! I will say this top ran a bit short in the waist so I sized up to a large.

Gap soft spun knit cross back top. 40% off with code ‘HAPPY’ (and it was already a great price!) Old Navy rockstar jeans. 15% off with code ‘ENJOY’ (and all jeans on sale). New Balance 620 (very similar colorway).

Outfit 4.

I wore this to Moseby’s birthday party and honestly, at first I wasn’t sold on this top. In fact, I tried it on and didn’t buy it…then came back two weeks later and got it. And I’m so glad I did.

Gap crochet yoke long sleeve top. 40% off with code ‘HAPPY’  Old Navy Rockstar mid-rise distressed jeans. 15% off with code ‘ENJOY’ and all jeans are on sale already too! Lucky Brand booties.

Oh, and let’s play a game called “Why You Shouldn’t Buy Off eBay”. So I’ve been crushing on a Free People ‘Beach Cocoon’ pullover for a while now. I found a size medium “NEW” on eBay for $34 (a great deal!) so I bought it. I got it on Friday and it just didn’t look right, but I didn’t have a chance to try it on. On Saturday MM and I were at the mall and I found the same shirt (different color) for $36 at Macys (40% off sale plus an extra 20% off with card; ) and I bought it. I brought it home and tried both on. Uhm…yeah. Clearly that eBay one isn’t so new ’cause that bad boy is shrunk! Thankfully the seller accepts returns.


Yesterday was Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday/Pancake Tuesday. I made my first two King Cakes. I should’ve made them last week so I could have posted a tutorial (a really easy yeast bread–much like cinnamon rolls to make), but there’s always next year!

I made the kids hold them in the car because they weren’t completely cooled yet. (And, oh my word!, how grownup does MM look here?! Slow your roll, Time.)

Also, please notice that Moseby is already licking the icing off. Thankfully that cake was just going to my parents, haha!


Oh, and for my BlogLovin’ followers: I just realized yesterday that some of you are commenting on my posts via Bloglovin’…but I don’t get any notification on those. If you want me to respond make sure your comment directly on a post and if I don’t respond or if it doesn’t get posted in a day or so (many get held for moderation) please email me. Sometimes comments will get tagged as Spam and I’ll never see them (Sorry for taking forever to respond, Carla! Yikes!).

Hope y’all have a great Wednesday! <3

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Q&A on Keto + My Favorite Workout Gear

Thank you so much for all the kind comments on Friday’s posts! Some of you had some questions and I thought I would take a moment to answer them {disclaimer: I am not a doctor or nutritionist or anything like that–this is just my experience with this journey}. Feel free to keep asking questions and I’ll answer them on my Friday weight loss posts I’m doing. 🙂

Jennifer asked: “Natalie – First of all, you look gorgeous! Congratulations on your success! I’d love to hear more about what you ate while in weight loss mode. Also, how do you know you’re in “keto”?

I think you have to find what works best for you in “weight-loss mode”. For me, I have to limit cheese and nuts. Cheese because it has a tendency to bloat me and nuts because they are a “gateway drug”–I could eat a pound of salted cashews (and don’t forget: while I know this is a diet fueled on fat you DO have to be in a calorie deficit!) Too much broccoli and cauliflower also hurt my tummy. I love salads and my favorite Keto-friendly meal is a giant bed of romaine with steak on top (plus blue cheese crumbles and a little shaved purple onion). I think I could eat it everyday!  This Friday I’ll take more about intermittent fasting and how it was a “game changer” for my weight loss and therefore, I don’t have any breakfast ideas (I did try crust-less quiche “muffins” once that were pretty good though) and honestly, not many lunch ideas (ham, cheese, mayo rollups and pickles were about as fancy as I got). 


So, it takes a bit of time to get in “ketosis”…meaning your body is running off of fat for fuel instead of glucose. Please note, ketosis is NOT the same thing as Diabetic Ketoacidosis (yes, they sound similar, but are very different–for more info check out this page). Ketosis takes usually 2-3 days for my body to get into–genetics, gender, activity level, amount of water you drink, calories you consume, etc. all affect when you get into ketosis. How do I get in to ketosis quickly? Well, it’s three parts for me: restrict food {meaning I limit carbs to 20g/day} + I drink LOADS of water {80-100oz/day} + I exercise on an empty stomach. A way to tell if you’re in ketosis is to pee on little sticks {kinda like a pregnancy test} and it will measure the amount of ketones in your urine–the darker the strip turns the more ketones are in your urine (a good thing). These are the ones I have used–there are 100 sticks, they have 4.5 stars (with 2,300 reviews), and they’re like $10. 

There is also another way to go: testing your blood. If you have diabetes (or had gestational diabetes like me) testing your blood–pricking your finger *on the side*–is not that big of a deal. I never did this (note: I did periodically check my blood sugar though–especially those first couple of months when I was losing so quickly–and I’m glad I did. My blood sugar was getting too low without carbs and that’s why I got off my Metformin!) so I can’t say personally how I feel about different meters, but I’ve heard good stuff about the Precision models. The test strips do get expensive ($2-$3/each) so a lot of people will go on eBay or use Canadian pharmacies or something. Again, I don’t really know much about this, but if you joined any of the Facebook groups I mentioned in Friday’s post I’m sure you can ask them and you’ll have plenty of people to give their two cents! 😉 (Oh! and to get into nutritional ketosis your level of ketones will need to be between .5 and 3 mmol/L.)

Betsy asked: “As a PCOS gal, I’m going to be following this. I’ve also learned by doing genetic testing that I am to avoid all gluten (none of which I’m following at the moment). Did you also do gluten free?”

To me, gluten and carbs go hand-in-guilty-hand. Yeah, you can have a carb that is not gluten (like a tortilla chip), but you can’t have gluten without it being a carb. So I guess my answer would be yes, I did gluten free (note: there may have been trace amounts of gluten, but nothing I can remember!). I feel so much better physically when I lay off “all” carbs and gluten…and Diet Coke. I plan on talking more about adding foods back in and finding out what they do to your body in a couple of weeks {a little “Tips and Tricks” post, I guess you could call it}. It really is amazing how my body feels carb-free after a few days. Zero bloating. And as someone who bloats just thinking about ice cream, much less eating a bowl of noodles, it blew my mind that first week. I’m now in “maintenance-mode” and have been for about two months so I’ve been fooling around (HA!!!) with carbs a bit here and there to see just how much I can handle and what they do to my body and it has been so interesting. I’ve found that any carbs/gluten–even a small amount by the average person’s standards–keeping me from losing weight AT ALL, even when I’ve kept my calories low and exercising. Isn’t that crazy?! It shows me that my body really *does* have a problem with carbs (and perhaps gluten). Over Christmas, for instance, I ate three regular (not crazy!) meals for three days (the 24th, 25th, and 26th). I worked out on the 24th and 26th. Do you know how much weight I gained? SEVEN POUNDS. Now, there is no way I consumed an extra 25,000 calories over those three days. In fact, I’m sure I was under 2,000 calories/day and I exercised. I didn’t drink alcohol, I drank water. All I did differently was eat three meals a day and not watch my carb intake. That seven pounds (that took 10 days to get off) showed me that I majorly bloat with carbs…I just didn’t realize the extent until then. 

Now for a fun clothing post. 😉

Eek! Eek! Eek!

Before I get started, Y’ALL, there are some major sales going on right now (and they end tonight at midnight) for Old Navy!

30% off your Old Navy purchase when you use the code ‘YOURS’.

PLUS an *extra* 10% off if you use your Gap card (code ‘EXTRA’).

PLUS PLUS get free shipping {with no minimum!} with the code ‘FREESHIP’.

Or if you’re just on the hunt for gym clothes, guess what? 50% Off All Active at oldnavy.com. Excludes Clearance, Women’s Plus & Maternity. While supplies last. Online and in stores. Restrictions apply. Ends 2/21. I love love love their sports bras and compression leggings! Don’t believe me? Well, how about we do a workout wear/gym clothes/ athleisure post?!

And Gap is having a sale too. 40% off everything and free shipping (no minimum!) with the code ‘PRESDAY’. AND…get an extra 10% off with code ‘BIG’. That’s 50% off–woohoo!

WARNING: These pictures are make-up free, wild hair selfies. And as usual, my faces in them are horrible. {Look away, small children & those faint of heart!} I took them all on the same night after I got home from Zumba and took a shower, but didn’t wash my hair because, well, this meme is the truth (can I get an amen?!) and I didn’t want to post a bunch of post-gym sweaty mess outfit pics…and I actually had all my laundry done {which, uhm, never happens}.

Up until this summer I always wore old, grungy t-shirts and loose-fitting yoga pants to the gym (I worked out 5 or 6 days a week even when I weighed 100 pounds more than I do now–I’ve always loved to exercise. To lose weight it’s all about what I eat. #pcosprobs ). But once I started doing classes (you can read about that here) I grew tired of constantly having to pull up my loose pants during a workout and hated staying clammy/wet in my cotton t-shirts afterwards. At first it felt frivolous buying gym clothes, but considering I wear them like half my day everyday I think they’re worth the investment! 😉

I love tops that have something neat going on. I don’t want them to be tight AND show skin so I usually go with a looser front and a back that shows off my sports bra.

C. got me this jacket for my birthday. The inside pockets have a place for my headphones.

Gap Top.  Gap jacket sold out (so sad!), but similar here. Old Navy Leggings {different pattern}. Old Navy strappy sports bra {different pattern}.

Recognize these leggings? They were on my Valentine’s Day Gift Guide and my mom got them for me. I love them as much as I thought I would! Gap drape-back top. Gap Sports Bra ($20!)

Old Navy compression leggings with mesh in black–I know it’s hard to see in the pic, but they’re so cute. {Here they are in ‘winter wine’ (what a fun name!) too}. Gap Top. Gap sports bra.

Gap top.($17!) Gap compression leggings. Under Amour shoes {different color} which I love.

This is my hands-down favoritey fav sports bra for yoga ($14.50!!) from Old Navy–no taataas falling out during downward-facing dog with this one! Here it is for the ladies with DDD and bigger busts.

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GapFit Tie-Back Top. (3 colors are on sale for $15!) Gap T-Back Sports Bra. Gap Leggings. Under Armour shoes. That black band peeking out from under my sports bra? It’s my heart rate monitor, by the way. 😉

And I have to admit something on here. I have a problem. An addiction. I’m totally addicted to this particular sports bra from Gap. I have six of them. ::Hangs head in shame.::

What I’ve got my eye on:

I’m really digging cutouts, straps, and mesh inserts on my leggings right now so I’m crushing pretty hard on these for $15. And I’m really loving the retro color scheme of these leggings. I’ve seriously been looking at them for months!

Note on sizing: I’m wearing a ‘large’ in all the pants and shirts–some of the shirts I could definitely go smaller in some but I like a looser fit. The sports bras are a mix of large and x-large. For size reference: I’m 5’5″, a big 6/little 8 in pants but more like a 12 in tops, and 36D in the bust.

 

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Friday Five {#3}

How are y’all doing today? It looks like if you’re up North you’re “enjoying” a little snow while here in the South we’re having a weekend with highs in the upper 60s. #weknowyouhateus #butyougotacertaintrophylastsundayandwedidnt 😉

Here is a little list of my five things I’m *loving* right now:

  1. Kids’ Valentines.

I totally love Valentine’s Day. And NOOOOO, it’s not because of romantic love {I could actually CARE LESS about showing that on one particular day a year}, it’s the whole showing love to others and being kind. It gives me all the warm fuzzies!

And every year I let the kids pick out their Valentines for their classes. Usually Moseby has no opinion, but this year that changed. He vocalized that he wanted a car theme so you better believe he got one. AND he wrote all 11 names himself. Oh y’all, the gains he has made (and is making) makes my heart so happy!

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And MM wanted a sweets theme (after I told her no on the poop emoji theme she really wanted. Lordy.).

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Moseby’s Valentines were found here. And Mary Margaret’s Valentines were found here. Both could be ordered now and then sent to Staples (that’s where I send ours) or somewhere and you could have them by Tuesday no problem. Moseby’s cars are here. MM’s cake erasers are here; her fortune cookie erasers were from Target too and in the $1 bin, but I can’t find them online.

2. Hot Pink Hot Chocolate!

Because, seriously, do you even NEED an excuse to make this? Oh, you do? Well, there’s a certain holiday coming up on Tuesday that I think will be perfect. 😉
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And it’s really easy to make!

Hot Pink Hot Chocolate

1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk

12 oz. white chocolate chips

3-4 c. milk

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the white chocolate chips with the evaporated milk. Once melted, add the whole milk and heat through. Start with 3 cups, and add more to taste. Remove from heat, and add drops of hot pink food coloring* until you get it to the color you like. Serve with whipped cream or homemade marshmallows.

*I found the hot pink food coloring drops at Hobby Lobby, but you could totally use red and just use a little at a time until you get the color you want.

Told you it was easy!

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3. Big Brothers {and their little brothers too}

Oh y’all, I just love seeing the relationship that is developing between these two. Moseby is such a good big brother (most of the time) and Lala just looks up to him so much. Now, of course he teaches him to do all sorts of bad things {the list would be a mile long if I started it! HA!}, but they love each other something fierce.

This only child is pretty dang jealous.

(And they have several matching shirts and Moseby requests they match most days. #allthehearteyes These shirts are Gap and sold out, but here are two similar styles: here and here. Both already on sale plus get 20% more off with code KBTREAT  And I might have these shorts in their new sizes in my cart right now ($8 each right now!). They both live in these every summer.)

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And yeah, Lala needs a haircut. But I don’t wanna!

4. Shirtdress + Tights Combos

I think there are two types of women in this world: those who like bright tights and those who don’t. As of a few months ago I have officially crossed over to the dark side and love colored tights {C. isn’t so sure, HA!}

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But even if bright burgundy tights ain’t your thang, you can still rock this style of dress from Loft. Sadly, mine is sold out (I got it on clearance right before Christmas), but they have a wide variety of prints in this style.  This bird print is my favorite, but this floral and this floral are a close second and third (I want them alllllll!). (And this shirtdress style? Oh so flattering!) Note on sizing: I’m wearing a 10 petite. No, I am not petite (not a single bone on my body is considered “petite”, HA!), but it was the only size they had in stock and I don’t mind the length. The sleeve are about 1/2″ too short for my liking and the bust is a little tight, but if I can rock ‘petite’ at 5’5″ in this dress, you might can too. 😉

My tights are Hue. They’re the only brand I wear (& on sale too…and are at Macy*s so you can also add coupons to this price.). I’m a size ‘2’.

My booties are Franco Sarta and are 50% off (and use those coupons for more off!). They are super comfy too.

My clutch is Clare V. and I’ve had it for two years now and use it all the time (leopard print is a neutral, yes?). It’s a great investment piece you’ll use for years and years.

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{Oh, and can you tell I’m going blonder and blonder every month? I started getting highlights in December and I can’t stop now. I gotta watch myself or I’m going to be platinum blonde soon {but I REALLY love it!}!}

5. Date nights.

Tomorrow C. & I are going to one of our very favorite restaurants in Atlanta, The Optimist. We haven’t been since my 34th birthday, also known as the night I got pregnant with Lala–TMI? Nah, we’re all buddies here 😉 –but there better not be another baby surprise…k, The Optimist?!

I cannot wait. The she crab soup + the hushpuppies (OMG) + the snapper + the chocolate roulade…not to mention the oysters…wow, I think I gained ten pounds just talking about it! HA!!

And in case you’ve been dying to know what I’m getting C. for V. Day {’cause I know you have, hehe}–I’m baking him a red velvet cake. I can’t stand cream cheese icing, but he likes it and since I kinda love him… 😉 I’m trying the red velvet cake recipe from here and the cream cheese icing from here. I’m actually making him a mini 6″ three tier cake {and giving another one to my grandmother} with this little set I picked up this week. I can’t wait to try it {& I’m sure I’ll be sharing how it went soon}!

Hope you all have a great weekend filled with love. …and {unless you want them! and if you DO, sending lots of baby dust your way!} no surprise babies coming in nine months from all the love. I’ll be watching for all those babies mid- to late-November! 

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Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

I should write “For Me” at the end of the title of this post because the things pictured below are TOTALLY what *I* am wanting right now.  …so if any of you are looking to get me a present, HA!

Valentine's Day Gift Guide

We’ll start from the top {just now realized I totally should of numbered these in the collage, OOPS!, you live and learn}:

  1. Free People Coastline tee. AND it’s currently 25% off (and you know Free People *never* goes on sale!). Comes in grey, red, and lavender and I love the flouncy hem. Perfect for a Valentine’s Day lunch.
  2. Away Carry-On in Green. They will even handpaint your monogram on there. Yes, please! C. travels for work weekly and I’m trying to find an excuse to buy him this suitcase {but with my initials…I kid I kid!} so that I can use it too.
  3. A custom watercolor of our house. This is totally frivolous as we already have one done in oils, but this is in watercolor AND it’s only $30. What an awesome gift for a new homeowner in your life!
  4. Living Proof ‘Perfect Hair Day’ Dry Shampoo. I ran out of the Pureology dry shampoo I have always used a couple of weeks ago and have heard great things about this one. I’m wanting to put it on BEFORE working out to see if it makes a difference afterwards. I’ll let you know!
  5. GapFit High Rise Barre Strap Leggings. I don’t do barre, but man, I love these leggings! They’ve been sitting in my shopping cart for weeks now. And today they’re 40% with code OVERTIME. Eek!
  6. Adjustable Rolling Pin with Removable Rings. I get so confused when a recipe says to roll something 1/4″- or 1/2″-thick. Like, how am I supposed to be able to tell the difference?! Please say it’s not just me that has this issue! I love this rolling pin because it has “rings” that you move to adjust the dough height so you get the right thickness.
  7. Lucky Brand ‘Bashina’ Booties (mine are ‘Brindle’). These are the booties I talked about last week that I wanted…and I ordered them. I told C. he did a great job picking out my Valentine’s Day present when I got them in the mail on Saturday. 😉
  8. Gap Eyelet Three-Quarter Blouse. Doesn’t it look like the most comfortable thing ever?! I think it’s a piece I could wear spring through fall (40% off wide code OVERTIME).
  9. Bobbi Brown Tube Soap. The saleslady I always work with at the Bobbi Brown counter at Macy*s {Hi, Denise!} raves about this soap.
  10. Hand Made Pottery Salad Plates. C. & I went to King + Duke in Buckhead for the anniversary of our first date (December 28, 2003) and they had the most beautiful hand made pottery for their bread plates…and really great food. I haven’t been able to get those plates off my mind since and have quite a few saved in my Etsy Favorites folder.
  11. Nike Juvenate Tennis Shoes {in ‘Melon’}. Oh, these are cute! And pink. And perfect. #allthehearteyes
  12. Crab & Cleek Tote {in ‘Vintage Thermos}. I mean, come on, how cute is this tote bag?! I so don’t need another tote bag {I kinda have a collection}, but it’s just so fabulous!

So there’s my random hodge podge list of things I’m currently crushing on and think would make great gifts. Is there anything in particular YOU’RE wanting for Valentine’s Day/birthday/because it’s Monday? I’d love to know!


February 3. daddy daughter date_0002_edited-1

Also, I mentioned on Friday that C. and MM had a special daddy-daughter date night and they had a blast. They ate at the very swanky Chick-Fil-A in our mall food court and then headed to the community center for a dance. She got a fancy new dress and wore her first pair of heels (sparkley gold, of course!). I let her wear the diamond necklace I wore the day I got married to her daddy and she felt oh-so-special. C. gave her a corsage wristlet with roses and a small orchid and she kept smelling it and smiling. I think she felt loved and wanted and protected and cherished–and I hope one day (a verrrrrrrry long time from now!) she’ll find another man that makes her feel that way too.

February 3. daddy daughter date_0003_edited-1

And in case you want to go down Memory Lane with me, here’s the other daddy-daughter dates that started when she turned 2.

joyce and chcick fil a_0010

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February 2. date night. engagement party_0009-2

february 8. date night_0010

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february 5. daddy daughter date night. valentines day sibs_0002_edited-1

I think it must be getting dusty in here or something because my eyes are watering!
Happy Monday, y’all!


In honor of the Super Bowl yesterday I thought I would post the best cookie cake recipe I’ve ever found. Here’s a picture of the cookie cake I made for our hometown team {and yes, I’m 110% completely ignoring the outcome of the game!}–please don’t look at my icing work. I am so NOT skilled in this area. 😉

chocolate chip cookie cake

Natalie’s Everything But the Kitchen Sink Cookie Cake 


2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups every kind of chocolate or PB or whatever chip you’ve got (I used white chocolate, mini semisweet, regular semisweet, bittersweet, and milk chocolate chips…what can I say I LOVE my chocolate, ha!)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 14-inch, light colored, round pizza pan with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper (*you can also use just cooking spray with flour*)
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Add the eggs, beating well after the addition of each.
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix with a whisk. Add to the butter mixture, mixing to incorporate, and add the vanilla extract. Fold in the dark and white chips and the nuts. Spread across the bottom of the prepared pan and bake until the edges are golden and the cookie is set but the center is still slightly soft, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Note: This recipe makes two of the cookie cakes seen above.

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Softest Sweater Ever

Oh, y’all, I love this cardigan. It’s soooooooo soft that it makes me want to wear it 24/7.

january 6. 7. mm birthday sleepover. snow day. comfy yoga pants outfit_0009_edited-1

And not only is it on sale, but you can get an extra 40% by using the code ‘GOGO’.

And the shirt I’m wearing under it I wear all the time (40% off with code ‘GOGO’). And the leggings? Lord, I wear them at least twice a week. Every day I wake up and wonder if I can find an excuse to wear them yet again.

Since I’m sharing things I love I’ve got to show y’all the Mint & Birch bracelet I asked for at Christmas (this is my unsolicited/unpaid/uncompensated opinion–I just like it that much!). I saw it on Instagram back in the fall and I loved all the font choices the company offered. And oh my my, it’s prettier than I expected in person. I wear it almost everyday.

{Currently they are not accepting any new orders (the company is THAT popular!), but you can sign up to be notified when they start accepting new orders again.}

january 12. 13. 14. 15. houston with moseby_0039_edited-1

january 12. 13. 14. 15. houston with moseby_0040_edited-1

My Mint & Birch cuff can be found here {mine is the wanderlust font, by the way}. I saw that you can get $5 off if you like them on Facebook. The tortoiseshell bangle I bought at Terra Cotta in Savannah, but I don’t know the brand. The other bangle with the olive stones is Noonday that my cousin, Jess gave me for Christmas.


And since this would be a pretty short post if I stopped now, I thought I would share a few of my favorite outfits from the past week.

Now, I don’t know if it’s my age (and not growing up doing selfies) or just my natural awkwardness or what, but please don’t look at face. I have the goofiest expressions. Especially the gym locker room ones–the sauna is right behind me in the pics and I always feel like someone is sitting in there, sweating + bored, watching me take a picture. HA!

Kimono (American Eagle & sold out; similar here and 75% off). Tank (American Eagle & sold out; very similar here). Jeans (28″). Booties (Steve Madden and super old; similar here and almost 50% off). My locket is by one of my favorite jewelry designers, Top Shelf Jewelry.

Plaid ruffle shirt (j.crew factory & sold out; similar here). Very similar leopard belt. Jeans.

 

Tunic (search ‘Tickled Teal’ for a similar tunic from the same seller). Best leggings ever. Uggs (yes, Uggs! And almost 40% off!; in black & on sale too)

Stripe top (40% with code: GOGO). Jeans (almost 50% off!). Booties (Old Steve Madden. Similar here 30% off.) Frye purse (that I love love love).


And since we’re talking clothes/shoes, I think I want to get some booties like this {in ‘brindle leather’}. Does anyone have them? I’m kinda digging the little holes, but am wondering about socks. They look perfect for spring.


 

I’m linking up with Mel, Shay, & Sheaffer for What’s Up Wednseday today! 🙂

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Everyday Uniform + The Best Brownies You Will Ever Taste

Today I thought I would post my everyday uniform, which basically consists of jeans + booties.

I teach part-time in the mornings, but am super (duper!) lucky that we can wear jeans if we want. Which basically means I wear jeans every single day because, well, they’re jeans. 😉

january 8. mm's birthday_0009_edited-1

Shirt. Jeans. Belt {sold out, similar here}. Booties (on major sale–less than $60!). Infinity scarf ($6.99!).

There were YEARS that I refused to wear skinny jeans OR booties. As you can see, this is one reason (or a bazillion) that you never say never because now BOTH are part of my daily wardrobe. Sheesh.

january 8. mm's birthday_0006_edited-1

I’d like to point out that my scarf is actually an infinity scarf. I have this same print in a blanket scarf, but good lord, that thing is huge! And y’all I’m just going to be real here and say I do not have the skill set needed to wear a scarf that big. This one is dummy proof and I don’t have to worry about tucking in ends or worrying it’s going to get in my food or being afraid it could get sucked into the copier at work and it’s easy to take on and off. Oh, and it was only $6. Score.

My leopard print belt is by the going out of business (*tear*) The Limited. Oh Limited, I loved you. You went a little crazy for a few years and stopped carrying anything 12 & over, but I forgive you. Some of my favorite pieces {I have a box of “forever pieces” that go back to the early 90s–I’m weird like that} are from there.

january 8. mm's birthday_0010_edited-1

And y’all, you see this cuff? I bought it from a Noonday sample sale last year and it might be my all-time favorite piece of jewelry (‘Voyager cuff’–but it’s sold out, so sad! I do love this one though!). You all know about Noonday, right? It’s such a great organization that gives jobs to women in need around the globe. They started off as an adoption fundraiser and have gone on from there. It’s a fabulous company and every piece of jewelry I have {not that I have a lot or anything…right} is so well-made.  I’m even wearing another one of their pieces as I type this {‘Goldrush’ necklace}.

Just realized I kinda look like I’m some creepy guy in an overcoat about to flash you…but this is not one of those sites! HA!

{Oh, and clearly I have a thing for striped shirts because I’ve had one on in every photo so far. I need therapy for my stripe obsession (among other things).}

 


I think the perfect brownie is a dense fudgey cake of deliciousness with frosting. It has to have frosting because, duh, frosting makes everything better. And these babies deliver that and then some. Moseby told me to tell you so…and you need to believe him because that kid is a brownie connoisseur.

january 17. brownies_0001_edited-1

Do you see that brownie pictured above? I may or may not have eaten it right after I took the picture. #anotheronebitesthedust

The Best Brownies EVER

A Mix-Up of My Favorite Brownie Recipes From AllRecipes.com

Ingredients
1 cup butter, melted
3 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Frosting Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a 9×13 baking dish with a baking spray {with flour added}.
Combine the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each, until thoroughly blended.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a bowl. Gradually stir flour mixture into the egg mixture until blended. Stir in the chocolate morsels. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking dish.
Bake in preheated oven until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove, and cool pan on wire rack before cutting.

To Make Frosting: Combine softened butter, cocoa, honey, vanilla extract, and confectioners’ sugar. Stir until smooth {depending on the humidity sometimes I have to add a teeny tiny bit of water}. Frost brownies while they are still warm.

 

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Things I’m Loving {Friday Five}, #1

Hey y’all, thanks for stopping by! I thought I would share on Fridays what I’m loving, hope you enjoy.  Up this week: SNS nails, monogram necklaces, happy helpers, hand towels, and a meal that reminds my husband of his childhood. How’s THAT for random?!

My nails!

I did gel nails for a couple of years, but didn’t like how they made my nails peeled. Back in the spring my manicurist told me about a new thing called SNS which goes on your nail like a powder. She’ll swipe your nail with clear polish-like stuff and then dips your finger into the powder. She’ll repeat the process several times and voila!, your nails are finished–no need to let them dry or sit under the UV light. The polish lasts a solid three weeks, but usually I’m good for a month.

I will say this, you don’t need to leave them on for five months like I did though! After five rounds my nails got very thin {I think it was also the electric file they use each time} and I had the polish taken off back in September and just now are my nails healthy enough to try it again. I’ve been on Nature’s Bounty Hair Skin and Nails gummies {two of them at bedtime} for four months and can tell a HUGE difference in the quality of my nails…and my hair too, it’s growing like crazy!

Anyway, this is the polish I’m rocking right now.

This is color 161: ‘Sweet Dreams’ {note: my nail place calls this number 223 (they have all the color choices painted on these faux nails with numbers that are attached on a big clip–I know you know what I’m talking about) so if you like this one you might want to remember the name instead of the number or you might get neon green with fuschia sparkles. 😉

My new necklace!

Santa brought it to me {I was on the ‘nice list’ this year it seems!}. I like how detailed the monogram {click the link to see just how intricate it–my pic doesn’t do it justice!} is and I like the longer chain length. I chose to get a 2″ pendant size and an 18″ chain length. It’s from Lina’s Jewelry on Etsy.

This laundry helper!

We go through so much laundry (#bigfamilyprobs) and only have an apartment-sized washer and dryer because it’s the only thing that would fit in our old house make-do laundry room–it’s so bad that C. even suggested {like REALLY meant it} that we put a full-size dryer on the back porch and then just cover it with a tarp when we’re not using it. Uhm, no. I’m sorry. I just can’t.

But at least I have this little fella to help {can you call this help? maybe entertain is a better word} me.

january 1. 4.croissants. products i love. laundry helper_0044_edited-1

New Towels!

We have been using the same tired {and pulled and stained} Pottery Barn hand towels for, gosh, nine years? When I look back I even see them in pictures on this blog from 2008, ha! So it was definitely time for new ones and y’all, I’m in love. I just happened upon these Taupe Christina Hand Towels at Cost Plus World Market a few weeks ago and they are the bees’ knees.  Not only are they getting softer and softer the more I wash them, but the color is perfect for hiding stains. And I love how they have this great vintage chenille look.

And have you ever heard of the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie? Well, it’s kind of like that for me–if you give Natalie hand towels, she’ll need a new shower curtain, and if you give her a Green Paisley Cordelia Shower Curtain, she’ll need a new
Round Cotton Bath Mat
 (in ivory). Lord, someone stop me! …but please don’t really because I REALLY do love them all. And I’m thinking I now need some Taupe Christina Sculpted Bath Towels too so it can all match. Eek.

This Recipe!

You know how we all have recipes that bring us back to childhood, that remind us of our mamas? Mine is poppyseed chicken and vegetable casserole. When I think of my Mamaw it’s fried roast beef or her biscuits. {wow, just realized how “southern” all four of those dishes are–bet you can guess where I grew up} When C. thinks of his childhood he remembers chicken wrapped in dried beef, meatloaf, and chicken divan. So whenever I’m feeling nice {meaning once a year or so–I kid! I kid!} I make him one of his favorites, my version that is. 😉

And this is my take on his mom’s chicken divan (which I’ve never had so I’m totally going by what he tells me it tasted like) that I made on Monday night.

Chicken Divan

Modified from Paula Deen’s version

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups of broccoli, steamed
6 cups shredded chicken, cooked
2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream (I usually use more sour cream & less mayo)
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon curry powdery
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup cooking white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs (I usually use more; I also use Panko bread crumbs)
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Put the broccoli into a casserole dish that has been sprayed with a cooking spray, either an 11×7 dish or 2 (9″) disposable aluminum foil pans. Add the shredded chicken.
In a medium bowl, combine the soup, mayonnaise, sour cream, Cheddar, lemon juice, curry powder, salt and pepper, to taste, and wine. Whisk together to make a sauce. Pour the sauce over the broccoli and chicken. Mix well with a spatula. Place on top of the broccoli. Pat down evenly and smooth with a spatula. Combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs and butter and sprinkle over the top. I usually throw some more cheddar cheese on top ’cause can it ever really be too cheesy?
Bake for about 30 to 45 minutes. Serve on top of jasmine rice.  *Note: this makes a lot. Usually I’ll either cut everything in half OR I’ll make one and give one away*

*Oh, and I’m trying to figure out a way to make these recipes more user friendly and printable. Stay tuned!*

 

And that’s a wrap for this week, folks! I’d love to have you join Old Southern House’s Facebook and Instagram pages–in less than a week there are over 300 followers on FB and over 200 followers on IG and I am thrilled–the more, the merrier! I’ve also added a Bloglovin’ icon in the sidebar to the right if you would like to follow me on there. Hope you all have a great weekend–we’re in Houston right now visiting a certain little fella’s birth mama and siblings!–and I’ll see you back here on Monday.

 

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